Plant oils are usually extracted from different plants, especially the seeds. Just like most fats, the oils help to make food palatable, and can be used for purposes of cooking. There are many varieties of plant oils today and there seems to be no end in sight. In the local supermarkets today, there are different oils that you can choose to purchase because they are readily available.
One thing that is obvious is how easy it is to find plant oils that are refined instead of the ones that are cold pressed and fresh. However, such oils are added to processed foods. Some are also included in cosmetics and cleaning products.
Plant oils are not equal when it comes to health benefits. Some have more properties than others. There are some considerations that you need to make such as how the oil was made in the first place. Usually, the seed oils are first subjected to very high temperatures and sometime harsh chemicals are introduced. This makes the oil lose some of the nutrients that are supposed to be beneficial to our bodies.
As for the virgin oils, they are ground and centrifuged to separate the oil and the seed. The extra virgin oils usually need to meet very vigorous criteria in terms of chemical composition and purity.
When you are buying the plant oil, you need to consider how far it really is from the original form. In most cases, when refined oils are being created, they have to follow different steps. This includes mashing, bleaching, deodorizing, stripping, refining under high temperatures, chemical alterations, and so on.
Most of the plant oils are in liquid form and are almost never in solid form. When the weather gets cloudy and cold, the oil may become cloudy. The exceptions to this rule are coconut and some butter because of the fat content that is quite highly saturated. If you notice that oil is solid, it may be an indication that it has been altered chemically especially through hydrogenation.
Usually, the fats that are refined commercially have trans-fats. This comes during processing. What you notice is that most plant oils have a very high omega 3 content and that is why you should be using them instead of the refined options.
The most popular plants with a high omega 3 content include:
- Flax seed
- Hemp seed
- Pumpkin seed
- Walnut seed
The ones with higher monosaturated oil content include:
- Avocado seed
The plants with higher saturated oils include:
- Unrefined palm
- Unrefined coconut
The reason why you should avoid the commercial cooking oils is that they have a higher content of omega 6. Choosing an oil that provides your requirement of omega fatty acids is always a good way to go. There are some that are able to offer omega 3, 6, and 9, which are very essential for wellness, health, and vitality. They are better than flax and fish. It is always good to know the health benefits to expect from the oil you intend to use.