What kind of edible oil is best to our health? First of all, we should know that each type of oil has its own characteristic that is suited for different applications. All cooking oils are a combination of saturated, unsaturated fats. Before getting to cooking oil application, below information will help us get into a basic understanding of fats.
There are two types of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated oils are normally found in palm, rice bran, canola, peanuts and olive oil. It is believed that this type raises the level of good cholesterol in blood while reducing bad cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated type is found in soya, corn, sunflower oil. This type of oil is essential for the building of hormones and cell wall structures. It is associated with low cholesterol levels in blood
Saturated fats are found in animal products, red meat, coconut oil, palm kernels oil, margarine and hard butter. They can be converted into cholesterol by the liver. Saturated fat will elevate blood cholesterol levels and is associated with increased rates of heart disease and stroke.
Palm – As all-purpose oil, it is the largest natural source of tocotrienol, part of the vitamin E family. Palm oil is also high in vitamin K and dietary magnesium. Tocotrienols in Vitamin E have been found to have many beneficial properties, such as antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. Probably the most important finding in recent research on tocotrienol was its role in inhibiting human breast cancer cells. Tocotrienols have also been demonstrated to lower blood cholesterol levels, by reacting with certain enzymes in the liver which produces cholesterol. Its antioxidant properties bring many benefits to the human body, such as preventing skin aging, preventing fat oxidation, reducing blood pressure and many more. Palm oil can be used as pan-frying, sauteing and baking oil, but, with very high stability compared to other types of cooking oil, it is highly recommended for deep-frying purpose. Moreover, it helps to make fried food specially crispy.
Corn – Made from the germ of the corn kernel, corn oil is almost tasteless and is high in polyunsaturated fat (62%). It is used to make margarine, salad dressings and mayonnaise. With a smoke point of 450°F, it is excellent for pan-frying and deep-frying because it can withstand high temperatures without smoking.
Soya – Highly refined soybean oil is mild, versatile and it represents big consumption of all the cooking oils used in commercial food production in the USA and Europe. With a smoke point of 450°F, soybean oil is a good, all-purpose oil used for pan-frying, stir-frying and baking.
Olive – Olive oil is a monounsaturated oil extracted from tree-ripened olives. The color may range from light amber to green with flavors that range from bland to extremely strong. Olive oil is graded according to its degree of acidity and the process used to extract the oil. Oil labeled “virgin” is cold pressed (a process using no heat or chemicals) and contains low levels of acidity. It provides the body with vitamins E and F. Oil labeled “pure” uses heat and chemicals to process olive residue from subsequent pressings. Unrefined olive oil has a smoke point of 320°F and is recommended for baking, sauteing, stir-frying.
Sunflower – Made from sunflower seeds, sunflower oil is pale yellow in color, has a bland flavor and is considered a good, all-purpose oil. It is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fat. Semirefined sunflower oil has a smoke point of 450°F and is excellent for sauteing, preparing salad dressings and pan-frying.