The way we cook and prepare meals is important for good health. The right cooking methods have a significant role to play in ensuring good health of the organs and to ascertain that the body gets the right nutrition.
With so many cooking oils being sold in the market, choosing one for food preparations is not that simple. Some people will argue that mustard oil is not the best choice, while others will say that you should never cook with refined oil. Here are the pros and cons of both the cooking oils to help you make informed choices.
Mustard oil: Mustard oil continues to be the most preferred cooking oil in households across India. The oil extracted from the mustard seeds has been in use since ancient times for a whole lot of food preparations. The oil is low in saturated fats in comparison with other cooking oils. It serves good to health owing to the presence of antioxidants and cholesterol-reducing properties.
When cooking with this oil, you must ensure that it is heated to the smoking point before being used in stir frying or frying. Mustard oil has erucic acid, which is tied to health risks such as accumulation of triglycerides in the heart, development of fibriotic lesions of the heart, anaemia and lung cancer.
Refined oil: Refined vegetable oils are made from the seeds of various plant sources. There are several refined vegetable based oils available today, including canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil. In these oils, the fats from plant seeds are polyunsaturated.
Refined oils such as canola oil do not absorb too much into food, which means you end up using less oil. Olive oil is high in natural plant antioxidants, while groundnut oil can help in lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Safflower oil has protein that regulates blood glucose levels, while sesame contains traces of calcium, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Bottom line: There is no one healthy cooking oil. It is only after the type of cooking and your nutritional needs that you can choose the cooking oil. Olive oil is not a good choice for deep-frying because of a low smoke point, but mustard oil is better for deep frying.
A combination of mustard and sesame oils can also be used for frying. For recipes that have the significant amount of fat, canola oil can eliminate trans-fat and reduce saturated fat to reduce the total fat. Coconut and palm kernel oils are unhealthy for those affected with cholesterol-related problems owing to high saturated fats.
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