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Trivia About Cooking Oils – Choose Wisely!

Health, Recipes

Trivia About Cooking Oils – Choose Wisely!

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trivia about cooking oils

Going to your local supermarket has never been more difficult. As we moved on from confectionary stores to mini malls, choices erupted in terms of where to go and then once you enter these stores you face multitude of choices in terms of food products alone. But the real problem arises when the product you have chosen reflects a negative effect on your health. The most common example is cooking oils which, I know, most of you spend hours wondering if olive oil should be bought or mustard one. So here are a few guidelines for cutting down your problems.Types of cooking oils include:

ghee, olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, pumpkin seed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, argan oil, rice bran oil and other vegetable oils.

The advantages and disadvantages of some commonly used oils are discussed below−

 

OILS ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Walnut
  • 3 times expensive than corn oil.
  • Omega-6 in walnut oil are of different types which play differently on different individuals.
  • Degrades at higher temperatures
Olive oil
  • Reacts with free radicals and forms trans fatty acids.
  • Increases blood clotting
  • Body gains fat if olive oil is overeaten
Linseed
  • Expensive
  • If not stored in cool place it becomes rancid.
Rapeseed
  • Lowest content of saturated fats
  • High content of omega-3
  • Stable at high temperatures
  •  It’s bland flavor makes it unsuitable for salad dressing
Palm
  • Protects from free radical damage
  • High content of saturated fat
  • Easy to digest
  • Cholesterol free
  • Rich in Vitamin E
  •  Palm oil plantation is destroying rainforests
  • Threatens forest people
  • Causes climate change
Avocado
  • Good source of Vitamin- E
  • Nutty flavour makes it good use as dressing
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Does not contain omega 3s
  • Easy to overindulge
  •  Expensive
  • Mild itching
  • High in calorie count
Almond 
  • Used in cold dishes as it is a nut oil
  • Improves skin
  • Good for hair
  • Rich in Vitamin E
  • Heat destroys the flavour
  • Too sticky for full body massage
  • Bad for diabetics and nut allergy patients
Butter
  • Better flavour
  • Used for  baking
  • Rich in Vitamin A
  • Contains Lauric acid
Corn
  • Tasteless and odorless
  • Withstands high temperatures
  • Inexpensive
  • High in calories
  • Corn oil is fat therefore should be consumed in lesser quantities.
Sunflower
  • Contains protective antioxidant Vitamin E
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Suitable for frying
  • Omega 6 needs to be balanced by omega 3s
  • Less healthier than olive oil
  • High in calories
  • Increases blood sugar level
Pumpkin
  • Lower quantity of saturated  fat
  • Stands up to heating

 

  • Expensive
  • Does not contain high levels of other minerals

The usage of the oil for cooking depends upon the level and type of fats present, cost, resistance to high temperatures and liberation of by-products.

  • MONOSATURATED– These oils are healthy for heart and are chemically stable and are used for light cooking and in salads.
  • POLYSATURATED– These are more susceptible to rancidity and are not recommended for cooking.
  • SATURATED– These are chemically stable and are suited for cooking purposes.
  • TRANS-FATS– These increase risk of heart diseases and trans fats are not safe to consume in any amount [1].

From the health and nutrition point of view FDA has recommended that it is better to get your calories from saturated fats (oils) than carbohydrates and even better to get it from saturated fat. But unsaturated fat are still used because of their numerous other benefits.

Another classification of oils occur on the basis of refined and unrefined oils.

  • REFINED OILS are generally obtained after large amount of purification and are suitable for all kinds of cooking.
  • UNREFINED OILS are used for salad dressing and light cooking purposes as they are not stable at high temperatures.

Therefore classification on the basis of usage is done as-

 

COOKING TYPE COOKING METHODS OILS THAT CAN BE USED
High heat cooking (above 450˚F)
  • Deep frying
  • Avocado oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Mustard oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Soybean oil
Medium heat cooking(350-450˚F)
  • Baking
  • Braising
  • Stewing

 

  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Coconut oil
Low heat cooking(225-350˚F)
  • Salad dressing
  • Margarines

 

  • Flax oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Toasted sesame
  • Walnut oil

So next time you shop, select the oils that satiate your requirements and just make a healthy platter for you

References:

[1] Ascherio, Willett WC. Health effects of trans fatty acids. PMID: 9322581

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