Things We Should Know About Food Oils

There are many types of oils that we use in the cooking process. Some of them are healthier; but others are not so much. Many plant-based oils offer us a higher quantity of Omega-6 EFA. However, too much of a good thing can be harmful for our health. It is concluded that excessive intake of Omega 6 in our diet could increase the incidence of obesity, non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Sunflower oil is a healthy type of oil, but continuous consumption can introduce some amount of carcinogenic compounds. Excessive consumption of Omega 6 can also increase the incidence of breast cancer. This can occur when we use sunflower oil in large quantity each day. In this case, it is better to alternate the use of plant-based oils; especially the one that has lower Omega-6 content.

Corn oil is known for its high polyunsaturated fat content and it undergoes oxidation faster than even some mono-saturated oils. It means that we should choose corn oil that doesn’t undergo the oxidation process. It is believed that oxidized fats can increase the possibility of degenerative diseases, like cancer. Excessive exposure of oxidized fats to lab mice promotes the incidence of colon and breast cancers. Rapeseed oil is a good choice for consumption due to its healthy fat compositions, however; its use should be reduced in some people, if they have hay fever and allergic asthma.

Soybean oil is also an important part of diet and it is often used in food processing industry. Soybean oil is a good source of amino acids and healthy fats. However, we should be aware that improper processed soybean oils can be dangerous for our health. Hexane is a solvent used for the extraction process of soybean oil. The substance is toxic when consumed in larger quantity and hexane is also known as being mildly anaesthetic. It has some similar properties of gasoline and in pure form, hexane is volatile. In this case, we should avoid highly processed soybean oils and choose the one that can provide us with better health options. There are some small businesses that provide organic soybean oil products and they are safe for consumptions.

Margarine and butter are often considered as the worse types of food oils. They contain higher level of trans fat and saturated fats. Shortening is also commonly used in processing food products, such as crackers, cakes and cookies. They contribute in raising our blood cholesterol levels and this will increase the incidence of heart disease. Trans fatty acids are substances that we will need to consider. Palm oil and other vegetable oils can be converted into shortenings and margarine. In general, plant-based oils, from olives, sunflower, rapeseed, soybean and others could provide us the highest benefits; however; we should consider choosing the proper types of oil to ensure that we get no or minimal negative health effects. Fats are essential for daily consumption, but we should get them from healthy sources.

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