Types of cooking oil and the right way to use them

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We all use cooking oil. It is a must item on our grocery list. For frying, baking, sauteing, salad dressing cooking oil is needed. You might be using one type of cooking oil for many years. But do you think you are using the cooking oil in the right way? Which type of cooking oil is considered healthy? Nowadays with a rising health concern, you can see people shifting from one type of cooking oil to another. But are you aware of how to use the cooking oil? Each type of cooking oil has its own smoke point, do you know about this smoke point? What are the healthy fats and unhealthy fats found in cooking oil? Let us see more details in this article.

Cooking oil is extracted in different ways or methods from various sources like nuts, fruits, plants, seeds, etc. Cooking oil is known for its high-fat content. These fats are categorized into healthy and unhealthy fats. Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Unhealthy fat is saturated fat and trans fat. Unsaturated fat is considered healthy as they help improve blood cholesterol levels. They are liquid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats are of two types:

  • Monounsaturated fats: Most commonly found in Peanut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, Any kind of nut oil like hazelnut, pumpkin seed oil, etc.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: Walnut oil, Sunflower oil, flaxseed oil are good sources of polyunsaturated fat. It has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered to be good for the heart in many ways. Lowers triglycerides, Lower the risk of developing heart arrhythmias. Omega-6 fatty acids can help regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of diabetes and also help lower blood pressure.

Saturated fats are considered to be unhealthy types of fat. The lesser you have, the better. Trans-fat is found in food that has been fried with partially hydrogenated oil. Most commonly found in packed or processed food. Cooking oil has both saturated and unsaturated fat. It is better to use oil with more unsaturated fat content than saturated fat content.

Talking about the smoke point of cooking oil, the smoke point is the temperature at which oil begins to smoke and can lose its flavor or can be harmful. The smoke point for refined oil is considered to be higher. Hence it is an ideal option for frying. The cooking oil with lower smoke points is suitable for salad dressing, for preparing hummus, or some kind of spread or dips. For example, olive oil, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, etc. If we do not want to lose the nutritional content, the cooking oil has to be used in the right way. There is a wide variety of options available in cooking oil. Go for the healthy cooking oil.

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Types of cooking oil and the right way to use them

Extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil is one of the oil people are switching to, Mainly due to health concerns. Olive oil is considered to be a healthy fat with more monosaturated fat content in it. Olive oil is an ideal choice for salad dressing or dips. Also, use regular olive for cooking and baking. Overheating of olive can spoil the flavor and also lose its nutrition. Benefits of olive oil:

  •  It works as an anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces heart and diabetes risk
  • Improves your body metabolism

 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is considered to be healthy fat even though is more saturated fat. Coconut oil can be used for high heat cooking due to its high smoke point(Around 175 degrees celsius). Coconut oil can be used for sauteeing, frying, baking, etc. Also, it can be stored for a longer time. There are a lot of questions arising in the recent past years regarding coconut oil, As it is more in saturated fat. Yet there are a number of health benefits with the use of coconut oil.

  • Coconut oil helps boost your body’s metabolism.
  • It might help in curbing appetite.
  • Coconut oil has anti-microbial effects.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is made from avocados. Almost 50 % of avocado oil is monosaturated fats. It is considered to be healthy for the heart. Plus it is a good source of Vitamin E, Anti-inflammatory oxidants, and Omega-9 fatty acids. Avocado oil has a high smoke point (about 271 degrees celsius) which makes it suitable for high heat cooking. Can be used for frying, but the price of avocado oil is on the higher side. So it wouldn’t be your first choice when it comes to frying. You may use the oil for dips, salad dressing, or searing. Benefits of avocado oil:

  • Improves heart health.
  • Has anti-oxidants that are good for your vision.
  • Good for your Skin.

Peanut oil

Peanut oil makes a perfect choice for frying as it doesn’t absorb the flavor of the food. Peanut oil is low in saturated fat. It is made of monounsaturated fat. Peanut oil is good for the heart. Also, Peanut oil has a high smoke point. the oil can be used for sauteing, frying, and grilling. Benefits of peanut oil:

  • May Lower bad cholesterol
  • Helps in controlling the diabetes
  • Good for the heart. As it contains vitamin E, Polyunsaturated fats, and monounsaturated fats.

Sesame oil

Oil derived from sesame seeds. Sesame oil is used as a flavor enhancer in many dishes. It has a high smoke point of about 210 degrees Celcius. The oil can be used for sauteing, Salad dressing, Marinades. Sesame oil contains polyunsaturated fats, anti-oxidants, vitamin E. Benefits of sesame oil:

  • Helps regulate blood sugar.
  • Plays a role in protecting the heart by reducing bad cholesterol.
  • Helps reduce inflammation.

Sunflower oil

The refined sunflower oil can be used as a substitute for any neutral-flavored oil for sauteing, searing, frying, etc. The price is cheaper when compared to any other oil.  Unrefined sunflower has vitamin E in it. It is good when consumed raw or used in Salad dressing. The smoke point of sunflower oil is around 232 degrees celsius. Benefits of sunflower oil:

  • Improves immune system. provides the linoleic acid which is needed in immune response
  • Good for digestion.
  • Improves heart health.

Rice bran oil

Rice bran oil is considered to be a good source of vitamin K and vitamin E. Also contains polyunsaturated fats. Can be used for frying, baking, dressing, soups, etc. The neutral flavor of the oil does not affect the taste of the food. Its smoke point is about 252 degrees celsius. Benefits of rice bran oil:

  • Helps maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Improves insulin resistance.
  • Promotes heart health.

Ghee

Ghee has a high smoke point(250 degrees Celsius), which makes it suitable for frying food. Also can be used for sauteing, baking, etc. The ghee enhances the flavor of food. For those with cardiovascular conditions, obesity or obese ghee is not a good option. But ghee does have a number of health benefits.

  • Can improve your eyesight.
  • Improves intestinal health.
  • Boost’s your immune system.

Hazelnut oil

Hazelnut oil is high in omega-9 and omega 6 fatty acids. You can use hazelnut oil for dressings, dips. It is good when used uncooked. the smoke point is considered to be around 221 degrees celsius. Benefits of using hazelnut oil:

  • Helps the body respond to stress
  • Keeps diastolic blood pressure levels down.
  • Reduces the risk of heart diseases.

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is considered to be cholesterol-free. The unrefined hemp seed oil contains natural anti-oxidants. Also has omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are good for heart health. The hemp seed oil has a lower smoke point (around 165 degrees celsius) when compared to other oils. Not suitable for high-temperature cooking like frying. If used for high-temperature cooking it will lose its nutrients and flavor. You can try adding to weight loss smoothies, sandwich spreads, hummus, etc. Benefits of hemp seed oil:

  • Helps lower blood pressure.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Promotes heart health.

 

Conclusion-Types of cooking oil and the right way to use them.

Each and every oil has it own benefits and potential risks. The cooking oil with a lower smoke point is good to be used for salad dressings, dips, spreads, etc. And the cooking oil with a higher smoke point is suitable for frying. It is okay if coconut oil has been your choice for frying food. But always use it with moderation. Also if you are planning on changing the oil check for the nutritional values while buying it. Go for the ones with more unsaturated fats or good fat than saturated fats.

 

Points to consider

  • Store the cooking oil in darker places or cabinets.
  • Always buy in small quantities to avoid wastage of cooking oil.
  • If the cooking oil smells different than usual discard it. High chances it would have got oxidized or become rancid.
  • Do not re-use or reheat the cooking oil.