The best oils to cook with if you have arthritis

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Feature, Food and Recipes

Oils and fats often have a bad reputation, but removing them from your diet can be detrimental to your overall health. In fact, for people living with arthritis, incorporating mono- and poly-unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, seeds and omega-3 fats into your meals is proven to support immune system function and reduce overall inflammation.

Discover the healthiest oils for arthritis, ranked in three categories:

  1. Everyday essentials: These oils are multi-purpose powerhouses with valuable fats and nutrients.

Classic olive oil: A mix of extra-virgin and refined olive oil that is high in mono-unsaturated fats. It has a high smoke point, so it can withstand higher temperatures before producing smoke and free radicals (unstable molecules) that can be harmful to the body. It’s great for grilling, sautéing, roasting, baking and pan frying.

Avocado oil: High in mono-unsaturated fats and antioxidants and with a higher smoke point, avocado oil is a great alternative to olive oil for high-heat cooking and baking.

Extra-virgin olive oil: Also known as “EVOO,” it has high anti-inflammatory antioxidants and is an excellent source of unsaturated fats. Try it for low-heat sautéing.

  1. Occasional indulgences: These oils have great health benefits but fewer than the essentials.

Peanut oil: Contains heart-healthy, natural compounds found in plants and is great for stir-frying because of its medium-high smoke point.

Grapeseed oil: A good all-purpose oil for cooking, baking and stir-frying that is high in omega-6 fats, which can increase inflammation when consumed in excess, so use occasionally.

Flaxseed oil: The best oil source of omega-3 fats. It helps to reduce inflammation, lower “bad” cholesterol, prevent blood clotting and benefit overall health. It should not be heated, so use it in salad dressings, dips and marinades instead.

Hemp oil: Contains omega-3 fats and is high in polyunsaturated fats. Its medium smoke point makes it great for cooking over medium heat.

Canola oil: Extremely versatile. It contains omega-3 fats and has a medium-high smoke point, so it works well for higher temperatures.

Sunflower oil: Naturally high in polyunsaturated fats and omega-6s. Great for browning, searing and deep frying due to its high smoke point.

  1. Use sparingly: These oils are high in saturated fats and contain fewer health benefits.

Coconut oil: Despite the hype over other plant oils, both refined and unrefined coconut oil are high in cholesterol-raising saturated fats. Enjoy it but use it sparingly.

Ghee: Also known as clarified butter, it is made by slowly melting butter while allowing the water to evaporate. Ghee has been promoted to reduce inflammation based on animal studies, but more research is needed.

Palm oil: High in saturated fats and has a high smoke point. Consider using red palm oil as it’s less processed than regular palm oil and has antioxidants and other beneficial plant chemicals.

Find more nutrition tips from Arthritis Society Canada at

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