There’s a lot of bad press about how certain refined vegetable oils are highly inflammatory in nature and also have high omega-6 content, and can be counted as one of the factors that cause obesity. Most edible oils that we use in our day-to-day cooking go through heavy processing and chemicals are added to increase their shelf life. Picking such oils for cooking is a bad idea, especially while trying to lose weight because some may have high transfat content – and maybe the reason behind that stubborn belly fat. If you have got rid of junk food and have started counting every single calorie, changing your cooking oil as well will be hugely beneficial. In this post, we will list out better and healthier alternatives to your cooking oil. But before that, here are some facts about cooking oil you should absolutely know.
There are three types of fats in a cooking oil – saturated fat, mono saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat.
What is Saturated Fat? It is a fat that is rich in saturated fatty acids, usually solid at room temperature, it is found mainly in products derived from animals. Saturated fat can be found high in the following foods – meat, palm oil, coconut oil, and butter. Saturated fat is believed to raise cholesterol level in the blood, which can cause various diseases including heart-related diseases.
What is Mono-saturated Fat? The easiest way to find out whether it is saturated fat or a mono-saturated fat is by checking the consistency of the oil – a monounsaturated fat is typically liquid at room temperature but it will turn solid when refrigerated. The perfect example of monosaturated oil is olive oil. Mono-saturated fat is the type of fat that we must consume in moderation to live a healthier lifestyle and maintain overall health, as it helps to reduce bad cholesterol levels from the blood and can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke too. It also provide’s enough nutrition to help develop and maintain body’s cells. Oils rich in mono-saturated fats are – olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sesame oil and peanut oil.
What is Polyunsaturated Fat? Polyunsaturated fat is the healthiest of the above-mentioned fatty acids. However consuming polyunsaturated fat in moderation is recommended. Consuming polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can improve health and keep you in better shape. This type of fat can be found in animal foods such as salmon, tuna, trout. nuts like walnuts, seeds like sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.
What is Smoking Point of a Cooking Oil and why It’s Important for Health?
A smoking point of a cooking oil is the temperature up to which the bonds in that particular oil remain stable without reacting with oxygen (oxidizing). Beyond the smoking point, the bonds start to break and the oil starts to produce smoke, fumes, and release free radicals and that’s the reason why some oils like sunflower oil with polysaturated fats that have multiple bonds are not suitable for deep frying. When choosing a oil for cooking, pick one with a high smoking point so that it remains stable without oxidizing and releasing free radicals at high temperatures. Beyond the smoking point, the chemical structure of oil changes and the compounds released can even cause cancer. Deep frying Indian dishes like poori requires temperatures up to 204 degrees Celsius, and it would be prudent to pick oils that have high smoking points. Also, oils with low smoking point lose their nutritional value. Cold pressed or wood pressed higher in antioxidants, and are less processed.
5 Key Things To Consider While Buying Cooking Oils:
1. Fat content – and whether it has saturated, monosaturated or polysaturated properties.
2. Flavour – Rich, nutty, bitter, buttery,
3. Smoke point – The temperature at which an oil starts to give out smoke.
4. Ideal omega ratio – The healthy omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is 1:1, but oils with high omega 6 ratio have been found to trigger inflammation and heighten the risk of diabetes, heart disease, even caner.
5. Nutrient content.
7 Best Cooking Oils For Weight Loss:
1. Extra virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil is considered as one of the healthiest cooking oils in the world. It is believed that people who rely on olive oil live a healthier and longer life – now you know why all Italians love olive oil. Refined olive oil is stripped from important nutrients and antioxidants whereas extra virgin olive oil is nutritious and contains antioxidants making it far more superior than regular olive oil. The antioxidants in olive oil protect the body from free radicals which can cause disease and triggers ageing. Olive oil is mostly made of monounsaturated fat (approximately 73%), making it a heart-healthy oil. According to studies, people who consume olive oil reduce their chances of having a heart disease by a considerable degree. It has been proven that cooking with olive oil can improve the nutritional value of food.
2. Coconut Oil: Coconut contains a unique combination of essential fatty acids and enzymes which help to boost the metabolism and burn away fat. Coconut oil helps to curb your appetite and also prevents the feeling of hunger. Due to the high amount of saturated fats in the coconut oil, you should use this oil sparingly. Coconut oil is widely used in coffee to boost weight loss. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that boost and increase body’s metabolic rate, and helps burn extra fat. The extra calories from coconut oil do not get stored in the body as fat. This makes coconut oil an ideal weight loss cooking oil. Also read – “6 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss.”
3. Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants making it way straight to this list. According to studies, avocado oil can increase HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce bad cholesterol, it’s also beneficial to lower blood pressure. Avocado oil is rich in fatty acids that can help the skin to look firmer and younger for longer. Avocado oil has a smoking point of 270 degrees celsius and has health benefits comparable to olive oil. Avocado oil is rich in saturated fats, especially oleic acid, also has antioxidants, and is great for the heart. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins and suitable for all types of cooking.
4. Sesame oil: Sesame oil has medicinal and cosmetic uses as well. Sesame oil is derived from raw pressed sesame seeds also known as til in Hindi. It has two powerful antioxidants called sesamol and sesaminol that has good effect on overall health. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties which protects the body from various diseases. As sesame oil is rich in unsaturated fat, it’s considered to be a heart-friendly oil. It contains plenty of omega 6 fatty acids which is helpful in preventing various heart diseases. Just like olive oil, sesame oil can be applied topically on skin and hair. It is beneficial to treat scars and acne. It also has moisturising properties and can be used on hair and scalp.
5. Flaxseed oil: If you are a vegetarian, adding flaxseed oil could be beneficial for you. This oil contains omega-3 fatty acids in abundance. If you are not a fish eater, then flaxseed oil may just serve the purpose. You can’t cook with this oil as it is sensitive to heat and oxidizes quickly, but you can use it over salads or over dips like hummus. Tip – Always buy flaxseed oil in smaller quantity and store it in dark place.
6. Grass-fed Ghee: Ghee or clarified butter has rich conjugated linoleic acid and medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) that inhibit storage of fat in the body.
7. Grass-fed Butter: Margarine has been wrongly marketed as a healthier alternative to butter which they say is high in fat content and not good for the heart. However, butter with its high conjugated linoleic acid, boots fat loss.
Bonus Tip: Switch to a Cooking Oil Spray because when you use oil in a spray form, you can cut down excess calories that pile up when you are pouring it from a bottle. Cooking oil adds a lot of calories to the body and it would be prudent to cut down on cooking oil, even if it’s olive oil or coconut oil. That’s why Rati Beauty diet recipes use minimal oil to make tasty dishes.