Are Your Cooking Oils Aging You? By Dora Vandekamp

Are Your Cooking Oils Aging You? By Dora Vandekamp

Photography by Andrew Ho.

Photography by Andrew Ho.

Are Your Cooking Oils Aging You?

Fats are the new black. Between the newly popular ketogenic diet and the buzz around bulletproof coffee, fats have gone from being a no-no to being a big FAT yes! As we change our perspective on fats and begin to include more fats and oils into our diets, it is important to consider which fats and oils are optimal for our health and for our skin. While we often apply oils such as argan, jojoba, and coconut oil topically, the oils we ingest also have a powerful effect on the appearance of our skin. While some oils can help prevent aging and improve our health, others can cause wrinkles, increase susceptibility to the sun, and create skin conditions such as melasma, rosacea, and inflammation. 

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to choosing an oil is how stable it is under the pressure of heat. When oil is heated it begins to break down, depending on the type of oil, and its smoke point. Once it’s chemical composition is altered due to heat, harmful free radicals are formed as the oil starts to decompose. These free radicals are linked to aging, oxidative stress, wrinkles, hair loss, and loss of skin elasticity, as well as degenerative diseases such as dementia, Parkinsons, arthritis, and cancer. A large body of recent studies support the theory that free radicals damage the mitochondria, which are the organelles in our cells that process nutrients. 

Here are some of the best oils to use, and the oils to avoid at all costs.



Coconut oil

Coconut oil has a long list of health and beautifying benefits because of its high level of healthy saturated fats. These healthy fats are incredible partners that contribute to boosting metabolism, and fueling energy and brain function. In addition, coconut oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and act as a powerful digestive aid. All of these are indispensable when it comes to anti-aging. When it comes to your skin, coconut oil improves the skin’s appearance by acting as a complete moisturizer, sunscreen, and facial cleanser. It protects the skin from external pollutants and has the ability to heal dryness, eczema, psoriasis, candida, and dermatitis. With it’s high smoke point and high stability, it is an ideal choice for cooking and baking. 

Avocado oil

Avocado oil has a very high smoke point. At 520 degrees, it is ideal for cooking and baking. It is such as powerful superfood that is has been designated as a prescription level drug due to it’s powers to counter the effects of arthritis! Avocado oil has been proven to counter dry skin and increase hair health. It’s beneficial properties include boosting nutrient absorption, something that provides long term anti-aging benefits. 

Olive oil

The benefits of quality olive oil are well-researched. Made from the fruit of the olive tree, extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, and healthy fatty acids, including oleic acid, which supports heart health and cellular function. Some of the health benefits attributed to olive oil include lowering rates of obesity, heart disease, and inflammation, and improving moods and brain function. Olive oil has a high level of antioxidants, which fight oxidative damage (note the name anti-oxidants). When purchasing olive oil it is important to choose a quality extra virgin olive oil. Many extra virgin olive oils in grocery stores contain up to 70% genetically modified canola oil, which pose long-term health risks and cause an array of degenerative diseases and rapid aging. Always look for extra virgin olive oil that is expeller pressed or cold pressed. Prepare to spend a little more money on quality EVOO, as quality olive oil costs more than ten dollars per liter, and comes in a dark glass bottle that protects the oil from light and spoiling. Avoid oils that come in a clear or plastic bottle. Olive oil does not have a very high smoke point. At 325 degrees, olive oil is not as heat stable as other oils, making it ideal for drizzling onto foods such as salads, breads, and pasta. 



Canola oil

The canola industry has done an amazing job of marketing canola oil as healthy and natural. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth. Canola oil is highly processed, as it is refined, bleached, de-gummed, and deodorized before it is placed into plastic bottles to be put on grocery shelves. The heating process causes the canola oil to become rancid, which causes free radicals in the body. In addition, approximately 95 percent of canola oil is genetically modified. In short, canola oil contributes to rapid aging, causing wrinkles and increased susceptibility to the sun and should be avoided at all costs. 

Palm oil

The palm oil industry is the leading cause of rainforest destruction, and is linked to major issues such as climate change, animal cruelty, and the looming extinction of the orangutans; The palm oil industry is also responsible for widespread human rights violations as its production continues to forcibly remove indigenous peoples and communities from their lands. Although some believe that the formation of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), aims to produce palm oil sustainably, many see the RSPO as a greenwashing scheme without proper oversight or regulations to prevent deforestation or destruction of communities and wildlife habitats. Palm oil has many names on ingredient labels. 

Here are some of them: 

1. Elaeis guineensis
2. Etyl palmitate
3. Glyceryl
4. Hydrogenated palm glycerides
5. Octyl palmitate
6. Palm fruit oil
7. Palm kernel
8. Palm kernel oil
9. Palm stearine
10. Palmate
11. Palmitate
12. Palmitic acid
13. Palmitoyl oxostearamide
14. Palmitoyl tetra peptide-3
15. Palmityl alcohol
16. Palmolein
17. Sodium kernelate
18. Sodium laureth sulfate
19. Sodium lauryl lactylate/sulphate
20. Sodium lauryl sulfate
21. Sodium palm kernelate
22. Stearate
23. Stearic acid
24. Vegetable fat
25. Vegetable oil

jejune orangutan .jpg

Corn oil

Corn oil is a polyunsaturated vegetable oil that creates oxidized cholesterol in the body. It contains an omega 6 to omega 3 ration of 49:1, which is far from the 1:1 ration that is ideal for a healthy diet. Corn oil contains over 90 percent corn and soy, both of which are grown from genetically modified seeds and is often laden with pesticides. As it is heated and refined, corn oil becomes rancid, producing free radicals in the body. These free radicals cause the breakdown of collagen, a protein that keeps skin supple and firm. As collagen is damaged, rapid aging occurs, contributing to wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, and sagging skin. 

Make the Switch

Avoiding the negative impacts of corn oil, palm oil, and canola oil may take some effort at first, such as looking more closely at ingredient labels, and experimenting with some new recipes, but it is well worth the long term effects on your health and wellbeing. Choosing heat stable oils with incredible nutrients and powerful health benefits prevents accelerated aging, and is a big FAT win-win for you, your family, and for the environment. 

Check out this delicious holiday recipe for sweet potato soup containing coconut oil.

soup photo.jpg


Benefits: Skin and Hair Enhancer, Bone and Heart Support, Stress Relieving
2 sweet potatoes large, sliced into ½ inch slices
1/4 cup of coconut oil
2 tbsp. shallots chopped
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup fennel
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp. Cordyceps
¼ ginger
5 carrots
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary


Sauté shallots, garlic, sweet potato and fennel in coconut oil in a large saucepan until soft, turning sweet potato every ten minutes. Once lightly browned, place ingredients into a blender and blend with remaining ingredients. Return to large pot and place on low heat for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally to allow flavors to take hold. Serve warm.



Dora Vandekamp is the host of the Biohack Your Beauty podcast. You can find her at and on Instagram at @doravandekamp.

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