FOOD & DRINK

How to choose the best cooking oil for you and your family

Whenever you switch on the television, every half hour you see an advert about a certain brand advertising that their oil is the best. And within a couple of hours you see at least six oil brands being advertised, all claiming they are best for your health and heart, be it Fortune Rice Bran oil or Saffola. Isn’t that enough to confuse you?

Hang on. That was just you watching the television for a couple of hours. You are bored of watching TV and go to the supermarket and you pass the aisle that sells cooking oils and your head simply starts swooning at the sight of so many brands, all with beautifully labeled containers saying things like “100% cholesterol free” or “zero cholesterol” or maybe there is a picture of a healthy heart on one brand.

The question that I am struggling to find an answer for is if all these brands are claiming they are the best, which oil is actually the best? How do you decide which is the best oil for your family’s healthy life?

With this question nagging me I conducted a research on finding the solution to my question. Keep these pointers in mind when you next buy cooking oil for home use.

First of all let me clarify that all the different oils have different properties and hence are used for different forms of cooking.

  1. SMOKING POINT

What oils tolerate heat? Such oils are ideal for frying. Refined oils are more stable and can withstand high temperatures.  Oils with high smoking points are peanut oil, avocado oil, soya bean oil, canola oil and palm oil.

Oils with low smoking points include sesame oil, safflower oil, corn oil and extra virgin olive oil.

The reasons for knowing the smoking point of oils is that when frying you do not exceed it. If you exceed it smoking point, it will release harmful toxins in your food and the whole purpose of getting“healthy” oil goes out of the window.

  1. FLAVOUR

Any ingredient that we add to food enhances the recipe’s taste and choosing the right oil for the recipe can make the dish from mediocre to gourmet. Most Oriental cuisines use sesame oil because of its rich nutty flavor. Extra virgin olive oil added to pastas and salads does wonders for the dishes. Try dunking crispy bread in garlic flavoured extra virgin olive oil.

Peanut oil has a pea nutty taste while canola has a neutral taste. You can actually taste the coconut in banana crisps that have been fried in coconut oil.

  1. FAT COMPOSITION

Fat is divided into three categories grading from good to bad – unsaturated fats, saturated fats and Trans fat. Oils are also a form of fat. The decision to choose the ideal cooking oil for your home depends on what type of fat it contains. Cooking oil mainly contain unsaturated fats which are good for health and heart.  They lower your risk of heart diseases and other cholesterol related illness like blood pressure and artery blockages.  Vegetable oils are best for consumption, compared to butter and fats derived from animals.

Now you do not need to get confused when deciding what cooking oil to buy. Haven’t I just cleared all your doubts?

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