Healthy Cooking Oils And Their Benefits
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Basically, there are two types of cooking oils refined and unrefined. What makes them different is the process of extraction. Refined oils go through more extensive procedures before the final products is obtained, whereas unrefined oil undergoes less processing.
Refined oils are obtained by bleaching and deodorizing the oil obtained in the first stage of extraction. It is done to remove the contaminants of the oil. The deodorizing process is done by applying high heat to the oil. This removes the distinctive flavor and odor that oils have. Then chemicals like sodium hydroxide are added to preserve the oil for a long time. Most of the time, chemical solvents are used throughout the process to extract maximum oil from the raw material as possible. Sometimes the oils are partially hydrogenated leaving them with trans-fats.
Unrefined oils are obtained by the process called cold-pressing. The oil is extracted from the raw material by applying pressure and not heat. This retains most of the flavor and nutrients. The pressure is applied by means of mechanical devices. There are no chemicals involved in most of the processing.
Refined oils contain fewer nutrients than unrefined oils because of all chemical processing. Moreover, the former contains trans-fat which has been known to elevate the bad cholesterol levels of the body. With regard to taste and flavor too, unrefined oils are better. Hence, the healthy choice would be to stick to unrefined oils for your kitchen.
Types of healthy cooking oils
- Coconut oil
Unrefined coconut oil has plenty of advantages that make it the right choice for your kitchen. It contains more nutrients than the refined one. Since it doesn’t undergo any kind of processing that involves chemicals, there are no harmful contents in unrefined coconut oil. It is obtained through natural means, making it the healthier choice. Also, it is rich in the natural flavor of fresh coconuts and gives the food a refined taste. The benefits of coconut oil include:
- It is rich in lauric acid, which is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic agent. It helps to protect the body from harmful pathogens.
- It increases your energy expenditure, meaning it can help you burn more calories.
- It has been known to improve good cholesterol levels and lower bad cholesterol helping to maintain a healthy heart.
- Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is a rich source of vitamin E and it contains low saturated fats, making it a healthy cooking oil. It is also rich in phytochemicals which are beneficial for cardiovascular health. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in the oil aid in keeping the heart healthy and lowering the risk of heart attacks. The vitamin E content also helps to prevent asthma and reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. It has also been known to reduce the LDL cholesterol level (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the body. Sunflower oil is rich in antioxidants and thus helps to fight free-radical damage.
- Olive oil
Olive oil is another cooking oil that has been found to have high contents of monounsaturated fats, which are the healthier fats. To have a healthy diet, you need to replace saturated fats and trans-fats with unsaturated fats. It helps to lower cholesterol and helps to maintain health of the heart. These fats also help in normalizing blood clotting. Study has shown that monounsaturated fats may also help in regulating blood sugar levels and insulin of the body, which will help people with diabetes.
- Mustard oil
Mustard oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties which help in killing pathogens that enter your body. Mustard oil can stimulate blood circulation and digestion. Using it to massage various parts of the body will help to stimulate the blood flow around that region. Intake of mustard oil will also aid in maintaining proper digestion. It is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are nutrients highly essential for the health of the body. Mustard oil has also been known to aid in the proper functioning of respiratory system by preventing formation of phlegm.
Stick to healthy unrefined oils for your kitchen and keep your diet healthy. It will help to maintain a healthy heart and a happy body.