Discovering the Best Cooking Oil for Your Well-being
Choosing the best cooking oil for your kitchen can be a challenging task. The market offers a wide variety of oils to choose from. The properties of oils vary, and each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. With accurate information at your disposal, choosing the finest oil will be a breeze. In this article, we will provide you with the information you need.
What are Fatty Acids?
The fat in our bodies is composed of fatty acids. When fats are digested, they are broken down into fatty acids that can be assimilated into the bloodstream. Typically, fatty acid molecules are combined in sets of three to create a triglyceride molecule. Triglycerides and cholesterol are the predominant lipids present in the human body as a result of food consumption.
Fatty acids play a crucial role in the body as they serve as precursors to various important compounds such as vitamins, cofactors, and derivatives. There exist three primary classifications of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and trans fats. All fats are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules.
Saturated fats are fully loaded with hydrogen molecules and have single bonds between carbon molecules. The presence of an abundance of hydrogen molecules leads to the solidification of saturated fats at room temperature. For instance, coconut oil is solid at room temperature due to high saturated fat content.
A direct correlation exists between excessive intake of saturated fatty acids and an increased susceptibility to cardiovascular ailments. Dyslipidemia is a condition of abnormal levels of lipids in our blood. It is caused due to high consumption of saturated fatty acids. The World Health Organisation has advised adopting a dietary pattern where saturated fatty acids constitute less than 10% of the total energy consumed.
Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Unsaturated fats have at least one double bond between carbon molecules. These fatty acids comprise one or more double bonds in their carbon atom chains. This double bond reduces the number of hydrogen atoms attached to the chain. Due to their unique structure, these fatty acids typically exist in a liquid state when exposed to room temperature.
Including unsaturated fats in your diet is beneficial for your health. Studies have demonstrated that their consumption can enhance cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and maintain stable heart rhythms. While saturated fats raise "bad" LDL cholesterol in your blood, unsaturated fats raise "Good" HDL cholesterol.
Unsaturated fatty acids are of two types:
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA): Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are categorized as fatty acids that possess only one double bond chemically. Oleic acid is the most common type of MUFA. MUFA can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Cholesterol, a soft and waxy substance, can lead to clogged or blocked arteries (blood vessels), which can result in heart disease and stroke.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA): PUFA have two or more double bonds. PUFAs, which encompass omega-3s and omega-6s, have the ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, particularly when replacing unhealthy fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 are two “essential” fatty acids–meaning that the body cannot manufacture them and must get them from dietary sources.
Nutritional values expressed as % age by mass of total fat.
|Saturated Fatty Acids
|Energy (per 100g)
Groundnut oil, which is also referred to as peanut oil, is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from peanuts. It is commonly used in baking, sauteing, and frying. One tablespoon of peanut oil typically contains 119 calories and 14 grams of fat, of which 16% is saturated fat, while MUFA and PUFA are 57% and 19%, respectively. MUFA and PUFA are indistinguishable in their ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels and mitigate the chances of heart disease and stroke in the long term.
Peanut oil is also known for its abundance of vitamin E, an antioxidant that provides numerous protective advantages against chronic illnesses. However, excessive consumption of the omega-6 fatty acids present in peanut oil can be detrimental to one's health. Experts recommend that for optimal health, omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ratio should be closer to 1:1 or 4:1. This ratio is a bit high in case of peanut oil. Also, peanut oil is believed to cause allergies in children.
Sunflower oil, derived from the seeds of the sunflower, is a non-volatile oil that is often extracted through pressing. It is widely utilized in culinary applications as a frying oil. One tablespoon of sunflower oil contains 120 calories and 78 grams of fats, of which 8.9% is saturated fat, while MUFA and PUFA are 63% and 20%, respectively. We can see that sunflower oil contains appropriate quantity of MUFA and PUFA. Sunflower oil is also a good source of Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Antioxidant properties of Vitamin E can enhance your immune system by protecting immune cells from damage.
Although it contains high levels of unsaturated fats, but its health benefits may vary depending on the type of oil. Overconsumption of fats can lead to obesity and associated health hazards. Although Omega-6 fats are essential for the body, excessive consumption can trigger inflammation, which can ultimately result in obesity and heart disease. If high-linoleic sunflower oil is repeatedly heated, it can release harmful compounds, which is especially worrisome if it is utilized for deep frying.
Mustard oil is a cold pressed oil extracted from mustard seeds. Mustard oil is widely used as a cooking oil in households across India. It is obtained from mustard seeds through a steam distillation process. Mustard essential oil retains all the nutrients present in the mustard seed. In every 100 grams of mustard oil, there are 884 calories and a total fat content of 100 grams, including 12 grams of saturated fat, 21 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 59 grams of monounsaturated fat. Mustard oil is an oil that contains balanced amounts of saturated fats, MUFA, and PUFA. Furthermore, its omega-6 to omega-3 ratio adheres to the established global health standards. Mustard oil also exhibits antifungal and antibacterial properties.
However, the thing to notice is that it does not contain any essential vitamins and minerals for the body. Mustard oil is also believed to be irritating. It is suggested to conduct a patch test before using it to check for any allergic reactions. Mustard oil also carries a significant potential hazard due to its elevated erucic acid content. While small amounts of erucic acid are considered safe, higher concentrations can pose a risk.
Soybean oil, extracted from soybean seeds, is a well-known vegetable oil that has gained immense popularity as a cooking oil. It is widely used and is the second most consumed vegetable oil. Soyabean oil is rich in Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a crucial role in regulating bone metabolism. Soyabean oil also has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 have been associated with numerous health benefits and are essential for heart health, foetal development, brain function, and immunity. However, excessive consumption of soybean oil has been linked to obesity and diabetes and potentially autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression.
Soyabean oil has a high smoke point. The temperature at which fats begin to break down and oxidize is known as the smoke point of an oil. This process leads to the formation of harmful free radicals that can cause oxidative stress in the body and result in various diseases. Since soybean oil has a high smoke point, it becomes an excellent choice for high-heat cooking methods such as frying, baking, roasting, and sautéing, as it can withstand high temperatures without breaking down. Oils with high smoke point is best for frying and other high heat cooking methods, while low smoke point oils are best reserved for salad dressing, low heat cooking, and as a finishing oil on completed dishes.
The extraction of olive oil involves pressing whole olives, which are the fruit of the Olea europaea tree. In everyday life, olive oil is commonly used for cooking, as well as in the preparation of salad dressings and table spreads. Not only is olive oil renowned for its culinary uses, but it is also recognized for its medicinal properties. It aids in reducing bad cholesterol and increasing the levels of good cholesterol in the body. Additionally, it assists in regulating blood sugar levels and managing diabetes. Although olive oil is widely recognized as a healthy option, it does come at a slightly higher price compared to other types of oils.
Canola oil, also known as rapeseed oil, has been in use for centuries. Canola oil is derived from the rapeseed plant through crossbreeding and was first developed in Canada. The name "canola" is a combination of "Canada" and "ola," which means oil. Canola oil is a healthier option compared to other oils because it is made up of unsaturated fats and does not contain any cholesterol. It has a higher concentration of omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3 fatty acids. Canola oil is also known for its antioxidant, anti-ageing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Canola oil is also rich in Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
However, there are some side effects of Canola oil if used in excess. The toxic by-product of mustard gas production can have detrimental effects on both the heart and liver. Erucic acid, even in small quantities, has the potential to impede regular growth. The partial hydrogenation of canola oil may lead to inflammation and calcification of the arteries.
Well, that’s it from our side. Ultimately, the decision of which product to purchase is entirely up to you. We are capable of furnishing you solely with the necessary knowledge and information.