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10 Best and Worst Oils for Your Health
The market in recent times bombards us with so many options that it gets so difficult to even pick the right oil for cooking at home. All the products are endorsed so smartly that it becomes difficult for us "buyers" to decide on what is good for health and what can be bad.
Choosing the Right Oil
We have plenty of options to choose from and decide what type of oil to use for different kinds of food. Oils that are not refined and over-processed are of good quality. Cooking your meals with oil is good for your overall health despite many people still believing fats are linked to obesity and other health complications.
Our body requires a certain amount of fat-soluble nutrients along with beta-carotene to function properly. Fats also help in providing that feeling of fullness after a meal. Use healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat to reduce the risk of health problems.
Factors to Consider While Choosing an Oil
There are two factors to consider while choosing a healthy oil −
Saturated fat content − t is recommended to limit saturated fat to less than 10% of daily calorie intake.
Smoke point − The temperature at which an oil starts to burn and break down. This is when it changes the flavor and the degradation of nutrients in oil that releases harmful compounds.
10 Best Oils for Your Overall Health
While every oil comes with a certain amount of goodness, one must be cautious about oils that can have a harmful impact on health. In this section, we bring to you information about some common oils that we make use of in our daily life.
It is the basic ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. Olive oil is used on salads, pasta, and bread. Virgin olive oils are extracted without the use of any chemicals and the term extra virgin is for olive oil of the highest grade.
Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Some types of extra-virgin olive oil consist of a natural anti-inflammatory compound known as oleocanthal. Also, extra-virgin olive oil contains more amount of healthy fats as compared to other kinds of oils. Virgin olive oil also works great on HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Canola oil contains less amount of saturated fat and is high in monounsaturated fat. It also contains high levels of polyunsaturated fat. Canola oil has a high smoke point and so it is better for cooking at high heat. It doesn’t have a significant flavour as some other vegetable oil so it's not used for dressing as salad and other foods.
It is also known as linseed oil. This variety of oil is obtained from flaxseeds. It is a great source of alpha-linolenic acid - a form of omega-3 fatty acids. This oil also helps in reducing symptoms of arthritis. Also, flaxseed oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for health as they lower risks of heart disease, and stroke. It is recommended not to heat flaxseed oil, as it can disrupt the fatty acid content.
You can use it in cold dishes like smoothies and salads.
Avocado oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. It has excellent nutritional value at both low and high temperatures. Also, Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so it is better for high-heat cooking food. Avocado oil’s natural neutral flavor also does wonders for baking.
Walnut oil is a good choice and source of omega-3 fatty acids, primarily alpha-linolenic acid. It is not refined and has a very low smoke point, so it should not be used for cooking. Walnut oil has a rich flavor and is used as salad dressings and as a flavor adding oil to enhance a dish's taste.
Sesame is widely used in Asian and majorly, Indian cooking. It is a healthy cooking oil that is good for the heart.
The oil carries polyunsaturated fat. Sesame oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping in lowering the chances of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis (the accumulation of fat and other substances in the walls of the artery that causes the vessels to become narrow and increases blood pressure).
Grapeseed oil is low in saturated fat and has a high smoke point, which makes it a healthy choice for all kinds of cooking. Its flavor is used in salad dressing or on roasted veggies. Grapeseed oil contains omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also contains Vitamin E and acts as an antioxidant to fight free radicals and boosts the immune system.
Sunflower oil is also high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fat. Few studies reveal that the use of sunflower oil rather than an oil high in saturated fat could lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Sunflower oil is also an excellent source of vitamin E.
Peanut has the highest monounsaturated fat content among other oils. Its flavor has a nutty taste. The oil emanates a nutty aroma and cooks well at high heat.
The smoke point for safflower oil is high. This oil is made from safflower seeds. It’s low in saturated fat and contains higher amounts of unsaturated fatty acid.
Safflower oil improves inflammation, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol among postmenopausal women with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
There are also some oils deemed controversial to be used in cooking. Pay close attention to what oil you choose to use for cooking and consider avoiding the following oils −
Partly hydrogenated oil
Rice bran oil
Vegan Butter Substitutes
These oils may have a negative impact on our overall health.
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