Cooking oil is primarily a form of fat sourced from plants, animals or synthetically used in frying, baking and many forms of cooking. There are also other edible oils which are used in their purest form in food that does not involve any high heat cooking, such as salad dressings and dips. Mostly all the cooking oils are liquid at room temperature, the exceptions being coconut and palm oil. There are cooking oils from plant sources like olive oil, canola oil, corn and peanut oil on one end of the spectrum and animal-based oils like butter and lard on the other. Now with such smorgasbord of cooking oil varieties with all of them claiming to be beneficial in one thing or the other, it’s not surprising that confusion is galore. Let us comb through the list of 5 commonly used oils for cooking in India and their most important benefits:
The benefits of olive oil enjoyed in the Mediterranean diet are making its way into the Indian diet.
- The presence of a higher percentage of HDL- good cholesterol compare to LDL-bad cholesterol makes it one of the most sought-after cooking oils.
- Olive oil’s resistance to high heat cooking is another factor which makes it a widely used oil in the Indian kitchens
- The extra virgin olive oil is laced with more nutrients and antioxidants and natural phenolic compound: Oleocanthal which as studies show, prevent beta-amyloid in accumulating, which is believed to be a key factor in Alzheimer’s disease
This oil is most commonly used in Indian cooking due to its resistance to high heat cooking.
- It is made up of 90% of fatty acids which are beneficial for the heart.
- The other favourable benefit of the oil is it’s sustainability over a period of time. Without going rancid, it remains semi-solid even at room temperature.
- The presence of Lauric acid in coconut oil facilitates in lowering the cholesterol and kills the bacteria found in the human body. These fats enable faster metabolism.
This oil is derived from the Canola flower and is considered light in comparison to many other cooking oils.
- It contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 in the ratio of 2:1. Low content of saturated fat makes this one of the healthiest cooking oils.
- The presence of mono-unsaturated fats stimulates healthy lipid profile, as it reduces LDL and increases HDL.
- The omega 3 fatty acid mitigates against heart attacks whereas omega 6 assists in the development of the brain.
A predominately used cooking oil in India which is extracted from mustard seeds and purified through distillation.
- This oil contains rich amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids along with Omega 3 and Omega 6; proven repellents for any heart disease.
- The oil can be used as a natural stimulant to cure digestive issues.
- It is used to cure joint pain, arthritis, and respiratory congestion.
A vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of soybean is an important fixture in Indian cooking.
- The oil is a source of Vitamin A, K, C and E along with minerals such as magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, calcium and copper.
- The presence of omega 3 fatty acids assists in reducing the risk of any cardiovascular diseases.
- The Vitamin E presence in the oil act as an antioxidant which helps in improving the skin’s appearance.
There is a multitude of options in cooking oils and all the above-mentioned cooking oils, come with their share of benefits. Some oils are good for deep frying due to their high smoking point and some can be consumed in their raw form in salads or dressing. Therefore, it is an individual likeability towards an oil and how well the household gets accustomed to it which could prove to be detrimental in choosing the right cooking oil.