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Back in the ancient times, butter and ghee were essential ingredients in many dishes, adding richness and flavour along with high levels of unhealthy fat. Though, today these ingredients are used but they have decreased due to the advent of extra virgin olive oil. Because health became more of a concern with obesity and increased risk of heart disease on the rise. Today, olive oil is used in all types of cooking due to its versatility and healthfulness.
Many recipes call for olive oil, from dressings to marinades to sautéing. Extra-virgin olive oil is flavourful and rich in healthy fats, but it can be expensive too.
There are three types of olive oil - virgin olive oil, which is a well known cooking oil with a surprisingly low acid content; extra virgin olive oil is costly and is considered to be the best for your body; pure olive oil that has a high acidic content and is unsuitable for use.
Olive oil has innumerable health benefits from preventing breast cancer, preventing diabetes, to strengthening bones and aiding in weight loss.
Due to the olive oil being much more costly, there are other healthy cooking substitutes for olive oil as well. Have a look.
1. Peanut Oil
The nutty peanut oil is a great choice for frying. Because it can be heated to a higher temperature than many other cooking oils available. Foods cook faster in peanut oil and have less time to absorb extra calories and fat. Peanut oil is an excellent source of resveratrol, an antioxidant that is found in grapes and red wine. This antioxidant has been linked to lower cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Best used in frying chicken, potatoes, stir-frying vegetables and rice.
2. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil helps in losing weight and can control your blood sugar levels drastically. Researchers at the Ohio university found that women who added about two teaspoons of safflower oil to their daily diet had less abdominal fat and more muscle mass after four months. And because this oil is flavourless, it can be used for a variety of purposes. Safflower oil is high in vitamin E, which contains disease-fighting antioxidants.
Best used in grilling veggies or frying.
3. Canola Oil
Compared to other cooking oils, canola oil has the lowest price and contains one of the lowest saturated fat content. Canola oil contains a high amount of alpha-linoleic acid that has been shown to lower inflammation and possibly prevent heart disease. It's medium-high smoking point and the neutral taste is good for baking foods.
Best used in mixing into muffins, cakes and waffle batter. Also used in sautéing veggies, and chicken.
4. Flaxseed Oil
Flax seeds are the best to obtain your omega-3 fatty acids from. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect the brain cells and may guard against cancer. The oil from flax seeds is a good source of these nutrients, but do not use in cooking, as the nutrients are destroyed due to the heat. So, store the oil in the fridge and add it cold in already cooked dishes.
Best used in blending into smoothies and stirring into oatmeal.
5. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is the only cooking oil which is not derived from a nut or seed. The oil has a fresh, slightly fruity taste that won't overpower delicate vegetables or seafood. Avocado oil has a high smoking point, making it a great choice for frying, browning, and barbecuing. This oil has been shown to help combat free radicals that speed up ageing.
Best used in drizzling over green salads or sliced tomatoes. Pan-searing shrimps or fish.
6. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E, which contains disease-fighting antioxidants. It is also high in healthy monounsaturated fats, and it has a mild flavour. Sunflower oil has a high smoking point, which means it can be heated to a high temperature without burning.
Best used in sautéing and frying.
7. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is a fragrant oil which is not only packed with powerful antioxidants like vitamin E, but also it may lower blood pressure, according to a study. The oil extracted from sesame seeds contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The dark sesame oil has more antioxidants as well as a nutty flavour.
Best used in stir-frying, in salad dressings and drizzling into soups and steamed veggies.
8. Coconut Oil
Recent research has shown that coconut oil contains saturated fat, lauric acid that help boost those healthy HDL cholesterol levels. Coconut oil also helps convert the LDL (bad) cholesterol into good cholesterols. By increasing the HDL in the body, coconut oil helps promote heart health and lowers the risk of heart disease.
Best used in baking and can be used instead of butter.
9. Grapeseed Oil
The oil is extracted from grape seeds and it packs 70 percent of polyunsaturated fats, which help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. The oil is also rich in omega-6 fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. It is also an excellent source of vitamin E, zero trans fats, has a high smoking point and is beneficial for the hair and skin.
Best used in sautéing and frying.
10. Palm Oil
Palm oil is super rich in vitamin E, which supports the immune system. It is naturally reddish-orange in colour because of its high beta-carotene content. Palm oil is also known for improving the energy levels, it improves vision, prevents cardiovascular disease, reduces the risk of cancer and supports a healthy pregnancy.
Best used in curries, stews, noodle soups and even omelettes.
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