The most vital and basic ingredient for any Indian dish is oil. Be it the main course or just the tea time snack, oil is the main ingredient that is required for any meal. Oil not only helps in cooking raw foods better but also adds flavour to the food.
It depends on which oil you are using to cook a dish. Some dishes demand the usage of a certain type of oil for the flavour and essence while others would accept any oil in the making.
Picking the right cooking oil is quintessential because oil contributes to the cholesterol content in the body like other fats. To spare yourself from heart infections, obesity and cholesterol blockages, and other such illnesses.
Let us spill out some of the types of cooking oils that are used in our day to day life and their inherent benefits
As sunflower oil is extracted from the pressed sunflower seeds, this cooking oil is a good source of vitamin E. It is also low in saturated fats which in turn helps in reducing the blood cholesterol level.
Although sunflower oil has a very short shelf life, it has a mild flavour and high smoke point. The organic form or the pure variety of sunflower oil can also be used in different salad dressings.
Health Benefits Of Sunflower Oil
- According to some sources, sunflower oil is believed to have laxative properties which ease digestion.
- Sunflower oil is quite beneficial for oil pulling. It helps in reducing plaque-related gingivitis. This oil exhibits the antibacterial property which is the most common cause of infections in people.
- This oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties as well. When used topically it improves the skin barrier and further enhances skin health. Vitamin E present in the sunflower oil aids the treatment of atopic dermatitis i.e. eczema.
Peanut oil is also called groundnut oil or Arachis oil. It comes in a range of varieties that includes refined, unrefined, roasted and cold-pressed which have just a little different in their nutritional value but are loaded with the same health benefits.
Since peanut oil is naturally known to be free from trans fats, cholesterol and low in saturated fats. It has a high smoke point with a mild flavour which makes it best for cooking that requires plenty of heat like pan-frying, deep-frying, roasting or grilling.
Health Benefits Of Peanut Oil
- Peanut oil helps in controlling the levels of cholesterol as it is cholesterol-free. Cholesterol is one of the major factors contributing to complicated heart conditions such as atherosclerosis.
- Peanut oil boosts heart health as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid which increases the levels of good cholesterol called HDL in the blood. This good cholesterol actually helps to scrape off and reduce bad cholesterol and lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease and strokes to a great extent.
- Peanut is the store-house of phytosterols and in particular beta-sitosterol which is believed to have the ability to protect the body from colon, prostate and breast cancer.
Olive oil is basically the natural oil extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. The monounsaturated fats present in the oil makes it’s quite resistant to high heat making this extra virgin olive oil a healthy choice for cooking. Smoke point basically depends on the type of olive oil used.
This extra virgin oil has the richest flavour. The best use of olive oil is salad dressings and drooling over food and the refined olive oil is considered good for sauteing.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
- It is considered fairly nutritious, apart from its beneficial fatty acids, it contains a modest amount of vitamins E and K.
- It is also loaded with powerful antioxidants which are biologically active and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Olive oil is also effective in reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation is thought to be a leading cause of diseases like cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, arthritis and even obesity.
- Olive oil also reduces the risk of stroke. The relationship between heart diseases and olive oil is being studied explicitly. Stroke is generally caused by a disturbance of blood flow to your brain, either due to a blood clot or bleeding.
- Olive oil has a favourable effect on body weight and often linked with the Mediterranean diet which are rich in it.
When it comes to cooking in the high heat or flame, coconut oil is considered the best. Although it is high in saturated fats however around 60 per cent of the fatty acids found in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides. These are the kind of saturated fatty acids that exhibit various health benefits which include improved cognition and weight management.
It can essentially be used in the place of butter for baking particularly vegan baking. Nevertheless, it has a strong distinct flavour so you need to be very conscious while adding it to any of the cuisines. It generally goes well with the Indian and Thai dishes rather than continental.
At room temperature, this oil is semi-solid and can easily last for months and years without going foul.
Health benefits of coconut oil
- It helps in fat burning and provides your body and brain with the quick required energy.
- Coconut oil is believed to raise the good cholesterol in your blood which in turn is linked to reduced heart disease risk.
- Coconut loaded with coconut oil is a dietary staple for many western people who are bit health conscious.
- The good fats in coconut oil help in boosting metabolism and increase the feeling of fullness compared to other fats thus, a minor step towards reducing obesity.
The sesame plant’s nutritional qualities have led its oil to be dubbed as the “Queen of Oilseeds”. These groups of plants are harvested for their edible seeds. This oil is made from raw, pressed sesame seeds and has culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic use. It basically contains sesamol and sesamol i.e. antioxidants that have powerful effects on health.
