By GMB Advisor, Nutritionist Melissa Fine
Head to the supermarket or your local health food store and you’ll likely be spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of cooking oils available. If you don’t have all day to um and ah between brands, here are a handful of our favourite oil brands for you – so your grocery shop can be that much easier, and your food that much tastier.
Firstly, it’s Aussie! And it’s extra virgin, made from first-pressed, cold-pressed olives, a process which locks in the nutrients inherent to Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, including antioxidant-rich vitamin E. Cobram Estate began back in 1998, starting with agricultural college mates Rob and Paul planting their first olive tree. Fast forward to today and there’s a 100+ team behind the brand, looking after every stage of olive oil production across multiple groves in Victoria – from planting and picking, down to pressing and bottling, ensuring ultimate freshness.
In homemade salad dressings or drizzled over roast veggies; the fats in the olive oil will up your absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins in your veg too. Or try dipping your sourdough/gluten free toast in a little extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of your favourite salt…yum! Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is the perfect oil for all your home cooking, from stir-frying to baking. Best yet, the natural antioxidants found in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil has been shown to transfer into your cooked food - win!
Apart from this coconut oil being certified organic and coming in a reusable glass jar, Cocolife founder Bernadette has reconnected with her roots in the Philippines with this premium, unrefined coconut oil, sourced from local farmers.
Props to Cocolife for being a member of the 1% for the Planet org, with 1% of revenue from each Cocolife product purchased going towards protecting our environment in partnership with nonprofit grassroots conservation groups.
In the colder months, you’ll want to cook with coconut oil rather than use it straight up as it tends to go solid. We love roasting and baking with this baby; not only does coconut oil have a high smoke point (retaining its health properties under high temperatures), it also adds a slightly sweet, nutty flavour to whatever you’re making. Works a treat in stir fries (a little goes a long way!) and baking…no dry, crumbly banana bread when you use coconut oil either thanks to it adding a decent amount of moisture.
It’s first cold-pressed, meaning no heat or chemicals have gotten in the way of all the wonderful nutrients inherent to the oil of fresh, Aussie macadamias. We’ve included macadamia oil in this list because it has a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 - unlike most vegetable/seed oils (like canola and sunflower oil), which are higher in omega-6, and which we get too much of in the highly processed Western diet. What’s the problem with a diet that’s higher in omega-6 than omega-3? It can promote inflammation, whereas a diet with a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 can help down-regulate inflammatory processes.
Use macadamia oil in everything from homemade vinaigrette to baking. Like coconut oil, it has a high smoke point, so if you find the flavour of coconut oil too overpowering in your baked goods, try macadamia oil instead for a milder, nutty flavour.
There aren’t too many brands of flaxseed oil on the market, but you’re sure to find Melrose’s Flaxseed Oil in the fridge at the health food store; there’s an organic variety too, albeit pricier.
Not an oily fish fan? Flaxseed oil has a mild nutty flavour and is one of the best plant sources of essential omega-3, which along with being anti-inflammatory, can help add moisture back to dry skin and hair.
Because it’s not heat-stable, flaxseed oil needs to stay refrigerated. It shouldn’t be heated or it will oxidise, which will impact on its flavour and nutritional value. Drizzle over your salads and roast veg, add a spoon to smoothie or your yoghurt, or eat straight-up off the spoon! It’ll add a some oomph to whatever you’re eating.
Another harder-to-find oil, this bottle of goodness is cold-pressed from Aussie grown ‘sweet’ almonds. Thanks to zero heat treatment, this mild-smelling almond oil is still rich in its natural golden colour and nutrients, particularly vitamin E - which can be great for scars if you apply it topically.
On your skin! While you can most definitely cook with almond oil (provided it’s food-grade!), it is actually used more regularly in aromatherapy and massage than it is in cooking, it’s mild odour making the perfect carrier oil. This food-grade almond oil also tends to be better value than the almond oil you’ll find in aromatherapy aisle.