Oils are not entirely bad and you can not cut down on oils completely. So, it is essential to be aware of the healthiest oils which are safe to use and do good to your bodies.
Refined Vegetable Oil
These oils are available under various brand names and are supposed to be extremely healthy and cholesterol controlling and many other benefits. But, in a nutshell, all these oils are processed in industrial conditions under high heat and pressure and refined to a lot of extent. Now, I have said again and again that cold processed oils are the best otherwise they lose their nutrients. And, in the industrial environment, the oils undergo a process called hydrogenation.
In this process, hydrogen molecules are added to the unsaturated fatty acids of the oils to convert them to saturated fatty acids. While the oils with saturated fatty acids are healthiest and stablest of the cooking oils, in practice this process of hydrogenation is not taken to its completion. Because of this, the oils are partially hydrogenated. Partially Hydrogenated oils have molecules which are inflammatory in nature and are main reasons for diseases of heart and cause burning sensation in the body.
What is termed as a ‘Healthy Cooking Oil’?
So, now the question is what is healthy? As I said above, saturated fat oils are healthiest as they are stable and generally have a high smoke point. You do not want to have an oil which burns and turns to smoke very soon because frying brings the oil to a very high temperature. And, if the oil reaches its smoke point, the oil loses its nutrients and its chemical bonds undergo changes on its own because of which oil may become entirely unhealthy.
Now, coconut oil has the highest amount of unsaturated fats which is why it is an extremely healthy cooking oil. But, excess consumption of coconut oil in a day leads to high calories in the body. But, coconut oil has a high smoke point because of which it is a good oil. Similarly, safflower oil, pure ghee (made at home and not from animal fat), groundnut oil, mustard oil, rice bran oil and sesame oil are healthy cooking oils.
If you love olive oil to the core, you must be infuriated that how come it has not made it to the list? Well, actually, it does. But, there are certain points regarding olive oil which I wanted to clarify. It is an monounsaturated oil.
Now, I have seen it often and have personally also probably recommended that Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) should be used. But, that is not true. EVOO is actually very delicate oil whose, if subjected to high heat, chemical structure changes rendering the oil useless and unhealthy. So, use EVOO only for salads and cooking at low temperatures. Virgin Olive Oil should be used for cooking at high heat as it is more heat resistant but it is little less nutrient when compared to EVOO. And, Pomace is the grade of olive oil which is actually suitable for Indian Cooking as it’s structure doesn’t get altered with high temperatures.
Which oil do you use? I personally like Sesame and Mustard oil.