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Edible oil forms an integral part of the diet, largely influencing not only the taste of the food but also the overall health of an individual. The right selection of oil for cooking can help to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases, responsible for high mortality rates across the world. The secret to choosing the right oil lies in how the oil is actually prepared from its source. The input materials and techniques used to press the oil have a direct influence on the properties of the oil, which in turn determines our cholesterol levels upon its consumption. With the rising awareness about health, consumers are showing a great inclination towards cold-pressed oils as they are considered healthier alternatives to regular oils/hot-pressed oils. But how do the two differ? Let's find out.
Cold-pressed oils are extracted just by pressing seeds, nuts, or vegetables using low or no heat during the process. The extraction method does not require the use of any harmful chemicals since it only involves obtaining oil by naturally crushing it. There is no need for pre-preparation or preconditioning of seeds/input materials. Cold pressing does not require much energy and is performed under lower temperatures. The natural extraction process makes the oil low in acidic value thus it does not require refining and can be readily used immediately after precipitation and filtration. However, most of the regular oils are not ideal for cold-pressing, such as soybean, sesame seeds, cottonseed, peanut, etc. as toxins present in metamorphic oils must be removed from refining. Also, the moisture content is not stable in cold-pressed oils so it is not ideal for long-term storage.
Hot-pressed oils are prepared from squeezing seeds, vegetables, or other ingredients using external heat, friction, and continuous pressure. Before extracting oils, the seeds are heated by roasting. Since the seeds tend to lose their fragrance by roasting, chemicals are added. Adding chemicals also help to increase the yield. Treating the raw seeds with chemicals at high temperatures can make their colour dark and also increase their acidic value. Therefore, the extracted oil undergoes refining, which also helps to remove dust particles, stone particles, etc. for its shiny appearance.
Since the cold-pressed oils do not undergo any extensive treatment or contain harmful chemicals, they retain more nutrition as well as antioxidants along with sustaining a rich taste and aroma. The cold-pressed oils contain valuable unsaturated fatty acids, tocopherols, and phenolic compounds that stabilize the oil with respect to auto-oxidation. The nutritional content of cold-pressed oils depends on their source, but many of them are rich in Vitamin E and provide anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. However, the high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes cold-pressed oil unsuitable for frying as the high temperature can degrade its quality, flavour, and aroma. If you plan to switch to cold-pressed oils, make sure to use them in raw form or use moderate heat while cooking dishes for good flavour and health.
Hot-pressed oils lose most of their nutritional value during high-temperature processing. The use of additives, chemicals, and extensive heat tend to series destruct the plant cells, denature protein, reduce oil viscosity, and bioactive substances such as carotenoids, vitamin C, sterol endure massive loss. Rich in fat concentration, refined oils are more suitable for frying or cooking at high temperatures due to their high smoke points. Also, hot-pressed oils have a long shelf-life and retain the fragrance for a long-time and yield more.
Here are the benefits of cold-pressed oils you need to know:
The rich concentration of zinc, vitamin A, C, E, D, potassium, omega 3, and omega 6 in cold-pressed oils protect the liver from oxidative damage, lowers cholesterol levels, and support the immune system. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil reduce the risk of chronic diseases and cancer formation in the body.
Apart from ingesting the oil, one can use the oil topically to improve skin health and hair quality. Packed with Vitamin A, E, and antioxidants, cold-pressed oil locks in moisture to prevent dryness, prevents signs of ageing and promotes hair growth. Since the oil is not greasy, its application over the skin does not clog pores.
Packed with high levels of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, cold-pressed oils slow down the absorption of fat and regulate blood sugar levels, which aid the management of diabetes.
High in saturated fats, regular consumption of cold-pressed oils boost good cholesterol in the body and turns bad cholesterol into good cholesterol to keep heart diseases at bay. Also, the oil is light and easy to digest so it is good for your digestion and promotes liver health.
(authored by Mr. Shreyansh Jain, Ayurvedic Expert & CEO, Medy365.com)
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