What you need to know about vegetable oils

Kitchen Dec 01, 2019
Types, features, benefits and harms

On the shelves of supermarkets and specialized stores are dozens of bottles of vegetable oils: sunflower, corn, olive and linseed and even more than 30 types that can be used for cooking. Despite such an abundance, few still know about their benefits and culinary properties.

I have been watching my diet and experimenting for the past 10 years, actively using a variety of oils in cooking and for medicinal purposes. I’ll tell you how to choose the right oil, depending on your goals and preferences, as well as some interesting features of each oil.

Edible oils are divided into refined and unrefined according to the method of their purification. There are also several technologies for the extraction of oil and the preparation of raw materials: hot pressing, cold pressing and extraction.

Unrefined oils retain maximum beneficial properties

Unrefined oils pass only the mechanical stage of cleaning or settling after pressing. These oils are considered the most valuable and useful in terms of the preservation of biologically active substances: vitamins, trace elements, antioxidants, fatty acids.

Basically, such oils are produced by cold pressing on a special screw press. The auger is a large meat grinder, into which prepared raw materials are poured, and at the exit, finished oil and oilcake are obtained. The disadvantage of this method is that during the extraction of the oil, the temperature inside the screw from mechanical friction can rise above 40 ° C. This can trigger oxidative processes in the finished product.

At the same time, the quality of the oil is largely determined by the acidity indicators. The lower the acidity, the higher the quality. The oxidation of oils occurs during mechanical heating, as well as in contact with oxygen or some other substances during production or storage. So, the acidity indicator is actively used in the production of olive oils. This information can be found on a bottle of quality olive oil.

The standard for Extra Virgin Olive Oils is not more than 0.5. Premium oils have an acidity of 0.1–0.2. They taste as soft as possible, they are usually produced on the day of the olive harvest. When the acidity of the oil is 0.8–1.0 or more, they can also be used as food, however, the taste will be low.

Refined are not useful, therefore it is better not to use them

Refined oils undergo various stages of refining, in which their natural structure is violated and the chemical composition changes. At these stages, various impurities and the natural smell of oil are removed. Do this in order to get a product with a neutral smell and taste. That is, pure fats that can be used for food purposes.

Mostly refined oils are produced from technical mass and cheap crops for the food industry. Depending on the geography of production, this happens to be sunflower oil, corn, rapeseed, cottonseed, rice, soya and even coconut.

Such oils are actively used in the production of groceries, canned goods, confectionery, as well as animal feed. The value of these oils in terms of healthy nutrition tends to zero. Therefore, I recommend avoiding products that contain such oils, even if it is extremely difficult to accomplish. Because 80-95% of all products that are sold in retail chains contain similar ingredients.

Other types of oils can be used for healthy nutrition and cooking.

There are many oils that are not very popular, but you can easily find them in stores.

Flaxseed oil is inexpensive and at the same time has unique healing properties due to the ideal ratio of omega-3-6-9 fatty acids. It perfectly replaces fish oil and is well absorbed. Recommended for children, athletes, the elderly. Flaxseed oil also helps in the process of rehabilitation after illness or surgery. The use of this oil favorably affects the work of the heart, blood vessels, brain, intestines and the production of sex hormones.

However, linseed oil is extremely sensitive to oxidation. If stored improperly in open light or at a temperature above 25 ° C, it oxidizes, after which an unpleasant bitter taste and smell of fish oil is manifested. Experience shows that there are not enough high-quality linseed oils on the market.

Because of this, many try poor-quality oil and stop buying it, which is not true. You just need to find an oil that has the right taste and smell - a light and delicate floral aroma without impurities.

Please note that open linseed oil should only be stored in the refrigerator and preferably no more than a month. It can not be used for frying or stewing dishes, since there will be no benefit from its use, and even the opposite effect is possible.

Hemp oil is a whole range of active substances and antioxidants. It contains omega-3, vitamin E, trace elements and chlorophyll - one of the most useful substances for humans. All this makes hemp oil a modern superfood. You can use this oil for food purposes, for example, taken in the morning on an empty stomach or added to cooked foods and salads. It is also added to cosmetics to enhance the effect. Now hemp oil is actively used by domestic and foreign cosmetic companies.

The rich aroma and alluring nutty taste of pumpkin oil will not leave anyone indifferent. Even ordinary boiled potatoes become a gourmet dish if you pour it on top with pumpkin oil.

In addition, the oil is rich in trace elements, and it is often used for antiparasitic purposes.

Pumpkin seed oil is cold pressed from unroasted and roasted seeds. The first is more suitable for improving health, and the second will surprise with its taste and aroma.

Real unrefined grape seed oil is a unique and valuable oil, but it is rarely found in Russia. 99% of the oils that are produced in Europe and sold in our stores are refined. Therefore, they are mainly suitable for frying and stewing dishes.

However, it is unrefined oil that retains the entire set of unique properties of grape seed. This is a universal oil. It can be used in the preparation of dishes and salads, as well as a means to moisturize and rejuvenate the skin. Large pharmaceutical companies have already rated this oil and are actively using it in premium cosmetics.

