How we cook the food we eat can be just as important as which foods we choose to improve health. With so many oils and butter products claiming to be the best, it can be quite difficult to know which ones to use and which ones to avoid.
Here is a comparison of cooking oils and their benefits to your health so that you can decide which is the best cooking oil to use in different circumstances.
1. Canola Oil
Canola oil is a popular oil, with many physicians claiming that it has the ability to lower the risk of heart disease. The oil is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, and offers the best fatty acid composition when compared to other oils.
You can use canola oil in sauting, as a marinade and even in low temperature stir frying. It has a bland flavor, which makes it a great choice for foods that contain many spices. Unlike other oils, this one won’t interfere with the taste of your meal.
However, according to alternative health expert, Joseph Mercola, polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of all the double bonds they have.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil offers a very distinct flavor with plenty of heart healthy ingredients. This oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of cancer. It’s also rich in antioxidants and has a very long storage life.
Even though it can be used in cooking, it’s healthiest when uncooked, such as with a salad or dipping sauce. When you use it with cooking, you should heat it on low to medium temperatures, making sure to avoid high heat as it is easily oxidised.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a popular cooking oil in coastal areas of India, like Kerala. According to Joseph Mercola, who endorses coconut oil as the best choice, the unique health benefits of coconut oil are directly related to its chemical structure, or more precisely, the length of its fatty acid chains.
Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of these healthy MCFAs.
One of the best benefits of coconut oil lies in its ability to help stimulate your metabolism. Many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing LCFAs with MCFAs results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.
4. Groundnut (Peanut) Oil
Groundnut oil has a high smoke point so it is an excellent choice for sautéing and frying. It is also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which makes it a healthy oil to use for cooking or as a base for dressings.
It is considered to be the finest all-round oil for cooking and frying because it lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in our body without lowering the levels of good cholesterol. It is high in Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) that helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improves HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood. (Source)
Butter is one food that has been around for many, many years. Butter tastes good, and offers sources of Vitamin A and other fat soluble vitamins such as E, K, and even D. The main problem with butter is that it has a high-content of artery-clogging saturated fats.
The advantage of butter is that it is made from natural ingredients and not chemically or artificially processed. You can use butter with cooking, baking, or even as a spread. You can also pair it with creamy sauces, marinades, baked dishes, or bread.
Margarine was first introduced as an alternative to high fat butter. When it was first created however, it was loaded with trans fat, a substance that we now know raises bad cholesterol.
As a cooking oil, margarine tastes good, it’s lower in fat than most oils and butter, and it’s quite easy to spread. It’s available in a variety of different products and is a good source of vitamin E.
Most experts recommend using peanut oil for high temperature cooking, canola oil or olive oil for medium temperature cooking, and a variety of polyunsaturated oils for baked goods. (Source)
When it comes to cooking with oils, there are several at your disposal. There are many more than what are mentioned here, although the ones above are the most popular. Eating healthy involves cooking healthy food – which is where your cooking oil really takes center stage.
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