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5 common cooking oils -- the right way of using them

Doubtful whether you're using your cooking oil correctly? Here's a mini-guide for using different oils correctly.

Cooking oilEvery woman wants the best for her family when it comes to food. And one of the greatest confusion faced by women is choosing the right kind of cooking oil and using it in the right way. Oil is an unavoidable part of cooking and with so many types and brands of oil available in the market, it only adds to the confusion.

Oil is used in cooking for various purposes like shallow frying, deep frying and saut ing. For every purpose the amount of time for which oil is exposed to heat is variable. One of the basic things you should remember is that different types of oils have different smoking point (the point beyond which oil becomes useless because fats in the oil start breaking down) and therefore may not be suitable for all cooking purposes.

Here's some useful information on common types of cooking oils and tips for using them correctly.

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1. Coconut oil: It's widely used in all parts of the country. Coconut oil is considered unhealthy. But the fact is that it contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good type of fats). It also contains omega 3 fats which lowers the risk of cancers and neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease. Refined coconut oil has a high smoking point (232 C) and is best suited for frying at high temperatures. It can be also used for grilling, tempering and seasoning foods. Unrefined coconut oil has a lower smoke point (177 C) but the nutrient value is higher than refined oil. Read more about the coconut controversy is it really all bad?

2. Groundnut/peanut oil: With a smoking point of 232 C, groundnut oil can be used for all cooking purposes. It has a good lipid profile and contains more of monounsaturated fats. It also has a longer shelf life than other cooking oils.

3. Sunflower oil: The smoking point of sunflower oil is similar to groundnut oil (232 C) therefore can be used for cooking at moderate to high temperatures, salad dressings and shortening. But as far as health benefits are concerned sunflower oil is better than groundnut oil because it has more of polyunsaturated fats and is rich in vitamin E. Read more about how vitamin E can help you stay healthy and young

4. Rice bran oil: Rice bran oilhas a smoking point of 254 C and is best suited for frying, saut ing, dressing, grilling and baking. It has the best balance of saturated and unsaturated fats and is also rich in antioxidants which are stable even at high temperatures.

5. Olive oil: Olive oil is the key ingredient of Mediterranean diet. It is rich in unsaturated fats and has a lot of health benefits. There are different types of olive oil available in the market and each one of them has a different smoking point. Here are top 10 health benefits of olive oil

Extra Virgin olive oil is directly extracted from the olive fruit. It has the lowest smoking point (160 C) among all types of olive oils. Hence it's not suitable for cooking, frying, saut ing or deep frying. It's best to use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing and drizzling.

Virgin olive oil is also extracted directly from olives but it has higher acidity than extra virgin olive oil because riper fruits are used for extraction. It has slightly greater smoking point (216 C). It can be used for saut ing or cooking at low and medium temperatures.

Light olive oil and extra light olive oil is obtained from refined olive oil and is usually a combination of virgin olive oils. They have a higher smoking point (242 C) and can be a good choice for baking as well as for cooking at higher temperatures.

Read more about how to choose the right cooking oil? and Is your cooking oil making you unhealthy?

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