WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID REFINED OILS?
What are you cooking with? Is the question we need to ask ourselves. Store shelves stacked endlessly with different cooking oils, the choice gets that much tougher. Cold pressed oils are expensive, so everyone normally goes for refined vegetable or canola oil as a choice and cold pressed is used on special occasions or a few times a month to save cost.
Saving cost at what expense?
In order to have a longer shelf life, and cheaper production costs refined oils are subjected to many chemical processes. The first stage of the refining process is called desalting, which involves the removal of salt and other minerals from the crude oil. This is done by mixing the crude oil with water and then using an electrostatic separator to separate the water and oil. The salt and other minerals are removed along with the water.
The next stage, the hydrogenation process in which liquid unsaturated fat is turned into solid fat by adding hydrogen, this process removes impurities such as sulfur, nitrogen, and metals. But, results in excess production of trans fat in the oil which has an adverse effect on our health.
In the process of extraction of vegetable oils from plants, high heat, pressure, and chemical solvents are used. Thus the oils oxidize and become rancid, as well as lose many or all of their properties. This renders them toxic. The final stage of refining the oil is called deodorization. This helps the removal of any remaining odor and flavor compounds from the oil. This is done by heating the oil to high temperatures with steam, it removes any volatile compounds that contribute to the oil's aroma and taste.
This clear, odorless, and tasteless, refined oil is then filtered and packed for distribution. Research says that regular consumption of refined oil may lead to cancer, Diabetes Mellitus (DM), gastrointestinal disease, atherosclerosis, obesity, reproductive issues, and immune dysfunction.
How does refined oil affect our Heart and Brain
High temperatures used during the refining process removes all the valuable and natural elements from the oil, it in fact increases the amount of trans fat which is known to increase bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels and reduces beneficial HDL cholesterol.
The LDL and trans fats which over time get deposited in arteries tend to narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. A complete blockage could be fatal and cause a heart attack and if the plaque ruptures it would obstruct the blood supply to the brain causing a stroke.
What does it do to our Gastrointestinal Health
Omega 6 and Omega 3 are significant fats necessary for brain development, hormone production, cellular health, and the immune system. It’s extremely essential to have these fats in the right balance.
The precise ratio of omega 3 and 6 are from 1:4 to 1:2. While refined oils contain a ratio of almost 20:1.
Research has proven that excess consumption of omega 6 has harmful effects on our gut health and can cause inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, and immune cell damage. Therefore, it is necessary that our diet should be rich in omega 3 as it is anti-inflammatory in nature.
Does it have a Carcinogenic Effect?
Studies have shown that Trans fats have been seen to increase women’s risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and various other types of cancers.
How is Wood-Pressed Oil Made?
Wood pressed oil, also known as chekku oil or mara chekku oil, has been a traditional cooking oil in India for centuries. It is made by pressing oilseeds, nuts or fruits using wooden presses, without the use of any heat or chemicals.
The process of making wood pressed oil involves crushing oilseeds using a wooden press. The oilseeds are first cleaned and then placed in the press. The press crushes the seeds and separates the oil from the pulp. The oil is then collected and stored in a container.
The wooden press used in the process exerts pressure on the seeds and slowly extracts the oil. The temperature of the oil during the process remains below 40°C, which is the threshold for heat damage. This ensures that the oil retains all its natural nutrients and flavors.
There is no use of fillers, artificial flavour or colours added during the process of making wood pressed oil. The oil does not go through any chemical treatment unlike refined oil.
How Does Wood Pressed Oil Affect Our Health?
Wood pressed oil is not only delicious but also offers numerous health benefits.
- Rich in Nutrients: Wood pressed oil is packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients are vital for our body to function properly.
- Reduces Cholesterol: Wood pressed oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol levels in the body.
- Boosts Immune System: Wood pressed oil contains antioxidants that help boost the immune system and fight off diseases.
- Promotes Digestive Health: Wood pressed oil is easy to digest and helps promote digestive health.
- Reduces Inflammation: Wood pressed oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Promotes Heart Health: Wood pressed oil is good for heart health as it contains unsaturated fats that help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
What are the various kinds of cold pressed oil available in the market
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is made from the fruit of the olive tree. It is high in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E. It is commonly used in cooking and salad dressings.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is made from the meat of mature coconuts. It is high in saturated fats, which makes it a popular oil for cooking and baking. It is also used in skincare products.
- Almond Oil: Almond oil is made from the nuts of the almond tree. It is high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and magnesium. It is commonly used in skincare products and as a massage oil.
- Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed oil is made from the seeds of the flax plant. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a popular oil for vegans and vegetarians. It is commonly used in salad dressings and smoothies.
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is made from the seeds of the sesame plant. It is high in antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium. It is commonly used in cooking and as a massage oil.
- Mustard Oil: Mustard oil is made from mustard seeds. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. It is commonly used for cooking and frying as it has a high smoke point. It is also known to be good for hair and skin when applied externally.
In conclusion, while refined oil is a popular choice for cooking; wood pressed, cold pressed or extra virgin oils are the healthier and more flavorful options. Their unique taste and added health benefits make it a great addition to any kitchen.
While using cold pressed oil it’s always good to remember not to smoke them beyond their smoking point to preserve the nutrients they naturally contain. However, it is important to remember that all oils should be used in moderation, as they are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.