Some individuals prefer to substitute vegetable oil for health, sustainability, or taste reasons. Vegetable oil substitutes include olive oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, and more.

There are plenty of alternatives to vegetable oil. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the healthiest oils are low in trans, saturated, and partially hydrogenated fats and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

People may also prefer extra virgin or cold-pressed oils since they are the highest grade and have a greater nutrient content. Typically, they are also more flavorful.

Individuals who wish to purchase sustainable oils should look for organic oils that producers cultivate without pesticides or herbicides. They should also look to support Fairtrade companies and small businesses with commitments to sustainable farming practices.

This article discusses potential substitutes for vegetable oil. It also looks at their health benefits and the nutrients they contain.

A person cooking while using an alternative to vegetable oil.Share on Pinterest
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Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, including oleic acid and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols may slow the progression of cancer and other cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Olive oil also contains antioxidants such as squalene, tocopherols, and phytosterols.

Additionally, this oil may help lower blood sugar levels, prevent obesity, and improve blood flow. Some evidence also suggests that the substance may play a role in helping reduce depression.

One tablespoon (tbsp) of olive oil contains:

  • calories (kcal): 119
  • fat: 13.5 grams (g), including 1.86 g of saturated fat
  • vitamin E: 1.94 milligrams (mg)
  • vitamin K: 8.13 micrograms (mcg)

Walnut oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid, which may provide some health benefits. For example, a 2020 animal study indicates the anti-inflammatory properties of walnut oil may positively affect ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. However, further research in humans is still necessary.

One tbsp of walnut oil contains:

  • kcal: 120
  • fat: 13.6 g, including 1.24 g of saturated fat
  • vitamin K: 2.04 mcg

Flaxseed oil, also called linseed oil, is high in omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid. It has anti-inflammatory effects and may improve immunity and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed oil may also alleviate arthritis symptoms and help prevent and treat diabetes and cancer.

One tbsp of flaxseed oil contains:

  • kcal: 124
  • fat: 14 g, including 1.26 g of saturated fat
  • vitamin E: 0.066 mcg
  • vitamin K: 1.3 mcg
  • calcium: 0.14 mg
  • phosphorus: 0.14 mg
  • choline: 0.028 mcg
  • zinc: 0.01 mg

Avocado oil has antioxidant properties and is high in monounsaturated fats, which help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. It may assist in improving cholesterol levels and regulating blood sugar. It contains tocopherols, polyphenols, and phytosterols, which boost overall health and help prevent chronic diseases.

One tbsp of avocado oil contains 124 kcal and 14 g of fat, including 1.62 g of saturated fat.

Grapeseed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is high in vitamin E, which may help improve immunity. It contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that have links to chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Grapeseed oil also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), most of which are omega-6 fatty acids. Some evidence suggests PUFAs can be beneficial for heart health, as they may help reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

However, it is important to get the correct balance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that a low omega-6 to omega-3 ratio may help improve biomarkers for cardiovascular disease. If a person is already getting sufficient omega-6 from their diet, regularly consuming grapeseed oil may put their omega-6 intake at unhealthy levels.

One tbsp of grapeseed oil contains:

  • kcal: 120
  • fat: 13.6 g, including 1.31 g of saturated fat
  • vitamin E: 3.92 mg

Sesame oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help slow the progression of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. It may also assist in regulating blood sugar, improving cholesterol levels, and alleviating symptoms of arthritis.

One tbsp of sesame oil contains:

  • kcal: 120
  • fat: 13.6 g, including 1.93 g of saturated fat
  • vitamin K: 1.85 mcg
  • vitamin E: 0.19 mg

Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it has many health benefits in small amounts. It may help improve cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve liver health, but researchers need to complete more studies in humans to support these benefits. The antioxidant properties of coconut oil may also help alleviate stress and depression.

One tbsp of coconut oil contains:

  • kcal: 121 kcal
  • fat: 13.5 g, including 11.2 g of saturated fat
  • vitamin E: 0.015 mg
  • vitamin K: 0.082 mcg
  • calcium: 0.136 mg
  • iron: 0.007 mg
  • zinc: 0.003 mg
  • choline: 0.041 mg

Many heart-healthy oils can replace vegetable oil.

To help ensure quality, people can opt for organic, cold-pressed oils from a reputable brand. People should store them in a dark, cool place and discard foul-smelling oils.

Certain oils are suitable for cooking, while others are best suited for baking, marinades, and salad dressings. Before using a new oil for cooking or baking, find out if it is appropriate for use with high heat.