What cooking oil is best for brain health?

Q: I’ve heard a lot about the health benefits of olive oil, and more recently, coconut oil. What cooking oil is best for brain health?

As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to heat any oil beyond its smoke point – this indicates that the oil is breaking down. Vegetables oils are always better than animal fats from this perspective, although not all oils are the same. Vegetable oils with a relatively low smoke point include olive and coconut (see chart) and should not be used for high fat cooking, such as sautéing.  Of those oils with a high smoke point (can tolerate high heat before beginning to breakdown), we recommend canola and soybean oils. These oils are healthy for the heart, and anything healthy for the heart is good for the brain!

Dr. Carol Greenwood
Senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
Author of MINDfull

See more cooking tips to boost brain health.