Walnut Oil (9 percent saturated fat) This rich-tasting oil is used in salad dressings, sautés, and marinades. It is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and contains a small amount of vitamin E. Downside: Heating can remove some of the oil’s flavor and produce a slight bitterness.
Avocado Oil (11 percent saturated fat) Pressed from the fruit of the avocado, this oil has a nutty, buttery taste. It works well in salad dressings and for drizzling on vegetables and is also a good choice for frying and sautéing. Has health properties similar to those of olive oil. Downside: It is expensive and can be hard to find.
Low-Fat Specialty Oils
Grapeseed Oil (10 percent saturated fat) This oil (made from the seeds of grapes and also known as grape oil) has a clean, light taste and is often used in salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise. A high smoke point makes grapeseed oil a good choice for sautéing. It is also high in antioxidants and doesn’t spoil easily. Downside: It’s expensive.
Flaxseed Oil (10 percent saturated fat) Made from flaxseed and used in freshly made salad dressings, flaxseed oil has the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) of any oil. Flaxseed boosts immunity, can help ease constipation, and contains the phytonutrient lignin, which may lower your risk for some cancers. Downside: Flaxseed oil spoils quickly. Some research has linked alpha-linolenic acid to prostate cancer. There’s just enough evidence, says Walter Willett, M.D., chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, to suggest that flaxseed oil should be consumed in modest amounts. It’s also hard to find.