What is a smoke point and why is it important?

smoke point avocado oil

We all know smoking cigarettes can significantly increase your risk for developing cancer, but did you know there’s another kind of smoke you need to pay attention to?

Every oil you cook with has a certain temperature called a smoke point. Once an oil is heated enough, it will begin to smoke and break down. As the oil is breaking down, it starts to become more oxidized. These oxidized parts of the oil may cause damage to cells inside your body, and many believe this may increase the risk for cancer.

The good compounds/chemicals in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, known as ANTIoxidants, help fight these oxidized parts of the oil and potentially reduce your risk for cancer. This is why it is so important to eat a well-balanced diet filled with quality plant based foods. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends at least 2/3 of your diet come from quality plant based foods like avocado oil, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.

It is a good idea to cook with oils that have a higher smoke point. Cooking with these high smoke point oils helps you minimize the amount of oil that is oxidized. And that’s where avocado oil comes in. It has a smoke point over 500 degrees! That means you can bake, sauté, pan fry, and not have to worry about hitting the smoke point. Let’s look at the smoke point of some common cooking oils:

Smoke Point (°F) of Common Cooking Oils

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 320
Coconut 350
Canola 400
Grapeseed 420
Peanut 450
Sunflower 450
Avocado 500+

While olive oil and coconut oil are great for spraying on salads and cooking at low temperatures, they will start to smoke and oxidize at 350 degrees or less. Most cooking requires higher temperatures than that. Avocado oil is ideal for almost all types of cooking and will save you the trouble of having to look up smoke points each time you cook!  Give it a try in baked goods, roasted veggies (using the Chosen Foods avocado oil spray), seared meats, and any of your favorite recipes!

smoke point

Sources:
  1. https://www.oncolink.org/frequently-asked-questions/coping-with-cancer/nutrition-during-treatment/cooking-oils-causing-cancer
  2. http://www.aicr.org/new-american-plate/
  3. https://jonbarron.org/diet-and-nutrition/healthiest-cooking-oil-chart-smoke-points

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As a wife, mom to two little girls, type 1 diabetic, and registered dietitian, Mary Ellen is passionate about helping people feel confident in their nutrition choices, and helping people realize that the food they eat matters. She believes everyone can have a positive relationship with food and strives to help you create happy memories in the kitchen through her...

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