Are Refined Oil Products Good For You?
There are several different kinds of oils on the market, and some are healthier than others. It all depends on how they are processed. To understand the different types, you first need to know how each of them is made. It is equally important to know which are ideal for each cooking situation. Some are better for cooking and others for skincare. Here is an overview of the various kinds of oils and what they are used for.
The difference in refined and unrefined oils, all depends on the process in which it is made. Unrefined oils are cold, or expeller-pressed oils that have not been bleached or deodorized. They do not go through the high-heat processes that refined oils go through. This means that it retains most of its nutrients. It also keeps most of the flavor from the vegetable that it derives from. Unrefined oils include oils such as raw, pure, virgin, or extra virgin oils. This is determined by how many times the materials were pressed to extract the oil. Depending on the type of unrefined oil, the process can vary.
Unrefined oils are better used in low to no heat situations. High heat cooking will ruin the integrity of the oil, making it lose its nutritional value and flavor. This makes them ideal for making a salad dressing or vinaigrette. However, they can be added to a dish afterward to enhance the flavor. A great example of this is adding an unrefined oil to a pasta dish.
Most tree oils can do wonders for your skin. Unrefined oils specifically provide high levels of vitamins B and E, as well as antioxidants. This helps in enhancing the texture and quality of the skin. It also helps to protect the skin from eczema and helps to prevent the acceleration of the aging process. A few teaspoons a day should do the trick.
Great Unrefined Oils
Almond oil is high in unsaturated fats. This makes it ideal for reducing heart disease and obesity. Mainly, it is high in monounsaturated fat. This type of fat helps to lower high blood pressure. Monounsaturated fat has been known to increase HDL levels, which is the good kind of cholesterol. Almond oil is also said to lower your bad cholesterol, due to its low LDL (low-density lipoproteins). LDL is considered bad cholesterol because it clogs the arteries. Almond oil has a mildly sweet and nutty taste, with a hint of butter. Plus, its smoke point isn’t as low as many of the other tree oils. Almond oil is great outside of the kitchen as well. It boasts great benefits for your skin, hair, and is even excellent for aromatherapy.
Avocado oil is made through the expeller pressing process. There is a refined version available, but it isn’t as nutritionally valuable. The smoke point of avocado oil is quite high at 520-degrees Fahrenheit. This means that it can be used for high-temperature cooking. However, it is still best suited for salad dressing or a bread dip. The unrefined version has a buttery flavor, with a grassy hint. Avocado oil decreases inflammation and improves your cholesterol.
Canola oil is made from rapeseed and goes typically through the expeller process. It is suitable for baking and stir-frying, with a smoke point of 400-degrees Fahrenheit. It is also a good base for making mayonnaise. This is because its flavor is neutral and doesn’t stand out too much. Canola oil’s benefits include lowering your LDL and triglyceride levels, as well as improving your insulin sensitivity. This makes it great for people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Refined by definition means to purify, but there isn’t much purity when it comes to refined oils. During the extraction process, refined oils have a variety of chemicals added to them. These chemicals can be very harmful to us as opposed to unrefined oils. In an attempt to avoid oxidation, they are bleached and deodorized. Refined oils go through a high-heat process that rids the oil of a lot of the nutrients that would otherwise be found in them. They are lacking in fatty acids, antioxidants, the anti-inflammatory benefits found in unrefined oils.
Refined oils are better for high-temperature cooking than unrefined oils. This is because their smoke point is usually a lot higher. However, this also takes away from much of the sumptuous flavor found in unrefined oils. Finally, they do not boast the skin benefits that you get from unrefined oil, but if you must, I would recommend finding an organic version. Refined oils are actually a bit less expensive than unrefined oils. So, there is that. Aside from price, unrefined oils are definitely the better option.
Great Refined Oils
Walnut oil contains a large amount of omega-3 fats, which is one of the good kinds of fat. It is also rich in antioxidants. These two factors contribute to its viability in heart health and the prevention of cancer. Walnuts have also been known to improve brain function. Studies have shown that consistent consumption of walnut oil reduces the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. This is also linked to the notable presence of antioxidants in walnut oil. The potassium found in walnut oil has also been known to defend against hair loss, speeding up the process of hair growth. It also has plenty of vitamins such as vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, and E. However, walnuts are among the most allergenic foods. So, you should be sure that you are not allergic before consuming walnut oil. The smoking point of refined walnut oil is 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
Rice Bran Oil
Rice bran oil is extracted from the inner husk of rice grains. It has the right balance of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats. This means it is considered pretty heart-healthy. Rice bran oil contains a large amount of vitamin E tocotrienols and vitamin K. Tocotrienols help fight damage to the gastrointestinal system. Rice bran oil also lowers LDL levels and reduces the risk of cancer. Its smoke point is 490-degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it excellent for high-heat situations, such as stir-frying, grilling, and sautéing.
Hazelnut oil is best used for cold dishes, similar to walnut oil. So, if you are making a vinaigrette or dressing, then this is the way to go. It has a pleasant nutty taste, and its smoke point is relatively decent at 430-degrees Fahrenheit. Hazelnut oil is great for salads and pasta dishes.
Refined vs. Unrefined
The verdict is in, and unrefined oil is the clear winner. It has many more health benefits and is much more versatile than refined oils. Refined oils are still better for high heat cooking and are more cost-friendly. However, if you are concerned about your health, I would recommend splurging on unrefined oils.