For years, health experts have warned us about consuming too much fat. However, recent studies have shown that not all fats are bad. In particular, coconut, olive, and avocado oils bring a host of health benefits that oils like palm, canola, and soybean lack. Deciding which oil is best for you and your family is about more than just taste. Therefore, here is a rundown of three very healthy cooking oils' production methods and health benefits.
Coconut Farmers Have Many Ways to Extract Oil
Of the many techniques for obtaining coconut oil, each produces a lipid of varying quality. The small independent farmers usually use expeller presses (also called hot presses). Several of the nutrients in hot-pressed oil are degraded by heat, mitigating their nutritional benefits. To extract coconut oil from coconut milk, some producers use heated centrifuges. They might also use hexane or other chemicals to distill coconut flesh. If not done correctly, these treatments might leave chemical residues and pose a health risk.
Like olives or avocadoes, coconuts can use cold presses; however, they require specialized tools to open first. These instruments and the expertise needed raise labor expenses. Nevertheless, the purity of virgin coconut oil makes it an appealing product that has gained popularity in the west over the past decade.
Coconut Oil Benefits Include Skin, Digestion, and Teeth
Coconut oil is distinct from other dietary fats since it's constituted chiefly of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). Our bodies can digest these lipids more quickly than others and derive additional benefits from them as well. One of the MCFAs is lauric acid, which adds to coconut oil's antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Coconut oil may help prevent and cure mild to severe chronic skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis. It also helps with eczema and psoriasis. Coconut oil's lauric acid has a strong affinity for hair protein and may permeate the hair shaft due to its structure. There are many implications for lauric acid in hair care, and several clinical trials are ongoing.
Oil pulling (or swishing) is an old Indian ayurvedic therapy for oral health. Recent research shows consuming coconut oil may reduce plaque and gingivitis and help prevent cavities. However, as with hair treatment, further well-designed randomized controlled studies are required to assess the efficacy of coconut oil for dental hygiene.
Olive Oil Production Is an Ancient Practice
Traditional olive presses were powered by animals and crushed the olives into pulp. Next, they arranged the pulp in baskets of woven help, willow, rushes, or palm fronds. Then, a large stone or weight would exert pressure on the pulp, expelling oil and water through the fibrous basket and into a vat. After rising, workers could retrieve the oil and sometimes filter it to improve its purity.
Modern olive oil producers use similar techniques, with some mechanical innovations. Stackable fiber discs are easier to clean and maintain than handcrafted baskets. Therefore, olive farmers employ centrifuges to separate oil and water, improving cleanliness. High-quality olives are untreated with either heat or chemicals, yielding "cold-pressed" and "virgin" oils.
Heat treatment removes impurities from low-quality olives, but the flavor suffers as a result. However, modern olive oil facilities can maintain excellent quality by cleaning the grindstones, fiber discs, and centrifuges.
Olive Oil May Have Psychological and Neurological Health Benefits
Olive oil is a Mediterranean staple, and studies show its heart-health advantages. These include improving cholesterol and lowering blood pressure, which reduces heart disease risk. In addition, according to a significant study, olive oil is the only monounsaturated lipid connected to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Inflammation may contribute to Alzheimer's and type-2 diabetes. Antioxidants, especially oleic acid in olive oil, reduce inflammation and C-Reactive Protein (CRP), an inflammation marker. In addition, extra virgin olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a polyphenol. This chemical functions as a natural anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen. This helpful trait may alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Olive oil reduces the risk of depression when consumed as part of a nutritious diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fatty seafood. Moreover, a 2015 study revealed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or almonds might lessen the incidence of Alzheimer's. Finally, encouraging preliminary scholarship suggests olive oil's high polyphenol content may protect against type-2 diabetes and cancer.
Avocados Don't Keep Oil in Their Seeds
Like conventional olive oil, most avocado oil is extracted mechanically. The primary distinction is that the oil originates from the flesh of the avocado rather than the seed. The producer must first remove the peel and seed. Then, they grind the meat into a pulp and heat it to aid in oil extraction.
Avocado oil is more heat resistant than olive oil; hence there is a larger range of allowable temperatures for avocado oil to remain "cold pressed." The avocado pulp, like olives, is centrifuged to separate the pulp, water, and oil. Producers often send the solid waste back to the farm for use as fertilizer or animal feed.
Coconut, olive, and avocado oils give your home cooking a fabulous splash of flavor. These crops have been dietary staples for thousands of years, and the health benefits keep one civilization after another coming back to them. The anti-inflammatory effects are great for our immune systems; the other benefits cover brain, heart, skin, and skin health. The combination of nutrition and flavor makes these oils an obvious choice a dinner time.
Moderation – Although these fats are healthy, they are not low-calorie foods. Therefore, moderation is the best policy, as there can always be too much of a good thing!
Seek Sustainability – Healthy for you does not mean healthy for all. Try to buy oils that are labeled Certified Organic and Fairtrade whenever possible. High demand means that producers cut corners, and you don't want to harm the environment inadvertently.
Mix and Match – Although you might have a preference, it's always a good idea to vary your nutritional intake. For example, if you are a huge fan of olive oil, switch things up and try coconut. You get a slightly different lipid profile, and the flavor may surprise you!