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General Information about Healthy Cooking Oils

December 3, 2020

Here’s an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more better-for-you, less saturated fats:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Safflower
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower

Blends or combinations of these oils, often sold under the name vegetable oil, and cooking sprays made from these oils are also good choices. Some specialty oils like avocado, grapeseed, rice bran and sesame, can be healthy choices but may cost a bit more or be harder to find.

1. Oil:

Sunflower Oil

Source:    

Sunflower seeds

Nutritional Importance:

Sunflower oil is a mixture of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs, PUFAs). It has a high smoking point, which means that sunflower oil holds onto its nutritional content at higher temperatures.

Contraindications:

People with diabetes may need to be careful about sunflower oil as it could lead to augmented sugar levels.

2.Oil:

Coconut Oil

Source:

Coconut

Nutritional Importance:

Tends to raise HDL (good) cholesterol and behaves very well at high temperatures.

Contraindications:

Studies suggest that diets high in coconut oil do raise total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

3.Oil:

Groundnut Oil

Source:

Groundnuts

Nutritional Importance:

It is a healthy combination of fats, containing MUFAs and PUFAs. It is low in bad saturated fats. It is a good all-purpose oil for cooking.

4.Oil:

Olive Oil / Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Source:

Olives

Nutritional Importance:

It is rich in MUFAs, which help lower the risk of heart disease and breast cancer. It is full of antioxidants as well as polyphenols, that are both considered good for heart health.

Contraindications:

It is typically expensive.

5.Oil:

Rice Bran Oil

Source:

Outer layer of the rice grain

Nutritional Importance:

Apparently, rice bran oil contains a chemical called oryzanol, which is good for cholesterol. It is high in MUFAs and has a fair amount of PUFAs too. Since it has a high smoking point, it works well for deep frying.

Contraindications:

Its taste may not blend with traditional Indian cooking.

6.Oil:

Avocado Oil

Source:

Avocado fruit

Nutritional Importance:

It is very high in vitamin E and is relatively stable while exposed to high temperatures. It works as a good skin moisturiser.

Contraindications:

It is expensive and not easily available.

How to Take Care of Your Cooking Oils

To make sure that your fats and oils don’t go rancid, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

  • Don’t buy large batches of oil at a time
  • Buy smaller units; that way, you will most likely use them before they become damaged
  • When it comes to unsaturated fats like olive, palm, avocado oil and some others, it is important to keep them in an environment where they are less likely to oxidise and become stale
  • The main drivers behind oxidative damage of cooking oils are heat, oxygen and light
  • Keep your oils in a cool, dry, dark place and make sure to screw the lids on as soon as you’re done using them
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