In recent times, we are faced with endless choices about which cooking oil is healthiest to use for cooking, which is healthy for the body and which is not. The shelves of all the supermarkets are filled with options all advertising their health benefits and telling us why we should use them. But how much of this information is actually true? Every one of us practically uses Refined Oils or vegetable oils on a regular basis and we all believe it to be much better for our health instead of the pure oils such as Mustard Oil, Coconut oil, Sesame Oil, Olive Oil etc. But is that so? In this article, we break the myth regarding refined oils and why it is damaging your health in a hazardous way.

There is evidence which points in the direction that it isn’t animal fat which is causing our epidemic levels of heart disease, but vegetable oils.  Research shows that butter consumption at the turn of the century was about 18 lbs. per person per year and the use of vegetable oils was non-existent.  In that era, Cancer and heart disease were rare.  Today butter consumption has reduced considerably low and is just above 4 lbs. per person per year while the use of vegetable oils and refined oils has increased higher. So has the increase of Cancer and other Heart diseases.

Now we come to the question, of what actually are Refined Oils? An oil that has been refined by using chemicals that are harmful to us may be known as refined oils. The meaning of this is that the oil has been treated with acid or purified with an alkali, or bleached. These oils can also be neutralized, filtered or deodorized.  All of these so-called purification or treatment processes require chemicals like Hexane. In the process of making and refining these types of oils, it leads to the production of PUFas (rancid polyunsaturated fatty acids) which do not hold up well to high heats. When the process of extraction of oils from seed occur, it oxidizes itself and turns into trans fats.  The smell which is produced is so heinous that a separate cleaning process has to take place using bleach to deodorize it. Some examples of refined oils are – Canola oil, Vegetable oil, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, Corn oils, Margarine.

Trans fats are so bad for our health, that the FDA estimated approximately 95% of prepared cookies, 100% of crackers and 80% of frozen breakfast products contain trans fats. The problem lies not only with our own kitchens, but also when we dine out. We do not know what the restaurants might be using and even if we can avoid using such oils at our home, it is harder to avoid them in restaurants. Thus the best thing you can do is to ask before you eat. Or insist on food cooked with pure oils. You still might not get what you are asking for. But at least you could try. Avoid eating out too much in general.

Now we come to the question that if refined oils are truly so bad for our health then what are the oils that we should be using instead? Which oils are safe to use then? which cooking oil is healthiest? There has been extensive research on which oils are harmful to us and which are beneficial.

Here are some oils which you should incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
1. EVOO or Extra virgin olive oil:

Extra virgin olive oil contains a high amount of saturated fat (about 12%) but it is an unrefined oil.  This means that the antioxidants in the original fruit are retained because the oil is extracted by machine extraction only. The longevity period of Olive oil is usually 3-12 months after it has been bottled.  After that period of time, the fruity smell starts wearing off and also then it is best to buy a new bottle. You should always purchase them in smaller quantities so they are not sitting in your pantry for months.  Do not store the oil over the stove and keep it in a cool dry place. Keep it sealed and out of light.

2. Mustard Oil:

Mustard oil is that wonder ingredient of the Indian kitchen which can never be replaced by any other thing. The pungency and the unique flavour of the mustard oil are what makes everyone appreciate it. Mustard oil is believed to have a lot of health benefits along with increasing the flavour of food. Some of these are – Good Source of MUFA, Encourages Heart Health, and Good for Skin, Relief from Cough and Cold, Promotes Hair Growth.

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3. Organic Butter:

These are the butter which is made from original animal milk and fats. You should never opt for margarine or similar kind of spreads. Butter is a good safe wholesome food choice.  The best choice would be butter from raw milk grass-fed cows and the second choice, which is more accessible to most of us, is organic, which is from the milk of grass-fed cows with NO rBGH injected into them.

4. Coconut oil:

Coconut oil is the least fattening of all oils. It contains all the goodness extracted from the original fruit. Coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Saturated fats are responsible for not only increasing the healthy cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) in your body, but it can also help to convert the LDL, which is considered bad cholesterol into good cholesterols. By increasing the HDL in the body, it helps promote heart health and lower the risk of heart disease

The main thing to keep in mind is that we must avoid refined oils. They are processed and they are downright dangerous to your health. Pure oils are not only a healthier version of oil but the taste that is produced by pure oils are also extremely delicious and finger licking good. so the answer to “which cooking oil is healthiest” is all natural oils are good for not only health but skin and hair also.

Additional Information:

Almost 50 years ago, paint and varnishes were manufactured using the raw materials from soy, sunflower and linseed oils. When the chemists learned how to make paint from petroleum, which was cheaper, the oils were discarded.  As a result, the seed oil industry had loads of crop that were hard to sell.  They eventually were given to farmers and the farmers used them up to make their pigs fatter with less food! The crops that had gone from the paint industry ended up as food on a farm for animals which in turn ends up on your plate as well.

This video shows a report conducted by a reputed news channel, Why many doctors recommend you to stop using refined oil.

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