We often asked ourselves which are the healthiest cooking oil for our cooking? What criteria do you use to choose the oil?
- The high smoke point?
- Pure cold pressed?
- Oil that will not turn rancid at high temperature?
- Price and affordability?
The basic formula we have been taught is that saturated fat = bad. The simplistic conclusion is based on the following logic: dietary consumption of saturated fats and the cholesterol often comes together which leads to heart disease. This hypothesis has gained popularity and eagerly adopted by nutritionists.
In Ayurveda practise for healing and cooking, the following type of saturated oils have been used for thousands of years and today the common type of oils still in use are ghee, sesame oil and coconut oil. Even though the types of oil are saturated oil from animal and plant sources, they play an important role in our body.
Butter might be one of the most beloved types of food in today’s modern food chain. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that has been simmered into a concentrate and the residue has been removed. Basically what remained is the pure fats without the milk residue. It is only eaten in small amount. Our body needs fats to function. Ayurvedic health science has respected Ghee for its digestive qualities and mind nurturing (anti-dementia) energies. Thus in ancient times, Ghee was accepted as having special power for enhancing intelligence and memory described as special power ‘prabhava’. Ghee contains significant amount of Vitamin A, D, E and K2, Omega 3.
Some of health benefits of ghee intake:
- Reduces inflammation. Research studies show that ghee contains butyric acid that actually helps to decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Helps to support the intestinal walls.
- Antioxidant activity. The health benefits if Vitamin A and power of carotenoids have shown power with butyric acid to eliminate free radicals in our body. Helps to reduce oxidative stress.
- Vitamin A in ghee makes it ideal for protecting our eyes and thereby preventing macular degeneration and development of cataracts.
- Butyric acid property available in ghee has been linked to stimulation of production of T cells to increase our immune levels.
- High smoke point and will not break into free radicals like many other oils.
As to mention again, ghee is made purely of fat and that excess consumption of ghee can act as a negative dietary choice. It is encouraged that you speak to an Ayurvedic practitioner to ensure that your fitness level can handle a shift to a higher fat diet.
Organic White Sesame Oil
Sesame oil has gained popularity in recent years for use in cooking, is in fact one of the healthiest alternatives to normal vegetable oil options. Sesame oil has been used as a base oil in Ayurvedic medicine for healing and therapeutic uses. It has been used to support numerous systems in our body, including the nerve system, bone and muscles, skin, our digestive track.
Sesame oil has also been used for centuries in Asian cuisine. Sesame oil contains a high level of antioxidant called sesamol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and contains Vitamin E which keeps your skin strong and radiant. It is rich in amino acids which is required to build up proteins and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorous.
Some health benefits of sesame oil:
- Rich in Vitamin A, B and E – it is beneficial to the brain and nervous system
- It is a favourite oil for massage as its unique ability to penetrate skin easily, nourish and detoxify our skin tissue. This oil is to be used sparingly for massage for a person with Kapha and Pitta body constitution. Highly recommended for a Vata body constitution person.
- Lubricate the body internally especially cracking joints and hard stools.
- Commonly used in cooking of Chinese confinement meals for post pregnancy mothers.
- Sesame oil helps to improve intestinal health.
- Helps to reduce bad cholesterol and keeping HDL cholesterol up.
- Use in cooking has shown some blood glucose decreasing effects
- Rub on outer rim of ear before swimming has show to reduce outer ear infection and also rubbing the oil on your hair leaches out chlorine from your hair during swimming.
Organic Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil’s health benefits and uses go beyond what more people realize today. It is one of the superfood. Its unique fats content include lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid.
Fat in coconut oil is healthy saturated fat as the MCFA (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) – which are easier to digest and the liver will process it into energy and not stored as fat.
According to research, coconut oil benefits the body in some of the following ways:
- Protects the liver.
- Due to its anti inflammatory property, it helps to reduce inflammation and treats arthritis more effectively.
- Due to its anti bacteria property, it helps to kill helicobacter pylori bacteria that has been known to increase stomach cancer.
- Its high content in lauric acid will increase our immune system boost with its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Good choice oil to use for oil pulling to improve dental health and reduces mouth inflammation.
- Improves Memory and Brain function and it has been used to treat person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Improves antioxidant levels and can slow down aging process.
- Usefulness in skin and hair care.
Organic Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower seed oil has become a growing popularity because of its impressive fatty acid content, to name a few – oleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid. This fatty acid combination is important to maintain the balances of our human health elements. As these fatty acids do not contain any saturated fats and having the Vitamin E and other organic compounds which act as antioxidant, sunflower seed oil is an extremely healthy vegetable oil alternative with the recent trend of eating healthy and is a better alternative choice of cooking oil. Benefits include:
- Sunflower Oil is rich in Vitamin E and is an antioxidant that the body requires to increase its immune system.
- Vitamin E also relates to improving skin health and to regenerate our body cells. Vitamin E neutralizes the free radicals from mutating and damaging our healthy body cells.
- Good choice to use for salad dressing.
- Vitamins and essential fatty acids in this oil can be use on acne prone skin.
- Reduces risk of clogged arteries, good choice of oil to use in cooking for keeping an eye for the health of your heart.
- Contains rich antioxidant of Vitamin E – can eliminate free radicals that can cause cancer.
- Reduces severity of arthritis and asthma.
- Boosts energy levels in body.
Organic Olive Oil
Olive oil has been around since ancient civilisation and it is a staple oil of the Mediterranean diet. It has good quality well researched anti inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. Its mainly made up of monosaturated fatty acids – oleic acid. Its benefits include:
- Lowering rate of inflammation, heart disease, depression and obesity.
- Eating healthy fats is a key element in controlling excess hormone that controls blood sugar levels
- Its beauty benefits include – moisturising the skin, regenerate cells, facilitate skin healing.
- Potentially lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL.
- Lower gallstone formation and it is the chosen oil for liver cleanse.
- Promotes healthy digestion.