Healthy oils for lower cholesterol

Tired of cooking with olive oil? Try one of these healthy—and tasty!—substitutes. //

From Health magazine

What's new with oil?

Yes, olive oil's the reigning champ of healthy, versatile fats, but these alternatives are worth a pour. All have the same amount of calories—roughly 120 per tablespoon—along with health (and taste!) perks.

Here's the lowdown from Marissa Lippert, RD, author of The Cheater's Diet.

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Avocado Oil

Why it's good:  It has heart-healthy omega-3s and mono-unsaturated fats that help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and keep "good" HDL cholesterol high.

Use it for:  Salads, veggies, even soups—the mild, buttery taste really enhances flavor.

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Coconut Oil

Why it's good:  Recent research shows its main type of saturated fat, lauric acid, helps boost those healthy HDL cholesterol levels (although not as much as monounsaturated fats do).

Use it for:  Baking, from scones to pie crusts. Used in place of butter in equal quantities, it's a healthier, vegan alternative to animal fat, with a sweet, hint-of-vanilla taste. Since it's solid at room temperature, you can also spread it on toast.

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Grapeseed Oil

Why it's good:  Extracted from grapes, it packs 70 percent polyunsaturated fats, which help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

Use it for:  Sautéing and frying; this oil has a neutral taste and a high smoke point—meaning it can stand up to hot temperatures without burning or losing its nutritional value.

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Palm Oil

Why it's good:  It's super rich in vitamin E, which supports the immune system. Avoid partially hydrogenated palm oil, found in some processed foods; it has unhealthy trans fats (and fewer nutrients).

Use it for:  Curries, stews, noodle dishes, and even omelets. The distinctive, earthy flavor is the reason it's a (delicious) staple in Asian, African, and Brazilian cuisine.

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