There are different types of cooking oil available on the market today. Some are healthy, while some are highly detrimental to your health. However, with the rising rate of cardiovascular diseases, it is natural to be selective about the types of cooking oil you use.
Despite the adverse effect oil has on the body, the body cannot function without them. Therefore, fats and oil are an essential part of our daily meals. Even though consuming a lot of oily meals is not ideal for the body, a healthy amount of them goes a long way.
Oils provide calories and essential fat for the body. They also help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) from food. Interestingly, the quality of the oil consumed is just as important as the quantity consumed.
This is why eating too much or consuming an excessive amount of oily meals is frowned upon. Regardless of how healthy your cooking oil might be, eating too much oily food is harmful.
Today, we’ll look at the different types of cooking oils you should know. We will also address some factors you should consider before making your final pick.
Here is What You Should Consider When Buying Cooking Oil
As a general rule of thumb, always go for oils that are low in saturated and trans fat. However, here are the different types of fat you can find in cooking oil:
Saturated fats are derived from animals. They increase the level of blood cholesterol and predispose you to cardiovascular diseases. Sources of saturated fat include lard and butter.
Trans fats also predispose you to heart diseases. Trans fats are derived from processed food. These foods are high in hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
They are also referred to as oleic acid or omega-9 fatty acid. These oils are generally low in calories and reduce the risk of heart disease. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats include olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and many more.
These fats are also called omega-3 and omega-6 acids. They regulate body activities by maintaining cells and tissues. In addition, they help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Polyunsaturated fats also help regulate the blood cholesterol level.
10 Types of Cooking Oil
Canola oil is obtained from crushed canola seeds. It is low in saturated fat and is one of the healthiest oils available on the market. In addition, the oil has a high omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content. Interestingly, ALA is an essential fatty acid the body needs but does not produce.
Studies show that ALA helps prevent heart diseases by acting on the blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, and preventing inflammation.
Canola oil also contains 63% of monounsaturated fat and contains phytosterols. Together they help to reduce the cholesterol level in the body. This is why this oil is considered one of the healthiest oils.
A teaspoon has approximately 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 1 gram of saturated fat.
The oil smokes at 204-230°C
This is one of the most popular types of cooking oil. Coconut oil is extracted from coconut fruit. The oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, mainly caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid. Coconut oil is also used on the skin because of its moisturizing effect.
It has a creamy texture and is an ideal substitute for butter. The oil also has a delicious and nutty taste that adds flavour to food. It is congealed and white at room temperature, but it melts when heated and gives off a sweet aroma. Coconut oil has a high saturated fat content.
A teaspoon of the oil contains approximately 12 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 10 grams of unsaturated fat.
The oil smokes at 175-196°C
Extra-virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the purest form of all the types f cooking oil. It is made from cold-pressed olives. The olive is ground into a paste, and the oil is extracted from the paste. No heat is involved in the extraction process, and this is why the oil is said to be removed from ‘cold pressed’ olives.
The oil is slightly green and has a bitter taste. It is also the olive with the highest amount of nutrients. It is used under moderate to no heat. Extra virgin olive oil is low in saturated fat and generally considered healthy.
A teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil comprises approximately 2 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 2 grams of monounsaturated fat.
The oil smokes at 163-210°C
This olive oil is the regular olive oil that most people know. Unlike extra virgin olive oil, the extraction of regular olive oil involves heat. The oil is a mix of both processed and cold pressed oil. Regular olive oil has a deep golden hue. The oil is not as rich in quality as extra virgin olive oil; it has more flavor than the latter. This is one of the popular types of cooking oil.
A teaspoon of regular olive oil contains approximately 3 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
Generally, the smoking point varies depending on how the oil was mixed and the brand.
Light olive oil
Do not be deceived, the ‘light’ in the name generally refers to the hue, not the quality or amount of calories in the oil. The caloric content of light olive oil is the same as that of other olive oils. Light olive oil is produced from refining pressed olive.
A teaspoon of light olive oil contains approximately 4 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 12 grams of monounsaturated fat.
It smokes at 218-241°C
Corn oil is refined vegetable oil. The oil is produced by passing the corn grains through complex processes. Corn oil is primarily used for frying, but it can also be used in the production of cosmetics. It is a creamy oil with a light hue and sweet flavor.
It is an affordable oil, but its high omega-6 content contributes to inflammation. However, it is rich in phytosterols, vitamin E, and linoleic acid. The phytosterols content promotes good heart health.
On average, a teaspoon of the oil contains approximately 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 1- 1.5grams of saturated fat.
The oil smokes between 210-230°C
Peanut oil is also referred to as groundnut oil. It is derived from the seeds of the peanut plant. It is popularly used in Asian cuisines. Peanut oil is generally safe, except if you are allergic to peanuts. The oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat.
Studies suggest that the oil might help reduce cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
On average, a teaspoon of the oil contains approximately 2 grams of saturated fat, 7 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
The oil has a smoke point of 227-230°C
The oil is derived from the pulp of the fruit. Avocado oil has a golden hue with a rich flavor and butter-like texture. Research has confirmed that avocado oil is good for eyesight and heart health.
A teaspoon of avocado oil has approximately 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 11 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Avocado oil has the highest smoke point of 271-299ºC
Sunflower oil is a multipurpose oil used in all kinds of cooking. Studies have shown that the oil becomes unhealthy when subjected to too much heat. The oil has a high omega-6 content that encourages inflammation when consumed excessively.
However, it also contains vitamin E, which improves vision, the skin, and the brain’s cells. Unlike other cooking oils, sunflower oil has a short shelf life, so it must be used within a year. Besides that, the oil has a golden hue with a very neutral taste.
A teaspoon of the oil contains approximately 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and between 1-2 grams of saturated fat.
The oil has a smoking point of 230°C.
This is the most popular of all types of cooking oils. Vegetable oil is derived from multiple plants. Typically, vegetable oil is a mixture of multiple refined oils. Some of such oil are canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, etc. The oil has a golden hue with a neutral flavor.
Depending on the oil mixture, it varies. You can determine this breakdown from its label.
This also depends on the mixture and brand. However, the oil has an average smoke point that falls between 204-230°C.
Despite the different types of cooking oil available on the market, always go for the healthiest. The healthiest cooking oils are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated but low in saturated and trans fat. Knowing this will help you decide on the best types of cooking oils that are healthier for you.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are generally derived from plants, while saturated fats are derived from animals. Trans fats are obtained from processed meals with a high level of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. However, always eat oily foods in moderation. Eating oily meals in excess is not healthy. This can cause heart diseases.