What are the healthiest oils for cooking?

Cooking oils are the daily essentials in Indian kitchens. Besides traditional oils like groundnut oil, coconut oil, sesame oil & mustard oil, we also hear about the new ones like olive oil and rice bran oil. Then there are also the new entrants- cold pressed or wood pressed cooking oils. So which ones are the best?

According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, the best oils are the ones that have been consumed locally since ages. So if you are in India, the traditional Indian oils are the best for your health.

What’s the difference in between cold pressed oils and refined oils?

Cold pressed oils are obtained by physical pressing of the seeds, fruits & nuts and forcing the oil out. This is the same as the traditional process (lakdi ghana) that has been used by our forefathers to extract oils.

Refined oils are the oils that are extracted through the use of solvents and through bleaching and deodorizing processes.

One should prefer cold pressed oils over refined ones. This is because the cold press process ensures that only the best quality seeds, fruits & nuts are used for extraction as these oils retain the original aroma and taste.

Refined oils, on the other hand, not only lose the aroma and taste, but also many of the vitamins & nutrients. The refinement processes make the oils last longer at the shelves of the supermarkets as nutrients with lower shelf lives are simply removed.

Check out this video where Rujuta Diwekar answers your questions about the right cooking oil to use-

But can you use cold pressed oils for deep frying?

Certain fatty acids present in cold pressed oils get oxidized at high temperatures and turn into free radicals that are harmful. The oxidation happens at a temperature called the ‘smoke point’ of the oil.

The cold pressed oils have lower smoke point than the refined ones. Hence, for deep frying purposes, one must exercise caution whileusingcold pressed oils.

Among the locally available oils, sunflower oil and safflower oil are not the right choices for deep frying. Instead, one can prefer groundnut oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and coconut oil. Once used for deep frying, the oil must be discarded and not kept for further reuse.

Ghee has a higher smoke point than any of the oils and it is a better idea to use ghee worry-free for deep frying purposes.

Are oils bad for heart?

Unlike the misconception that oils increase bad cholesterol, oils actually contain the right proportion of omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids which are optimum for your heart.

Besides, cold pressed oils are also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory and healing properties.>

And needless to say, using organic cold pressed oils also ensure that your cooking oils are free of pesticides!>