Supermarkets today are flooded with several brands and varieties of cooking oils.All oils have different characteristics like nutritional properties,smoking point and culinary uses.Irrespective of your preference,it is always advisable to choose liquid fat over solid fats like butter and margarine.
- Saturated Fats-These fats increase the levels of total cholesterol and LDL which is the bad cholesterol.This allows fat to be deposited on the walls of the blood vessels thereby causing blood clots ,heart diseases and possibly type 2 diabetes.
- Unsaturated Fats-These fats are considered to be heart friendly.they are of two types.
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA)
- Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA)
Both are healthy fatty acids and lower the total cholesterol and the bad cholesterol too.
The Good and Bad Fats
- Monounsaturated Fats-These oils are usually liquid at room temperature.They lower total cholesterol and LDL(Bad cholesterol)and increase HDL(good cholesterol).
- Polyunsaturated Fats-These oils are also in liquid form at room temperatures.Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group.This also helps to lower LDL and total cholesterol.They are very healthy in their natural form but once heated they create trans fatty-acids which are toxic.
- Saturated fats-When consumed in excess it increases the total cholesterol as well as the LDL.
- Trans Fats-They increase the bad cholesterol that is LDL and lower HDL or the good cholesterol.
Healthy Cooking Oils
- Olive Oil-It contains antioxidants which can help lower LDL.It contains monounsaturated fats.Research has shown that consuming 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases and blood clots.
- Coconut Oil-Though coconut oil has saturated fats but it is different from the ones present in animal fats.This oil can be used safely for cooking purpose.
- Sunflower Oil-It is rich in PUFA and also contains lenoleic acid that helps to reduce LDL a well as HDL levels.
- Canola Oil- It is considered to be the healthiest oil.It contains high unsaturated fats and very little saturated fats.
- Sesame(Gingelly)Oil-This oil is rich in antioxidants and also has antidepressant properties.It contains vitamin E and also copper,calcium,iron and magnesium.This oil helps to regulate the blood pressure in the body.It also has a very long shelf life.
- Groundnut Oil-It contains MUFA which lowers LDL or bad cholesterol.It is suitable for all types of cooking.
- Soyabean Oil-This oil contains PUFA and lenoleic as well as alpha-lenoleic acid.Soyabean oil should not be used for frying as the PUFA gets oxidized and becomes toxic.
- Mustard Oil-Known for its sharp flavour and pungent smell,it caotains both MUFA and PUFA.This oil also contains a fatty acid known as erucic acid which can be harmful to health if the oil is used in excess.
- Rice Bran Oil-The oil extracted from rice bran has many nutritional benefits.It contains traces of oryzanol which lowers the cholesterol levels.This oil is rich in MUFA and also contains Vitamin E which is a source of antioxidant.
Unhealthy Cooking Oils
- Ghee(Clarified butter)
Tips to Reuse Oil Safely
- Try to avoid reusing of oils.If you want to reuse,make sure the finish the oil the same day as reusing can cause formation of polymers and food residue in oil can make it carcinogenic.
- Do not mix different types of oils while cooking.
- Oil that has been heated for a long time must not be used for cooking again.
- Use a filter paper or a muslin cloth to strain the used oil.