M-Phil, Food Science & Nutrition
The traditional Indian cuisines and desserts demand deep frying in healthy oils. And no matter how much we proclaim to eat healthy, cooking oil plays a major role in validating the assertion.
Deep fried foods are indeed unhealthy and can lead to heart diseases and high cholesterol levels.
For deep frying, we use hot oil with temperatures close to 176-190°C. When we put the food into hot oil, its surface is cooked quickly, forming a layer that filters the oil from getting inside the food, and the moisture present in the food cooks it from within.
However, if the temperature is not optimal, oil is absorbed into the food which makes it more unhealthy.
But, what if, there were healthful alternatives for deep frying the food?
“So it be”!
Traits of Healthy Oil
To choose healthier oil we need to keep in mind a few facts;
- Oil with higher smoking points are considered to be healthier.
- The components of the oil should be stable and not reactive to the oxygen, when overheated.
- It should contain saturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
- Avoid polyunsaturated fats in oil
Healthy Oils On your way!
Now, since you know the qualities of essential oil, here is a list of cooking oils with unbounding health benefits:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut nut oil is one of the healthiest oils available in the southern part of India.
According to studies, coconut oil are highly stable even above the temperature of 180°C without losing the quality. This is due to the presence to saturated fatty acids (made up of medium-chain fatty acids) which is a more stable fat and makes it heat resistant.
The fat in coconut oil takes very less time to metabolize as well as less time to float around the blood, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.
And for your information the recent studies have proved that saturated fats are innocent and not harmful for human consumption.
Coconut oil claims myriads of health benefits. as a cooking oil. It cuts down belly fats and also kills harmful bacteria in your body.
If you don’t like the smell and flavour of coconut oil, try a brand that suits your preference, also, refined coconut oil is neutral in both taste and aroma
2. Olive Oil
We all know how healthy olive oils are, we have been using it for dressing, shallow frying, sautéing etc. What we don’t know is that it can be used for deep frying purposes as well.
There has been several studies that showed olive oil can be an apt choice for deep frying, as it can withstand heat for over 24 hours before it oxidizes excessively.
Olive oil is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which makes highly resistant to heat.
However, heating olive oil can run down the beautiful aroma but it’s still healthy.
Olive oil is ideal for deep frying. Without overheating, in proper temperature, it will not undergo any structural change as well as its nutritional value is retained better than other oils.
This is not only because of the antioxidants but also due to its high levels of oleic acid. Its high smoking point (210ºC) is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for frying food (180ºC).
Those fats with lower critical points, such as corn and butter, break down at this temperature and form toxic products.
Food fried in olive oil has a lower fat content than food fried in other oils, making olive oil more suitable for weight control. Olive oil, therefore, is the most suitable, the lightest and the tastiest medium for frying.
3. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has higher smoking points, which is up to 270 °C. These have similar composition to that of olive oil.
However, it has monounsaturated fats, along with both saturated and polyunsaturated fats that makes it less healthy than olive oil in spite of having higher smoking point.
4. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is also known as groundnut oil. It is a preferred essential oil for deep frying because of its high smoke point of 230°C and neutral taste.
Interestingly, it’s the only oil that can be reused several times as it does not absorb the flavour of food.
As far as the health is concerned, it contains polyunsaturated fats that makes it prone to oxidation in high temperatures.
5. Palm Oil
Palm oil is suitable for deep frying as it contains saturated and monounsaturated fats, and a little polyunsaturates. It has a neutral taste and unrefined palm oil is the healthiest version.
However, palm oils are rarely harvested.
The ‘Not So Healthy Oils’!
While we are listing the good oils for your health, it is only fair to reveal the list of edible oils that should be avoided. This shockingly includes industrial vegetable oils.
Yes, you read that right! The oils that we consume have undergone harsh processing, and do not have any healthy values.
So don’t be fooled by the fancy sounding fake claims like “cholesterol free” and “rice brand”.
The fact is these oils are rich in polyunsaturated fats and toxin trans fats with unbalanced omega-6 and omega-3 ratio.
- Sunflower oil
- Rice bran oil
- Soybean oil
- Sesame oil.
- Corn oil.
- Canola oil is
- Cottonseed oil
- Safflower oil.
- Grape seed oil
- Margarine or any fake butter substitutes.
These are a few oils that aren’t fit for deep frying or cooking at all.
However, deep-fried foods, in general, add a lot of calories and cause weight gain. So much so that a KFC chicken wing contains around 70 calories.
Also Read High-Fat Foods for Weight loss!