Best Cooking Oils for Healthy Living

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In this article, you will learn which are the best cooking oils for heart health, how the smoke point of oils can impact its benefits and the best cooking oils for frying.

The oil used for cooking oil can either make or break the recipe. In addition to that, cooking oils used for different recipes also impact your heart health. So in other words, the cooking oil you use is like fuel used by engines.

The usage of different types of cooking oils used depends on which geographical location you belong to and the availability of oils in that area. Let’s look at some of the countries which use cooking oil according to the region and climatic condition.

Cooking oil used in the UK and Europe

Let’s talk about Europe; the oils used for cooking are peanut oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and Rapeseed oil.

Studies also suggest that mustard oil will soon replace rapeseed oil.

Countries like Italy use olive oil more often. But the Italians do not cook food in olive oil; instead, they use it for their sauces; salad dressing. It is also known as extra virgin olive oil.

Italians also cook their food in peanut oil and sunflower oil.

But if we ponder on this topic, “which is the best cooking oil for healthy living,” the above ones are still in use in spite of their flaws.

The only thing that matters is the fact that the quantity of omega 6 should not be higher than omega 3.

So any cooking oil which is less refined, filtered, and cold-pressed are the good ones and can be the best cooking oil.

Cooking Oils Used in China

Most of the Chinese cooks generally use oils with a high smoke point like peanut oil, vegetable oil or soybean oil. They also use sesame oil after cooking just like a seasoning, as sesame oil has a low smoke temperature.

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Cooking Oils used in India

In India, people use oils like sunflower oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, and ghee.

Ghee is now also known as clarified butter makes an excellent source of healthy fats. It can be a better alternative to butter for your dietary needs.

As per a study, refined oils, particularly high in PUFAs, degrade easily and therefore, should be avoided for frying. However, oils high in saturated fats (like ghee/coconut oil) can be used for Indian cooking, as they are comparatively stable during frying.

It also depends on which state of India a person belongs to. In most of the southern part of India, like the state of Kerala, everybody cooks their food in coconut oil.

Coconut oil syncs with the climatic condition this state has which is tropical and humid. Most of the population living in Kerala use coconut oil for cooking.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil provides excellent health benefits with healthy fats.
  • It contains MCT (medium-chain triglycerides), which helps in maintaining the ideal body weight. Keeps the skin glowing.
  • The application of coconut oil on your scalp strengthens your hair and can make your hair look shiny and vibrant.

Apart from cooking, some of the oils used are for lighting up lamps. A tradition followed in Hinduism, and one of the oils for such purpose is sesame oil. Its usage has some auspicious reasons.

Usage of mustard oil is also abundant in states like Bengal, Orissa.

Mustard oil has a moisturizing effect on the body, usually applied before taking a bath. It helps to avoid skin dryness and helps with skin glow.

Cooking Oils You Must Avoid

Cooking oils which are high on omega 6 are the ones to discard. Though some places, people still use them for cooking for reasons like taste, aroma. Here are some of them:

  1. Soyabean oil
  2. Canola oil
  3. Rice bran oil
  4. Cottonseed oil
  5. Corn oil

Smoke Point of Oils

The smoke point for oil is known as the burning point. It is the temperature at which the oil begins to burn with a cloud of visible smoke.

The higher smoke point of oils is always beneficial for cooking.

If the cooking oil heated beyond its smoke point, then it generates toxic fumes and free radicals. These free radicals can impair the body’s natural immune system.

Hence high smoke point oils are the best. A higher smoke point is a crucial factor when it comes to the authenticity of these oils.

Examples for high smoke point oils are butter, ghee, coconut oil.

5 Healthiest Cooking Oil For Good Health

best cooking oil for heart health

1. Coconut Oil

Although coconut oil is boasted to be one of the cooking oils for heart health, it is not backed by science.

But coconut oil helps to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol when consumed regularly. It is also claimed to be one of the best cooking oils for digestion and helping in immunity.

Coconut oil also aids patients with Alzheimer’s disease by improving brain function. It is one of the best cooking oil for frying. As per the 2009 animal study, MCTs present in coconut oil may help preserve insulin sensitivity.

Another study states that some elements in coconut oil may help protect the liver.

Amongst the healthiest cooking oils, coconut oil, ghee, and butter are the best. They are useful because of their high smoke point and healthy fats in them. Choosing cooking oil based on the region you belong to is the best idea.

As per science, our body’s more receptive to the oil which we have been consuming from childhood.

2. Filtered Oils

Filtered oils are better than the refined ones since the filtered ones treated in low temp. This way, they maintain all their essential vitamins and minerals.

But it is hard to get filtered oils in the market since the refined oils have a significant share in the market. From a wellness point of view, filtered oil is the best for cooking and for the heart.

For example, you can use filtered sunflower oil instead of refined sunflower oil. The same goes for oils like mustard oil, peanut oil, etc.

3. Cold Pressed Oils

Cold-pressed oils are also a good option. They are edible and provide many health benefits. These cold-pressed oils maintain their aroma, flavor. They also work as the best cooking oil for frying.

They are excellent in supplying nutrients as they get treated under low temperatures.

Cold-pressed canola oil helps to lower bad cholesterol and hence considered as one of the best cooking oils for heart health.

4. Ghee

Ghee has become the most searched form of oil on the internet now. From a health perspective, the benefits of ghee are tremendous.

People are getting attracted to it and using it for cooking. Ghee works as the best replacement for cooking oil for frying.

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil is the primary ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, which is proven to be one of the healthiest diet forms next to the keto diet. We can consume it by drizzling on dishes like pasta, salads, and bread. Olive oil is the best cooking oil for heart health.

But Olive oil has a low smoke point which means it cannot be used for deep frying and is harmful to health on frying.

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Best Cooking Oil for Frying

• Again, the best oil for frying would be coconut oil, peanut oil, ghee. The smoke points are high. They are low on saturated fat and high on MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids).

For other purposes like shallow fry coconut oil, sunflower oil and butter can be a good idea.

• We should avoid foods which have been deep-fried in restaurants, hotel joints. Most of these eating places reuse the oil for frying and are detrimental.

But at home, deep frying is completely safe because we use fresh oil and use it only once for frying.

• Moreover, we are aware of what kind of oil we are using at home. We will make sure that it is the best oils like peanut oil, sunflower oil, ghee, or coconut oil.

The essential part with regards to the oil used for deep frying is they should have a high smoke point. The oil should have saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids in them.

• The oil used for deep frying should only get used once. Reusing the same oil again, as mentioned above, is not healthy.

Ghee or coconut oil is the only exception here. They both are safe to reuse the reason for being a high smoke point, but if avoided altogether, then it is beneficial.

Conclusion

Before choosing any cooking oil, it is always good to prepare, taste and see how you feel when you consume your food in a particular oil.  Do you feel satiated? Or you experience some discomfort. The stomach is the best judge to tell you if something you have consumed is edible or not.

Also choosing oil as per one’s region is the best way possible. The body is familiar to it, and there will not be any issue with regards to absorption and assimilation.

Your thoughts,

Which cooking oil do you use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Shekhar Bali works in the health and wellness domain for the past ten years. Currently working as a freelance wellness coach, he helps his clients with their fitness goals by improving their lifestyle and enhancing their self-esteem. Shekhar loves to educate people about health and wellness by writing articles as it gives him an outlet to share his thoughts on the subject.