Confused about which oil to use? Read this before you decide

How much oil should be consumed in a day? What is the healthiest oil to fry? How about as a salad dressing? Do you often ask yourself these questions? With the markets offering so many options, choosing the right oil for the right purpose has become a tricky business. Well let us help you.

Although coconut oil is still the preferred cooking oil in Kerala, people are also open to trying other oils. While some are hesitant to choose olive oil or canola oil for frying, others are unsure about peanut oil or sesame oil. There are also conflicting reports about the health benefits of these oils. In addition, brand ads lure consumers with enticing promises of low cholesterol and high amounts of heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids. The low fat/low carb diet has been all the rage these days. Fats are essential for the human body as they provide the calories that are required for a day and also provide nutrients.

As you use oils, watch for the changes that happen to them when they are heated. Color, nutrient quality, and odor change when oils are heated. When the oil reaches the smoke point, many nutrients are lost and many components are produced that are harmful to the body. In addition, the amount of fats contained in each oil is also different.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil was believed to cause serious health problems. However, recent studies show that consuming coconut oil is healthy. It is packed with saturated fatty acids and vitamins E and K. Additionally, coconut oil can be heated to high temperatures without causing ill effects.

The power of virgin coconut oil.

Representative image: IANS

Olive oil

This is a fairly recent entrant into our pantries. Olive oil is often used as a salad dressing or light stir-fry without heating it too much. It cannot be used for frying as too much heat would change its taste and flavor.

Photo: Shutterstock/Marian Weyo

mustard oil

It is not popular in Kerala due to its strong taste and smell. Mustard oil is mainly used in North India and Bengal. The strong odor could be reduced by heating it to smoking point. Although mustard oil has a strong smell, it is known for its incredible health benefits. In addition to omega 3 fatty acids, mustard oil contains many monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial to health.

Sesame oil

It is one of the best oils available on the market. Sesame oil can be used as a salad dressing or for frying or sautéing. It also contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and vitamin B6.

Peanut oil

It is a storehouse of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Peanut oil is great for cooking as it is low in “bad” fats.

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Italian Cuisine: Hands putting small battered fish (anchovies, sardines, small cod) to fry in olive oil in a frying pan.

Canola oil

It is a new entrant in the market. Canola oil is one of the healthiest oils as it contains fewer bad fats. In addition, it contains a large amount of monounsaturated omega 3 fatty acids.

Sunflower oil

It is loaded with vitamin E. In addition, sunflower oil contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is excellent for frying as the nutrients would be lost even if heated to a high temperature.

Photo: Shutterstock/rustamank

bran oil

The oryzanol in bran oil can lower cholesterol. It contains a large amount of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in medium quantity.

ghee

It is considered the most dangerous. However, ghee can be consumed in small quantities. The saturated fat in ghee lowers glucose levels and removes fat that has been deposited in the body.

Olive oil is better for cooking eggs and pasta. It can also be used as a delicious salad dressing. Meanwhile, sunflower oil could be used for frying food. Try cooking Chinese and Thai dishes with sesame oil. Meanwhile, bran oil and canola oil could be used for traditional dishes. Nutritionists say that a healthy person does not need more than 2 tablespoons of oil per day. 20% saturated (ghee, coconut oil), 30% polyunsaturated (soybean, peanut, bran oil), and 50% monounsaturated (olive, canola, and sunflower oil) is the correct ratio in which various oils can be included in your kitchen. Oils from cashews and other oilseeds could also be used.

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