If you prefer cooking at home, you have definitely given some thought to what kind of oil would best suit you and your family. Whether you want to fry, sauté, or just drizzle, research proves that some oils are healthier than others and using the right oils for different types of cooking can benefit your health in more ways than one.
You would want to choose an oil that is tasty, healthy, and doesn’t damage the food nutrients by being exposed to heat. We have researched a bunch of popular cooking oils which will help you decide.
Olive Oil - Olive Oil has gained a lot of popularity in the past few decades. Originally a staple in Mediterranean Diet, it is now an oil that is used worldwide. Olive oil comes in three forms - light olive oil, pure olive oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Light olive oil is the lowest quality of olive oil which is made by using chemicals and heat to remove all the impurities. Pure olive oil is a blend of processed olive oil along with extra virgin olive oil. This is usually used in baking where a strong olive flavour is not wanted. Not too expensive and comparatively healthier than most, owing to its low smoking point, Pure Olive Oil is best used as a dressing or to sauté vegetables on a low to medium heat.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) - Using the first cold pressing of olives and pits, EVOO is formulated using no heat. Virgin olive oil is the oil produced from the second pressing of olives. Virgin olive oil has a lighter flavour and colour than EVOO. EVOO has a low smoking point and hence is suitable to cook foods that do not involve heat like salad dressings and bread dips. As it contains a high amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, it is linked directly to a healthy heart.
Avocado Oil - Just like EVOO, this oil is unrefined and a popular choice for cooking at low to medium temperatures. Made from the actual avocado pulp, the extracted oil has a creamy taste and contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in desirable quantities. Avocado Oil is also enriched with Vitamin E, which directly benefits your skin and supports a healthy scalp. Despite a high smoking point, avocado oil is best suited for salad dressings or drizzle some oil over grilled veggies.
Coconut Oil - Depending on whether the taste suits you or not, you can either love this oil or absolutely abhor it. It has a slightly sweet coconut flavor and is used extensively in South India. Coconut oil is rich in iron, Vitamin E and K. Having a higher smoke point, it can tolerate extreme heat during cooking. The only disadvantage is its high content of saturated fats, which is a major reason why it is not recommended to be used in everyday cooking.
Sunflower Oil - This oil is high in Vitamin E, comes with a high smoking point and little to no aroma. It was widely used due in India but has lost its popularity due to the presence of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. If consumed without a balanced intake of omega-3, this oil can prove to be harmful to the body. Generally speaking, consume it regularly only if you have a diet full of fish, spinach, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
Walnut Oil - It is an unrefined oil extracted directly from walnuts and has a low smoking point. Naturally, you cannot use it for cooking or heating, but it is great in many other ways. Mostly used along with a neutral-flavoured oil like olive oil as a salad dressing or to drizzle over pancakes, walnut oil has a good balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This keeps the inflammation in check and also gives a rich, walnut-ty flavor to the food.
You could make a sample meal plan using different types of oils for different meals. Try the Zoodles Breakfast Bowl in the morning, Baked Chicken Tender for lunch and Crunchy Asian Salad for snacks.
Every oil has its pros, some more than others. But the best way to stay healthy is by using a variety of oils in various cooking processes instead of sticking to just one. Relish the benefits of each of them and complement your diet with a good amount of exercise to enjoy a balanced lifestyle.