Epicurean Charlotte

Food & Wine Magazine


Fast Facts for Navigating the Cooking Oil Aisle


courtesy Family Features

Corn may be the top crop in Iowa, but many consumers are not aware of corn oil’s heart-healthy benefits and its versatility in the kitchen.

When cooking for your family, selecting the best ingredients for a heart-healthy meal can be challenging, and there is one ingredient that is often the core of any recipe: cooking oil. However, navigating the cooking oil aisle can be confusing, so this guide breaks down everything the home chef needs to know about cooking with oil.

Heart-Health Focused
Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important to your heart health, and when it comes to impact on cholesterol, not all cooking oils are created equal. Next time you find yourself reaching for extra virgin olive oil at the grocery store, consider swapping it out for corn oil, which a study shows can help lower cholesterol two times more than extra virgin olive oil. Corn oil also has nearly five times the amount of polyunsaturated fats compared to olive oil, and these heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats help reduce cholesterol levels in your blood. Making a conscious effort to use ingredients like corn oil is a smart, heart-healthy choice for your family.

A Gut Decision

When it comes to lowering your cholesterol and staying heart healthy, go with your gut. Corn oil contains cholesterol-blocking plant sterols—plant-based micronutrients that help block the absorption of cholesterol in your gut and work to prevent bad cholesterol (LDL) from entering the blood stream. Corn oil contains nearly four times more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than olive oil, three times as many as vegetable oil, and nearly 1.5 times more than canola oil.

Sourcing the Best Ingredients

Today, more and more families are paying close attention to where their food comes from and prefer locally-sourced ingredients. Opting for local food can give you more confidence in the ingredients you use in your family’s meals. Mazola® Corn Oil, for instance, is produced from corn in the Midwest, including corn grown in Iowa. A lot of olive oil is imported from the Mediterranean region, while most canola oil comes from our friendly neighbors up north in Canada. But, did you know that you can get heart-healthy corn oil that’s grown and made right here in the U.S.?
Multipurpose Functionality
Whether you fancy yourself a top-notch baker, grill master, or are just starting out, each ingredient selected plays an important role in obtaining the meal’s desired taste. Extra virgin olive oil has a strong flavor that can change the taste of the foods you cook. Corn oil is an all-purpose cooking oil with a neutral taste that lets the true flavors of your dish come through, making it the perfect ingredient for heart-healthy dishes like pan-fried salmon or in a salad dressing over a bed of spinach.

Corn oil can also handle the heat in the kitchen because of its high smoke point (450°F), making it a great, all-purpose cooking oil for everything from grilling and sautéing to stir frying and baking. This is key for crafting quality meals at home, because once a smoke point is exceeded, the food flavor and nutritional value are negatively affected.