Tips and techniques

From butter to olive and coconut oil – here are the healthiest oils you can cook with

For decades we've been told to be wary of cooking oils that are high in saturated fats - but the latest research is making us rethink everything!

But, contrary to popular belief, we need fat in our lives, and we need to be able to consume them without the fear of developing heart disease and obesity.

So forget what you’ve heard about not cooking with margarine or butter, or not heating up olive oil.

We have your definitive guide to the three healthiest fats you should, and will, be cooking with.


Yes! It’s true. Butter is a healthy fat.

Dr. Aseem Malhotre, a London-based cardiologist, recently told The Telegraph that he would choose butter over margarine as, rather than having a good or bad effect on our health, it is neutral.

So while it’s not exactly a superfood, full-fat butter is not nutritionally detrimental either; in fact, a study in to the consequences of fat consumption has shown absolutely no link between heart disease and a diet inclusive of butter.

And, to top all of that good news off, butter consumers are also getting a healthy whack of vitamin A, which is vital for healthy vision and a strong immune system.

How to include it in your diet

We can’t think of many dishes that wouldn’t be improved with a healthy knob of butter, so start including store-bought organic butter in most of your cooking and baking.

Once you cook scrambled eggs in a pan greased with melted butter you’ll never look back. And a cake pan greased with butter will turn out perfect every time.

Don’t forget to get drizzling on your popcorn on your next home movie night, either, for a much healthier version than the synthetic “butter-flavour” syrup served at movie theatres.

Indulge, butter lovers!

Coconut oil

OK, coconut oil is loaded with saturated fat, but its mighty long list of health benefits can’t be argued against for very long.

That’s because some saturated fats have the potential to power our body, and luckily for us, coconut oil is one of them.

The long list of perks includes:

  • Regulating metabolism;

  • Strengthening bones;

  • Boosting the immune system;

  • Boosting energy levels;

  • And, most importantly, protecting against heart disease.

How to include it in your diet

Regular coconut oil does, admittedly, have that dream tropical beach getaway taste to it, so it’s not going to work in every savoury dish.

If you do want to invest in a more neutral-flavoured version, it can be used to cook with every meal.

Try this coconut-battered fish with kumara wedges and tartare sauce to get started! Recipe here.

And if you’re going to stick to the original, it’s a great butter substitute in baked goods, or to add a spoonful to a morning smoothie.

Olive oil

There are multiple studies that have revealed the long-term health benefits to incorporating olive oil in to your diet.

Southern Europeans who consume around 13 litres a year live longer, on average, than their northern counterparts.

One study even showed that regular olive oil consumption could ward off the development of breast cancer in women.

How to include it in your diet

Olive oil can be used as a substitution for butter in all cooking, and the more you use, the better for you.

Really great quality olive oil is only going to enhance the flavour of your dishes, so get drizzling on salads and fresh fish, use it for frying eggs or even start including it in your baking. Whip up this delicious olive oil and marmalade cake to see just how good it can be!

The possibilities are endless!

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