The Top 3 Healthiest Oils: What Makes Them Stand Out?

West Island Naturopath

As a Naturopath, I emphasize the importance of incorporating healthy oils into one’s diet for overall well-being. Oils play a crucial role in our health, providing essential fatty acids and nutrients vital for various bodily functions. However, not all oils are created equal. Let’s delve into the world of oils, starting with the unhealthy ones and progressing to the healthiest options, with a particular focus on the types of fatty acids they contain and their effects on the body.

The Downside of PUFA Seed Oils: Why Linoleic Acid Isn’t Your Friend

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential fats that the body needs for numerous functions, including building cell membranes and producing hormones. However, when consumed in excess, certain PUFAs can have detrimental effects on health. One of the main culprits is linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found abundantly in seed oils like soybean, corn, and sunflower oil.

Linoleic acid, while essential in small amounts, can become problematic when consumed in large quantities. Excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to inflammation, which plays a central role in many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Moreover, seed oils high in linoleic acid are prone to oxidation and can become rancid when exposed to heat, light, and air, further contributing to inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

Beware of Rancidity: The Dangers of Oxidized Fish Oil

West island naturopath fish oil

Eve Egan West Island Naturopath


While fish oils are often touted for their omega-3 fatty acid content, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), not all fish oils are created equal. Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3s. However, fish oils can become rancid when exposed to air, light, and heat, leading to the formation of harmful free radicals.

To prevent the oxidation of fish oils, it’s essential to store them properly in a cool, dark place and consume them within their shelf life. Additionally, incorporating antioxidants like vitamin E into your diet can help mitigate the risk of fish oil oxidation. Vitamin E acts as a potent antioxidant, scavenging free radicals and protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.


 Understanding Fatty Acid Chains: Long-Chain vs. Medium-Chain vs. Short-Chain

Fatty acids are classified based on the length of their carbon chains, which influences their metabolic properties and physiological effects in the body.

– Long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs): These fatty acids contain 14 or more carbon atoms and are predominantly found in animal fats and some plant oils. Examples include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids like EPA, DHA, and arachidonic acid. LCFAs require bile acids for absorption and are transported via chylomicrons in the bloodstream.

– Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs): MCFAs contain 6 to 12 carbon atoms and are abundant in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy fats. Unlike LCFAs, MCFAs are absorbed directly into the portal vein and transported to the liver, where they are rapidly metabolized for energy.

– Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs): SCFAs contain fewer than six carbon atoms and are a subset of fatty acids, produced by the fermentation of dietary fibers in the colon. Examples include acetate, propionate, and butyrate, which play essential roles in gut health and immune function.

The differences in fatty acid chain length impact their absorption, metabolism, and physiological effects in the body. While LCFAs are important for cell structure and signaling, MCFAs offer quick energy and metabolic benefits, making them a popular choice for cooking and supplementation.


Here’s a list of the top 3 healthiest oils along with their fatty acid classification and their respective smoke points:

The smoke point of a cooking oil is the temperature at which it begins to break down and produce visible smoke. This breakdown occurs due to the heat causing the oil to undergo chemical changes, including the degradation of its fatty acids. As the oil decomposes, it releases volatile compounds and free radicals, some of which may have carcinogenic properties.

To avoid reaching the smoke point and the associated risks, it’s important to choose cooking oils with smoke points appropriate for the cooking method you’re using. This helps ensure that your oils stay stable and safe during cooking, preserving both the flavor of your food and your health.

West Island Naturopath

West Island Naturopath

Coconut Oil:

– Fatty Acid Classification: Primarily medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), including lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid.

– Chain Length: Medium-chain fatty acids.

– Smoke Point: Coconut oil has a relatively high smoke point of around 350°F (177°C), making it suitable for medium-heat cooking, baking, and frying.

Olive Oil:

– Fatty Acid Classification: Predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), primarily oleic acid.

– Chain Length: Long-chain fatty acid.

– Smoke Point: Extra virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point of around 320°F (160°C), while refined olive oil has a higher smoke point of approximately 390°F (199°C). It’s best used for low to medium-heat cooking and in a salad dressing.

Avocado Oil:

– Fatty Acid Classification: High in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), primarily oleic acid.

– Chain Length: Long-chain fatty acid.

– Smoke Point: Avocado oil has a high smoke point of approximately 520°F (271°C), making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and roasting, it’s also excellent in salad dressing.

These oils vary in their fatty acid composition, which influences their suitability for different cooking methods. It’s essential to consider both the smoke point and the type of fatty acids present when selecting an oil for cooking to ensure optimal flavor and nutritional benefits.


 The Benefits of Coconut Oil: The Power of Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

West Island Naturopath benefits of coconut oil

West Island Naturopath

By far my favorite, coconut oil has gained popularity in recent years for its unique composition of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), primarily lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, which require pancreatic enzymes and bile acids for digestion and absorption, MCTs are rapidly absorbed and transported to the liver, where they are converted into ketones – a preferred source of energy for the brain and body.

Moreover, MCTs have been shown to have various health benefits, including:

– Improved cognitive function: Ketones produced from MCT metabolism can provide a readily available fuel source for the brain, potentially improving cognitive function and focus.

– Increased energy expenditure: MCTs have been shown to increase metabolic rate and promote fat burning, making them a valuable tool for weight management and athletic performance.

– Antimicrobial properties: Lauric acid, the predominant fatty acid in coconut oil, exhibits potent antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, supporting immune function and gut health.

Incorporating cold pressed organic coconut oil into your diet can be a delicious and healthful way to reap the benefits of MCTs. Whether used for cooking, baking, or added to smoothies and coffee (Bullet Proof), coconut oil offers a versatile and nutritious addition to any meal plan.

When it comes to choosing oils for cooking and eating, it’s essential to prioritize quality and health benefits. Avoiding unhealthy seed oils high in linoleic acid and opting for natural sources of omega-3s like cold-water fish can help reduce inflammation and support overall well-being. Understanding the differences between long-chain, medium-chain, and short-chain fatty acids can guide your oil choices to optimize nutrient absorption and metabolic function. Finally, embracing the benefits of coconut oil and its unique composition of MCTs can provide a delicious and healthful addition to your diet. By making informed choices about the oils you consume, you can nourish your body and promote optimal health for years to come. For more information on living a holistic lifestyle visit me in the West Island today!