The oil has a real wine aroma and rich green color. Due to the original smell, many people think that it has fermented and deteriorated. However, it is not. This aroma is due to the presence of a large number of tannins, tannins, essential oils and flavonoids. It contains vitamins A, E, PP, B1, B2, B3, B9, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, chlorophyll, as well as the antioxidant resveratrol, which is recognized as one of the strongest substances in nature for beneficial effects on the entire circulatory system in the human body. It is resveratrol that is responsible for the unique effect of red wine. This effect is already recognized by gerontologists as one of the main factors that affect life expectancy and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Good oils are made in the Crimea and Krasnodar Territory.

Some oils can be used for medicinal purposes.

Black cumin oil has such a strong taste that some people compare it to the taste of chemical solvents. This is explained by the high content and complex multicomponent combination of biological active substances: essential oils, tannins, vitamins, phytosterols.

This oil has a strong healing effect, therefore, if used correctly, it will help to cope with many different diseases.

Please note that black caraway seed oil has contraindications for pregnancy: pregnancy of any period, previous surgery for organ transplantation, including implant implantation.

In other cases, you can use it to strengthen the immune system, cleanse the body of fungi, viruses and parasites, as well as restore the liver and bile ducts. It can also be called a strong natural antibiotic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and wound healing agent that can not tolerate various infections. It can be used externally and orally - on an empty stomach or before meals.

Sea buckthorn oil is mainly made in Altai from local sea buckthorn. Due to the peculiarity of the fruit, production technology involves the use of base oil to extract fats from berries. Usually, sunflower oil is used for these purposes. There is nothing to worry about. If the technology is followed correctly, then sea buckthorn oil will be rich in vitamins A, E, carotenoids, phospholipids and folic acid.

Thanks to such a rich set of vitamins, sea buckthorn oil can be used as a multivitamin complex and completely replace the intake of vitamins in tablets. Traditional vitamin complexes in tablets or capsules contain many special additives for long-term storage and are poorly absorbed by the body, unlike the vitamins in sea buckthorn oil, which are found in a natural and easily digestible form.

Wheat germ oil is made from a small portion of the grain. It is in it that all the power of grain is concentrated. Do not confuse this oil with green wheat sprouts, which also have tremendous life-giving strength, but this is a different product.

From a ton of wheat it turns out to get a whole liter of oil. Wheat germ oil can also be called a concentrate of vitamin E - the strongest antioxidant. Also in the oil are vitamins A, D, E, PP, group B, carotenoids, pantothenic and folic acids, as well as macro and micronutrients. In nature, there are not many products with such a high concentration of active substances that beneficially affect the processes of body rejuvenation and tissue regeneration, strengthening immunity and reproductive functions in men and women.

It is better to take the oil in courses of at least three to four weeks, so that the cumulative effect works. This oil has no particular contraindications; it can be taken all year round with short breaks. Wheat germ oil will help to easily pass the period of influenza epidemics, as well as cope with physical and mental stress.

Amaranth oil is produced from amaranth seeds, which are rich in protein, vitamins, trace elements, and also do not contain gluten. This makes it valuable superfood, the fashion for which is now gaining momentum.

However, the main weapon against the aging of the body lies in the content of a unique antioxidant - squalene, which in oil from amaranth seeds can reach 6-10%. Squalene is responsible for the transport of active oxygen to cells - this activates the body's internal reserves.

Please note that amaranth oil has contraindications. It is not recommended to use it for pancreatitis, cholecystitis, stones in the urinary and biliary tract.

Oils for frying and deep-frying withstand prolonged heat treatment

Coconut oil of any production technology is perfect for cooking: cold pressed, refined and special for frying. I do not recommend using coconut oil, which is intended for cosmetic purposes, since cheap Indian oils of poor quality and poor cleaning are often found on the market.

Chefs in restaurants actively use refined rice oil because it does not smoke and has a neutral taste.

Mustard unrefined oil is also suitable for frying or stewing dishes and is inexpensive. However, it has a specific flavor that not everyone likes. But it is very versatile and contains many useful fatty acids.

Cold-pressed and refined peanut oil is not very popular in Russia, but it is actively used in oriental cuisine. It has a light peanut flavor, goes well with Asian dishes and can withstand temperatures up to 230 ° C.

What you need to know when buying oil

  1. There are several technologies for the extraction of oil and the preparation of raw materials: hot pressing, cold pressing and extraction.
  2. The most valuable oils are produced by cold pressing. They have maximum nutritional value and retain their unique properties.
  3. Unrefined oils pass only the mechanical stage of cleaning or settling after pressing. These oils are most useful in terms of preserving biologically active substances: vitamins, trace elements, antioxidants, fatty acids.
  4. Refined oils undergo various stages of purification, in which the natural structure of the oils is violated and the chemical composition changes. The value of these oils in terms of healthy nutrition tends to zero. Therefore, it is better not to use them.
  5. Flaxseed, hemp, and pumpkin oils, as well as grape seed oil, are suitable for preparing healthy foods. They have active substances, antioxidants and vitamins.
  6. Black cumin oil, wheat germ, sea buckthorn and amaranth oil should be used for medicinal purposes, as they will help to cope with various diseases and improve health.
  7. Coconut, rice, mustard and peanut oils are excellent for frying and stewing dishes, as they withstand prolonged heat treatment and are resistant to oxidation at high temperatures.
  8. By regularly using and combining these oils, you can strengthen your health and even get rid of a number of diseases.