Figuring out what type of cooking oil should you use is like understanding the nitty-gritties of quantum physics of the food world. Theres been deafening debates, millions of opinions, thousands of stories, researches and still larger number of questions left unanswered to us. With new oils making places in the departmental store shelves, we cant shake off the doubts that are lingering in our minds but cannot quiet come out of the completely baffled state of mind with the incomprehensible terminology. Well, we thought, its high time we consider taking a deep dive and find out the answers that have been confusing us and impairing our decision-making abilities.
Here is the all-inclusive guide to different cooking oils
God of all oils is Coconut oil as this is high in saturated fats and has a high shelf life. Though there are indications of usage of saturated fats to heart diseases, when used in moderation, coconut oil can have neutral impact on cholesterol levels. It has antimicrobial properties. It can withstand high temperature with a smoking point of 177°C. Coconut oil may promote a healthy digestive tract. There are still debates about the link of coconut oil to heart disease, however certain health benefits of this saturated oil cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, moderate use of coconut oil in cooking is still recommended.
Rice Bran Oil
A relatively new member in the family of cooking oils, which is gaining popularity for its health benefits. The name, rice bran oil suggests that it is made from the husks or bran of the rice grains. It contains oryzanol that is considered good for managing cholesterol level. Its good balance of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) and PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) makes it favorable among the lot. For its high smoking point, it is majorly used for deep frying and cooking. The impressive benefits of this oil range from boosting immunity, preventing cancer, improving skin health, aiding weight loss, relieving menopausal symptoms, improving heart health, increasing cognitive strength, and lowering allergic reactions.
This is a monounsaturated fat and the smoke point varies according to the weight. Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 160°C, virgin that of 216°C, Pomace 238°C and extra light 242°C. Depending on the smoke point, one may want to accordingly use high heat while cooking with olive oil. The shelf life of olive oil is anywhere between 6 to 12 months. The high monounsaturated fat content in olive oil lowers the risk of heart diseases and breast cancer, as it contains antioxidants that help combat free radicals. Besides, olive oil also contains Vitamin E, K and 1% of Omega 3 fats which have their own merits on health. The lighter (color) variety of olive oil, the better.
With MUFA and PUFA content and good combination of fats, Peanut oil is good for cooking. Its diverse fatty acids content including stearic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid among others and HDL (good cholesterol) content make it a healthy choice for heart health. Peanut oil has high levels of polyphenol antioxidants like Resveratrol, eliminates free radicals and decrease the chances of cancer and balances blood pressure level.
This is a mixture of mono and polyunsaturated fats and has a smoke point of around 232°C. Sunflower oil is suitable for frying and also contains antioxidants and Vitamin E. Though it can help lower cholesterol level, it contains large amount of Omega 6. It also contains PUFA and MUFA. However, re-using this oil after deep frying can cause formation of harmful trans fats. People with diabetes may need to be watchful on the amount of sunflower oil used for consumption, as it may promote the risk of increasing blood sugar levels.
This is monounsaturated and has a smoke point of 204°C. Good for salad dressing but not suitable for cooking at high temperatures as it degrades quickly and, also, has a very small shelf life. 10% of Omega 3 and Omega 6 make it excellent as a heart healthy oil. Not massively considered as an ideal cooking oil due to its low smoke point, the high PUFA content of this oil makes it fall prey to rancidity.
Rich in a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid, this oil has an ideal balance of PUFA, MUFA and vitamin E. The presence of oryzanol in this oil makes it an ideal choice to improve heart health, maintain cholesterol balance and neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals in the body. With a high smoke point and low absorption quality, this oil is considered as one of the best oils for skin health, weight loss, and aiding inflammation.
A source of high quality protein, minerals like zinc, copper, calcium, polyunsaturated fatty acids including sesamin and sesamol, Sesame oil comes with health benefits such as helping in bone growth and development, balancing cardiovascular system, curing depression and anxiety, and improving hair and skin health. Its high smoking point, nutty aroma and taste works wonders when used in margination, dressing and stir fries.
This universal oil is rich in omega-6- and omega-3, has high smoke point, light texture and a neutral flavour. Canola oil is known to reduce the risk for heart disease for the presence of omega-3 fatty acid which is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and considered to be beneficial for heart health. Conceived as one of the most versatile cooking oils, Canola oil is also rich in MUFA that reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol) in the body, boosts metabolism, improves hair and skin health.
Here we tried to list the benefits of various cooking oils and their impacts on health. Consultation with expert nutritionists and dietitians will help you decide the right and healthy cooking oil for you and help minimize the health risks. Though oils provide good aroma and taste to food, healthy diet combined with physical activity to stay fit still remains the secret to a healthy lifestyle. Let us know if you found this article interesting and we will be back with more such articles. Till then, stay fit, stay healthy!