What Vegetable Oils Are Beneficial to Health?

Olive oil is usually considered the healthiest vegetable oil. What other vegetable oils are beneficial to health? Read on to discover the answer!
What Vegetable Oils Are Beneficial to Health?

Last update: 25 November, 2020

Vegetable oils can come from many different origins. Some of them are obtained from seeds and others from cereals or fruits. Are they all the same? Do they all benefit us in the same way?

The truth is that no, not all vegetable oils are the same. Each vegetable oil has different characteristics and properties due to their origin and method of preparation. Therefore, each oil has a value and a particular use.

Since we usually use vegetable oils to prepare different foods, it would be interesting to know a little more about the different varieties that exist and their contributions.

Vegetable oils with nutritional properties

Oils are primarily made of fat, which is why they aren’t rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, or trace minerals. However, they help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Generally, the fats in liquid oils at room temperature are usually healthy and provide metabolic energy. These fats mostly benefit the brain. This organ contains a lot of fat and uses fats to function and for neuronal communication.

Without fats, the brain would be “dumb”. Despite the fact that it contains a lot of fats, the brain doesn’t produce much of the essential fats it needs to function, which is why you need to get them through your diet. Furthermore, vegetable oils are recommended for cardiovascular balance and skin health, among other things.

The preferred vegetable oils are those that contain the most essential fats the body needs to function. Given the particular composition of each, their cooking method and use in recipes is also varied.

Below, you’ll see some examples.

Nut oils

Nut oils, such as walnut and almond oil, or seed oils, such as pumpkin seed or grapeseed oil, are rich in unsaturated fats. In fact, these oils are the richest in polyunsaturated fats.

Therefore, they’re more sensitive to degradation and can be oxidized more easily. They shouldn’t be overheated, as doing so can release toxic substances.

Therefore, they’re ideal for marinades and dishes that are served cold. Since these oils have a very low melting point, they don’t usually solidify when you put them in the refrigerator. Thus, they’re perfect for preserving foods in the refrigerator as the oil won’t solidify.

Olive oil

Olive oil is the “liquid gold” of the Mediterranean diet. This oil is very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and other natural antioxidants.

Natural antioxidants help mitigate the effects of oxidative stress that toxic waste can generate during cell activity. They “clean” the blood.

Olive oil.

Olive oil contains more antioxidants than other vegetable oils, such as canola or sunflower oil. Thus, it’s more stable.

Olive oil isn’t resistant to high heat, which is why it may degrade if overheated. Therefore, you must be careful when frying foods with olive oil to prevent degradation.

Canola oil

Canola oil is rich in healthy unsaturated fats and, due to the fact that it’s believed it can contribute to lowering “bad” cholesterol levels by up to 17%, experts consider that consuming it regularly can be part of a healthy diet.

However, this oil doesn’t have a high melting point, which is why it isn’t recommended for frying foods that require heating the oil at high temperatures. This process can generate chemical reactions that degrade the oil and release toxic substances.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, which has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, coconut oil can raise “bad” cholesterol levels when compared to olive oil, because it’s rich in saturated fats.

However, this oil is considered healthier than butter (which is rich in saturated fats) if you want to regulate your cholesterol levels. In general, dietary guidelines recommend not consuming too much of this oil.

However, coconut oil has excellent properties. Among others, it’s advisable for topical skin use, as it moisturizes and balances. Also, it seems to be a good nutrient for the brain.

Coconut oil.

The fat content of each type of oil

Olive, canola, vegetable oil, and coconut oil all contain the same number of calories and total fats (120 and 14g respectively). However, their composition of each type of fat (saturated or unsaturated) is different (2g, 1g, 2g and 13g for saturated, and 10g, 8g, 3g, and 1g for monounsaturated, respectively). Polyunsaturated is 1.5g, 4g, 8g, and 0g respectively. All these figures are per tablespoon.

This article may interest you: 6 Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Not all vegetable oils are suitable for the same recipe

Due to their different saturated and unsaturated fat content, each oil is preferred for a different cooking method and food preparation technique. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid using the same oil to prepare every kind of dish. Ideally, use the most suitable oil for each food, depending on its characteristics and tolerance to high temperatures, as we mentioned above.

Certainly, olive oil is the most versatile vegetable oil. You can use it to sautée foods and for cold sauces, dressings, mayonnaise, and warm sauces. However, it isn’t advisable to fry foods with it.

Meanwhile, vegetable oils and canola oil are recommended for preparing dishes that don’t involve subjecting the oil to high temperatures, because overheating it can alter its properties.

Finally, keep in mind that coconut oil is the best for baking.

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