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Dear Pharmacist,

I heard you say that cooking with “vegetable oil” was your least favorite oil. It’s all I’ve ever used. Why don’t you like it, and what oils should we cook with?

--R.E. Austin, Texas

Answer: I think Americans lack the right fats in their body, for example, a healthy balance of linolenic acid, omega 3, 6 and 9s. Balance is key so I recommend oils that are rich in nutrients known to advance our health. I’m not thrilled with yellow-colored lard alternatives to butter, you’re better off with natural butter or ghee. Now here is my list of healthy oils:

Flaxseed - Packed with essential fatty acids, like linolenic acid and omegas, flax is known to reduce toxic forms of estrogen in the body, thereby reducing your risk of breast or prostate cancers. It has a subtle nutty flavor and high quality versions are “cold pressed” rather than heated. Bear in mind any “cold-pressed” oil should not be heated beyond the smoke point.

Hemp seed oil - A study showed it may relieve symptoms of eczema. Pressed from the seeds of legally-grown cannabis flowers, this gorgeous green oil does not impart psychoactive effects and in fact it has regenerative properties because it is an incredible source of vitamin E, gamma-linolenic acid and omega 3s. It helps heart, immune and digestive function. It tastes nutty and because it’s cold-pressed, don’t fry with it.

Almond - Refined almond oil is great for cooking purposes because of its relatively high smoke point meaning the oil can be heated without destroying too many nutrients or creating harmful compounds. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and D. Just incredible!

Sunflower - Low in saturated fats and rich in vitamin E, sunflower contains oleic acid, which increases a gut hormone called GLP-1. If you read my diabetes book, you’d know that this hormone makes you feel full faster so you’re less likely to stuff your face! GLP-1 also increases insulin sensitivity and protects your pancreatic cells. Don’t overheat.

Avocado - The best source of powerful antioxidants like glutathione and vitamins A, E and D. Use it in salads or apply it to your skin- it helps eczema and psoriasis. Glutathione in avocados can clean out your digestive tract, especially your liver and pancreas. Okay to heat.

Coconut - So many uses for this! It fights candida, helps digestion and tastes like coconuts. It may also chase away viruses. I often saute veggies with this, but it’s great for cooking at higher temperatures. You can add to smoothies, apply a tad to dry elbows, heels or skin irritations.

Grape seed - One of my favorites because it has a mild taste and imparts strong antioxidants. Great for your heart, it raises good HDLs and lowers bad LDLs.

Olive oil - Use only extra virgin, cold-pressed oils which are high in essential fatty acids, and vitamins E and K. Olive oil can promote smooth digestion while protecting you from heart disease or circulation problems.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website,

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)