Olive oil has a low smoke point and is best used in salad dressings while sunflower oil is best for deep frying

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to oils, is the smoke point. This factor determines whether the oil you use, matches your cooking style.

High smoke point= good for deep frying

For instance, oils like olive, sesame, flaxseed and pumpkin seed have low smoke points. So these are suited for salad dressings, and light sautéing. On the other hand, oils like mustard, sunflower, canola and rice bran are useful for deep frying, since they have high smoke points. And finally, your favourite medium, ghee, is best for enhancing the taste of dals and curries.

The best bet is to keep a variety of oils, on your kitchen shelf. You can even blend those with similar smoke-points, and mix your use to get the best benefits. Read on, to get some tips on how to get the best out of your oils.

#1 Overheating can be risky
Saturated oils resist heat better than the unsaturated kind. Since high temperatures cause oils to become unstable, it’s best to avoid overheating oils, beyond their break point. Heating causes hydrogenation and a rise in trans fats, that are bad for the health.

#2 Watch for Trans fats
Trans fats are considered to be the worst type of fat, since they deliver a double whammy. Apart from raising your bad cholesterol, they also lower your good cholesterol.

Even oil that’s naturally low in trans and saturated fatty acid changes during hydrogenation, a process used to increase shelf life. One consequence is a rise in trans fats, which render it unhealthy.

So steer clear of hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated oils.  You can do this by reading the labels, and picking varieties low in hydrogenated fats, with a higher PUFA and MUFA content.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, an ideal oil must have a SFA:MUFA:PUFA ratio of 27%:33%:33% to 40%:27%:33%. This is why it is better to choose cold-pressed oils that have not been subjected to too much refining.

# Choose Olive oil for cold or Mediterranean cuisine
Olive oil is used in Mediterranean favorites such as pastas, pizza, tortilla, falafels, salads, and dips. However, experts suggest you use olive oil either cold, or subject it to medium heat only. Only in these cases, will it retain most of its health properties.

Heating it beyond a point, evaporates the esters and alcohols responsible for its mild flavor, leading to a loss of antioxidant properties.

# Opt for butter when you bake
Butter is made from cream, and hence is natural. On the other hand, margarine is a butter-like substance obtained by hydrogenating vegetable oil. So, it’s hardly surprising that bakers prefer butter and reject margarine!

If you are looking for a healthier alternative to both butter and margarine, then you can opt for coconut oil.  Some even use soya or groundnut oil, for baking.