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Oil in turmoil: Which type of cooking oil should you use?

We all know oil is the kernel of a healthy diet. The source in which your food is cooked is as important as the food itself, maybe more. It is at the center of your heart health, immunity and the truth about oil has long been hidden from us. But now with the internet spreading information with lightning speed, the myths about different types of oils are busted on a daily basis in a responsible manner. And at the very center of it is the debate of Refined oils vs cold press oils.

Though conventionally refined oils are very affordable, the seeds from which the oil is extracted are heated at a very high temperature. Then chemicals like parabens are added to the refinery for the maximum yield from the ingredients. Due to these methods, the micronutrients & micro-oils are lost in the final product, rendering it unhealthy & tasteless.

On the other hand, cold-pressed oil is derived from an all-natural, organic process. The seeds are just pressured under a press to extract oil from them. A traditional Kacchi Ghani or pestle and mortar method are used. The oilseeds are cleaned and dried to remove any moisture in sunlight. Then the seeds are simply crushed to ooze out oil. The use of Ghani, either mechanical or hand-driven, generates friction-heat, but it is very low. Hence cold-pressed oils retain essential nutrients, along with the taste & original flavor.

Refined oil manufacturing - Oilseeds are crushed and treated in a steam bath at 100 to 110 degrees Celcius. The mixture of oil & seed pulp is chemically treated with a hexane solvent to extract any residual oil from the pulp. The resulting mixture is then put in a centrifuge and phosphate is used to separate oil from the seed residue. Then water is added. The resulting product contains impurities like pigments, fatty acids & waxes. Caustic soda is used to remove these impurities. The refined oil is lighter in color, less viscous, and easily prone to oxidation. Bleaching is done to remove off-colored materials.

Cold-pressed oils are India’s ancient culture. Archeologists have found Kachi Ghani dating back to the Harappa civilization. Ayurveda also emphasizes the use of pure cold-pressed oil for your daily cooking practices. Variants like sesame, coconut can be used as a salad dressing or against body ailments too. It is Anti Inflammatory, has ideal omega 3 to omega 6 to omega 9 fatty acid ratio.

The shelf life of cold-pressed oils is 6 to 9 months as no chemicals are used in making, where Natural shelf life is much longer as a high number of chemical preservatives are used for refined oils.

Big brands of refined oils painted a bad picture of cold-pressed oils. They were said to contain fats & cholesterol that are harmful to the heart. But the truth is, cold-pressed oils such as coconut or peanut oils contain healthy cholesterols which are beneficial for the body. There are many varieties of cold-pressed oils available in the market and you can simply buy some medicinal & cooking cold-pressed oils online. Cold-pressed oil is an all-natural, labor-intensive process hence it is a little bit expensive, but it is worth it. Equally great for heart & health, it is definitely the choice for a better future.