We Malaysians couldn't live without our oils. We fry almost everything with palm oil and most of the side street stalls in Malaysia are rich with fried food. Ayam goreng, pisang goreng, nasi goreng, and even some of our traditional kuih are fried. There was one time where aiskrim goreng was even a trend and being sold in pasar malam! That is how familiar Malaysians are with fried food. This cooking method is actually a norm in our country as our country is one of the largest exporters of cooking oil in the world making cooking oil is easily accessible here. However, did you know that not all cooking oils are the same? There are abundant types of cooking oil out there and sometimes this can be confusing to choose from. I mean, of course we would want to choose the best out of the rest, thus it is important for us to know more about the differences between these cooking oils for us to choose the best.
There are several differences between good oils that can affect their quality, nutritional value, and suitability for different uses. Some of the key differences are:
The flavour and quality of the oil can be significantly influenced by its source. For instance, compared to olive oil from other regions, olive oil from specific regions, such as Italy or Greece, may have a distinctive flavour character.
The method of oil extraction and processing can also affect the oil's quality. A higher quality oil is commonly cold-pressed as cold-pressed oil could retain the oil's natural tastes and nutrients.
The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which it begins to smoke and degrade. Higher smoke point oils, such avocado or grapeseed oil, are used for high-heat cooking methods like frying or roasting.
Some oils are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), while others are high in omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil).
The value of an oil for different purposes can be significantly influenced by its flavour. Compared to more neutral oils like canola or grapeseed, which may be more versatile, olive oil has a unique flavour that may not be ideal for all recipes.
Various elements, including the type of oil, how it was processed, and how it is stored, might affect an oil's shelf life. While some oils, like flaxseed oil, are more delicate and should be refrigerated and consumed within a shorter amount of time, others, like coconut oil or olive oil, have longer shelf life than others and can be stored at room temperature.
Healthy Oils in Love Earth and the Differences
Benefits of Healthy Oils in Love Earth
There are several health advantages to using coconut oil. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are quickly digested by the body and can increase metabolism, aid in digestion, and boost immunity. Moreover, due to its high smoke point, coconut oil can be used for high-heat culinary methods like frying, sautéing, baking, and roasting. It also has a unique nutty and sweet flavour that can enhance the taste of foods.
Rice Bran Oil
A heart-healthy oil with anti-inflammatory qualities is rice bran oil. It has a lot of antioxidants, vitamin E, and gamma oryzanol, all of which can lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and generally improve health. Additionally, rice bran oil has a high smoke point, which makes it perfect for grilling, deep frying, and other high-heat cooking techniques. It has a moderate flavor and can be used in a variety of meals as an oil with a neutral flavor.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for overall health, are abundant in flaxseed oil, a plant-based oil. Also, it includes lignans, a class of phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help lower the risk of cancer. Flaxseed oil can be used as a salad dressing, an ingredient in smoothies, or a topping for cuisine that is vegan or vegetarian. It is not advised for high-heat cooking techniques due to its low smoke point.
Sacha Inchi Oil
The seeds of the sacha inchi plant, which is indigenous to the Amazon jungle, are used to make sacha inchi oil, a relatively new product on the market. Omega-3,6,9 fatty acids, which are abundant in it and may aid to lessen inflammation, enhance brain function, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin E, an antioxidant that can aid in scavenging free radicals, is also present in sacha inchi oil. It has a nutty flavour and can be used as a finishing oil for food as well as in salads and dips.
In conclusion, each oil offers its own benefits and is most effective when used for a particular type of cooking. To benefit from oil, it's crucial to select the correct oil for the work and apply it appropriately. By consuming these oils, you can improve your general health and wellbeing.
Written by: Alia Adrina Asri
Love Earth Nutritionist
Bachelor of Nutrition Science (Hons)