This oil has a very distinct flavour and is widely used in Asian cooking. Basically, there are two types of sesame oil where the light sesame oil is good for deep-frying and dark sesame oil is good for stir-frying and in dipping sauces and mostly for salad dressing.
Health Benefits of Sesame Oil:
- It helps in boosting mood as the tyrosine in the sesame oil has been directly linked to serotonin activity in the brain.
- Sesame oils have antioxidants that help to reduce cell damage which is one of the factors that lead to inflammation and disease.
- It has strong anti-inflammatory properties as chronic inflammation can lead to various illnesses. It is used to treat joint inflammation, toothaches, and scrapes.
- Sesame oil is high in unsaturated fats and is good for the heart and it also contains omega-6 fatty acids which are essential for the diet and plays an important role in heart disease prevention.
- Sesame oil helps support healthy blood sugar regulation which is quite important for people with diabetes.
Mustard oil is generated from the process of pressing the seeds of a mustard plant. It is known for being a spicy oil and is also quite popular in the East. It has a high smoking point and excessive heat with a distinctive flavour to it. Owing to its high smoking point it is very good for frying.
It also contains B-Complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin which can help increase energy levels and improve the formation of red blood cells.
Health Benefits of Mustard Oil
- Mustard oil is considered as a powerful antibacterial agent that fights off harmful bacteria.
- This oil decreases inflammation and has great anti-inflammatory properties.
- It helps in soothing aches and pains and treat arthritis conditions.
- It helps in treating high-level inflammation chest conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Mustard oil is widely used to relieve chronic body pain as it works against certain pain receptors in the body.
Linseed oil is basically extracted from flax seeds which are known for many health benefits. This includes a hearty dose of protein, fibre, reduce appetite and aid in weight control. Coming to their nutrient profile, it’s no wonder that linseed oil is also jam-packed with similar health benefits. Flax seeds are generally grounded and pressed to release their natural oil.
This healthy oil has a wide variety of uses ranging from cooking to skin-care and has a low smoke point. Rather than heating the oil, it can be used to drizzle over the prepared food or dressing salad.
Health Benefits of Linseed Oil
- Owing to the omega 3 concentration in the linseed oil, it helps in lowering the inflammation, improved heart conditions and protection of the brain against ageing.
- If you don’t take fish oil or serve the fatty fish in the diet, linseed oil may be a good solution to help supplement your diet.
- Several studies are being done where it seems linseed oil reduces the growth of breast cancer cells.
- It improves the elasticity of the arteries wherein both ageing and increased blood pressure are generally linked to a decrease in elasticity.
- It is effective in treating both constipation and diarrhoea thus act as a laxative to promote regularity.
Fish oil is basically the fat or oil that is extracted from fish tissue and is one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements. Most of the fish oil comes the oily fish like herring, tuna, anchovies and mackerel. It may also be produced from the livers of other fish as in the case of cod liver oil. This oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are very important for your health.
One of the best fish oil is cod liver oil as it is rich in vitamin D3 which most people are deficient in. owing to its high concentration of polyunsaturated fats it should be used as supplements only which easily can satisfy the daily needs of this very important fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Fish Oil
- It helps in controlling cholesterol levels by increasing the good cholesterol in our body.
- It helps in lowering the triglycerides by about 15 to 30 per cent.
- It helps in regulating blood pressure to a great extent among people with high blood pressure. Even a small dose of it is enough to treat blood pressure.
- Fish oil is also believed to prevent plaques that cause hardening of the arteries.
- It considered quite helpful in reducing fatal arrhythmia events. In other words, it is abnormal heart rhythms that are responsible for causing heart attacks in certain cases.
So what is the best oil to cook with. That is really hard to say after we know the benefits of each of these oils. It all depends on the type of cooking you’re doing. Olive oil is undoubtedly the best oil of all but then not many Indian dishes can be cooked with it.
It is important to consider the smoking point of the oil as once this limit is crossed, the oil is open to the free radicals and it harms the flavour of your dish. Especially when your antioxidant intake is low, it is very important to consider this smoking point and cook carefully.
Each oil is classified depending on which kind of fatty acid it contains. For instance, olive oil is usually considered because of the monounsaturated fat content in it, peanut and sunflower oils are also known for low saturated fat content and so is Sesame oil. On the other hand, Coconut oil dominatingly contains saturated fat.