Cooking Oils: How To Choose The Right One
In India, the oil you use for cooking largely depends upon the part of the country where you live. In Kerala, it’s coconut oil, in Andhra and Tamilnadu it’s groundnut oil, in northern parts it’s sesame oil, while in the eastern states of the country people prefer mustard oil.
However, this scenario has changed drastically in the last couple of decades, as it is widely believed that traditional oils and ghee cause high levels of cholesterol and lead to heart disease, making sunflower oil the most preferred one.
And in the recent years, thanks to the awareness traditional oils and ghee have found their place back in the kitchen shelves.
When it comes to picking up cooking oil you have many choices, but it is important to choose oils which are healthy, balanced and that can stay healthy even after cooking. The stability of the oil greatly determines how good the oil is for cooking at a high temperature and do not go rancid easily.
Refined cooking oils undergo oxidation, it reacts with oxygen to form free radicals, which are harmful for health. Furthermore, different oils have varying amounts of fats - Polyunsaturated, Monounsaturated and Saturated fats.
The daily recommended allowance of oil for normal adult is 15ml or 3 teaspoons per day, which equals to half a litre per month. That’s all about the quantity, now let’s explore about the quality of various oils.
Coconut oil is full of saturated fat, but about 60% of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). This type of fatty acids provides various health benefits. It increases HDL (good cholesterol), improves cognitive function and helps in losing weight. The distinct aroma, flavour and high smoking point of coconut oil makes it ideal for high-heat cooking.
Groundnut oil is a perfect blend of good fats monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and is low in bad saturated fats. A highly preferred choice of oil for all-types of cooking such as deep frying, pan-frying, roasting and even grilling due to its high smoking point and mild flavour.
Mustard oil is loaded with B -complex vitamins, which helps in boosting energy levels and has a high smoking point, that is great for deep frying. However, it contains huge amounts of erucic acids about 48% which has been linked to cardiac issues, so avoid using it as the only source of cooking oil on a daily basis.
It is made from pressed sunflower seeds, which has good amounts of vitamin E and low levels of saturated fat. It is a blend of monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids. With a mild flavour and high smoking point, it’s great for both deep frying and baking and for salad dressing.
However, researchers claim that diabetics should limit the usage of sunflower oil as it may lead to the spike in levels of blood sugar.
Olive oil rich in monosaturated fatty acids that help in boosting your heart health. Extra virgin olive is heaped with a rich array of antioxidants, polyphenol and oleic acid. Smoking point varies depending upon the type of olive oil, extra virgin olive oils have a lowest smoking point and richest flavour. It should not be exposed to heat, but any can be drizzled over food and salads. Refined olive oil is best for sautéing and stir- frying.