Stories of Strength: Best cooking oils for your health and nutrition
In India you will notice that various regions will have a different default cooking oil that is used in the households for years and decades. Generally, but not entirely, South Indians cook in coconut oil, Rajasthanis in sesame, up north, sunflower and mustard oil remain to be favourites of families. With advent of the western culture, Indians have now also been exposed to oils such as olive, extra virgin olive, avocado etc etc. We bring to you a small guide on some of these popular oils to help you choose a healthy option for all your meals.
Extracted from the seeds of sunflowers, this is probably the one of the most popular amongst the lot. If any of you have used this at home, you will have noticed its high smoking point, which makes it an excellent ingredient to use in your recipes. Because of its high smoking point, it holds onto its nutritional content at higher temperatures.
It is cautioned though that people with diabetes should steer clear of this as it may increase sugar levels
Another brother to sunflower oil, giving close competition is mustard oil. It has a pungent smell which often works to its disadvantage and does not make to people’s kitchen shelf, but its properties are super healthy. It contains about 30 percent protein, calcium and natural anti-oxidants, and hence has been useful not just for cooking but for healing and medicinal purposes too.
The taste of this oil is something that gradually grows on you. The facts in this oil can boost metabolism and also increase feeling of fullness. It also acts as an excellent moisturiser not just for skin, but even for hair. Coconut oil is rich in a particular fatty acid that helps improve cholesterol and kill bacteria.
A relatively new member to the oil family, or at least in the stores, canola has been picked for its lowest saturated fat content amongst all the oils. Made from the crushed seeds of the canola plant, this may definitely look like a healthier option to many. It also works well with Indian food, so it may just be fun to try recipes using this oil.
Hailing from the Mediterranean, this oil helps in lowering your risk of heart disease and even breast cancer. As it comes from the west, it goes well with Mediterranean dishes like pastas, eggs, pancakes and such. Not many like to use olive oil in Indian cooking, but rather stick to the more traditional oils that they are familiar with.