Foreverfit guides you on the health pros and cons of various cooking oils in the market.
#1 Sunflower oil
It has a light taste and a high smoke-point, which makes it an ideal all-purpose oil. Sunflower oil is useful for salad dressings as well as high heat cooking.
The health benefits: It is low in saturated fats and high in free-radical fighting vitamin E.
The flipside: It has a high Omega-6 content.
#2 Coconut oil
It is perfect for baking, since it is solid at low temperatures. Coconut oil serves as the ideal vegan substitute for butter. Since it imparts a slight coconut-y flavor to foods, this oil complements most sweet and savory recipes. In addition, it has a high smoke-point, and is thus a great option for frying.
The health benefits: Coconut oil has antibacterial properties. In addition, it is rich in lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride that gives it an edge over long-chained fatty acids. One advantage of this unique fat structure is that it boosts the body’s metabolism.
The flipside: It has very high saturated fat content.
#3 Soybean oil
It has a neutral taste and blends into most recipes easily. Good for frying and high-heat cooking.
The health benefits: It is packed with heart-healthy PUFA and Omega-3s, vitamin E and K.
The flipside: This is high in trans fats . Soyabean oil is also an allergenic, for those intolerant to soy products.
#4 Olive Oil
It is an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids, especially MUFA. Olive oil has a low smoking point, and loses it’s properties with high heat. So use it in stir-fries, pastas, and for salad dressings.
The health benefits: The polyphenols in olive oil confer many health advantages. One is that they help prevent oxidation of the good fat in the oil, when exposed to heat.
The flipside: Look for really fresh extra virgin quality, as most commercially available olive oils don’t have as much polyphenol content. Olive oil is not suitable for high-temperature cooking, so don’t think of deep frying samosas in this!
#5 Sesame Oil
It is popular in South Asian cooking. Because of it’s medium smoke point, sesame oil is a good option for light sautéing and direct consumption. However, the cold-pressed variety is useful for frying, as it has a higher smoke-point.
The health benefits: Sesame oil is rich in MUFA and PUFA, especially linoleic acid, an Omega-6. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties and is a good source of vitamin E and K.
The flipside: Generally not used for high-temperature cooking, since it imparts a bitter taste.
#6 Canola Oil
It is ideal for frying and baking, and sometimes even used for salads.
The health benefits: It has a high (11%) Omega-3 fatty acids and a good monounsaturated to saturated fat ratio too.
The flipside: Commonly sold varieties are genetically modified to remove the toxic erucic acid, so look for organic versions.
#7 Mustard Oil
It is unique among oils due to its pungent flavour, and is commonly used in North Indian cuisine for frying. Mustard oil is distinctly aromatic too, and imparts a crispy spicy taste to pickles and curries.
The health benefits: It is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Look for the cold-pressed, ‘katchighani’ version.
The flipside: Raw mustard oil is blamed for stomach ailments, and also associated with lung allergies.
#8 Groundnut Oil
It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine and has a sweet nutty flavor to it. Groundnut oil doesn’t break down under high heat, so can be used for all forms of cooking.
The health benefits: It is cholesterol-free, low in saturated fats and a good source of resveratrol.
The flipside: Can cause rashes and swelling in people with peanut allergy.
#9 Rice Bran Oil
It is ideal for deep-frying, since it has a mild flavor that goes well with chips and other foods.
The health benefits: Extracted from the outer layer (bran) of rice, this is rich in MUFAs, that lower bad cholesterol, like some other healthy oils.
The flipside: Digestive problems sometimes result from the high fibre content of rice brain oil. Some even link it to low calcium levels in the body.