Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Choosing oils for cooking: A host of heart-healthy options

March 01, 2019

Olive oil is just one of many plant-based oils rich in unsaturated fats, the more healthful type of fat.

When you're cooking or baking, choose a fat that's liquid instead of solid at room temperature. That advice, from the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is based on a large body of evidence showing that replacing solid fat (mainly saturated fat) with liquid fat (mostly unsaturated fat) is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and death from heart disease.

To be clear, all fat — whether it comes from seeds, nuts, meat, milk, olives, or avocados — contains a mixture of different fatty acids, the basic building blocks of fats. However, butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil contain mostly saturated fatty acids. Most plant-based oils, on the other hand, consist predominantly of unsaturated fatty acids, which include both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (see "The fats of life: Healthy oils").

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.