As a dietitian, people often consult me about oils – the types of oils, oil intake, oils for various dishes and such. Hence, it is a very interesting subject for us to explore and discuss. After all, you find “oil” in some form or another in almost all your daily food intake!
There are so many types of oil available in the market today. Which should you choose, and how should you use the oil? To make the suitable choice for your health and wellness, you should be armed with the proper facts and information.
Each type of oil has a different “smoke point”, which refers to the highest temperature the oil can be heated until smoke is produced. When the oil starts to produce smoke, it will release free radicals (cancer-causing agents which you would have come across quite often). As such, the oil will go rancid or become spoilt. The nutrients in the oil are also destroyed.
Moral of the story? Never let your oil get to its smoke point. And don’t depend on only one type of oil for all your needs. Use this chart as your guideline:
Types of Oil
|ALL PURPOSE COOKING
Oils with high smoke point are ideal for frying, sautéing and other high heat cooking – up to 270°C
|BAKING AND SAUTÉING
Oils with a medium-high smoke point are best for sautéing at medium-high heat, or due to their neutral flavour, for baking – up to 220°C
|LIGHT SAUTÉING AND SAUCES
Medium heat oils normally have fuller flavours, making them ideal for sauces
Store Your Oils Properly
Some oils may be sensitive to heat or light. For example, olive oil is very sensitive to heat and light. Yet, many like to store it right next to their stove for easy access. The heat will spoil the oil and make it rancid. This may eliminate many of its important health benefits. Olive oil should be kept in a cool and dry storage.
As we are living in Malaysia which has a warm and humid weather, we can even store olive oil in a refrigerator. Similarly, we should also keep all fish oil supplements in the fridge to keep the nutrients intact.
Oils are Healthy Too
Many people often say: “Oils will make me fat.” This is not true! Oils taken in moderation will not make you fat. Every food group, be it oil, carbohydrate, protein or sugar will make you fat if you consume them excessively.
We have to remember that there are nutrients in oil that is beneficial for human health. Healthy oils contain dietary fats which fulfil a wide range of structural, storage and metabolic functions.
This includes energy source for cells, carrier for fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants, providing a protective layer around essential organs, forming cell membrane and many other important functions.
By reading this, I hope that you gain some information about the different types of oil available in the market. So, go on and try a few new oils this month. Remember that, oils taken in moderation will help to keep you and your family healthy!
What’s your favourite type of oil? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!