Generally, oil is not associated with healthy meals or a healthy life. And why would it? It’s basically a mixture of fats necessary to cooking certain foods in certain ways and enhance the flavor of food.
But when you go beyond the surface is when things become clearer.
Oil is usually composed of saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are fat molecules with no double bonds within the fatty acid chain due to their saturation with hydrogen molecules. They are typically found in foods like lamb, pork, butter, cheese, fatty beef, etc.
Eating foods with saturated fats elevates the cholesterol levels in your blood and increase the likelihood of developing heart disease and stroke.
But not all unsaturated fats elevate cholesterol levels in the blood. Certain levels of saturated fats are required for the human body to function properly.
Palm oil and coconut oil are rich in saturated fats, but extensive research has shown that consuming these oils lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Unsaturated fats are considered healthier since they have at least one double bond within the fatty acid chain. They are of two types.
- Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) have only one double bond in the fatty acid chain.
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) have more than one double bond in the fatty acid chain
Trans-unsaturated fats (aka Trans fats) are another type of unsaturated fat that can be found in nature but only in small amounts. They became a widely produced product from vegetable fats, used in margarine, packaged baked goods, fast food, etc. Consumption of trans fats has been linked with weight gain and cardiovascular diseases.
Fats do serve as a good source of vitamins and antioxidants vital to the body’s proper functioning. But certain oils oxidize at high temperatures, producing harmful products that should not be ingested.
So, let’s consider the best edible oils for weight loss, improved blood glucose and boosted metabolism.
1.Medium Chain Triacylglycerol Oil
Medium Chain Triacylglycerol (MCT) fatty acids comprise 6 to 12 carbon atoms. They are easily oxidized in the body and are hardly ever stored as fat.
Consumption of MCT oil has been shown to facilitate the loss of fat and improves the body’s ability to lose weight and burn calories.
The most common sources of MCT is coconut oil and palm oil.
2. Olive Oil
Originating from the Mediterranean region, olive oil is extracted from the olive fruit. It is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants and reportedly prevents several diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils and is excellent to cook food when you aim to lose weight. Refined olive oil may not be as good as extra virgin olive oil; it has a high smoke point and can be used for cooking at high temperatures.
Research has shown that higher consumption of olive oil was shown to have significant effects of lowering one’s weight with little to no impact on increasing weight or obesity.
Ghee is clarified butter. While ghee is made from butter, the milk solids and impurities have been removed.
Ghee is rich in both K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – an antioxidant with anti-viral properties.
Not to mention ghee stimulates the secretion of gastric acid, which therefore assists the digestive system – and the better the digestive process, the more weight loss potential.
Like olive oil, canola oil is mostly used in cooking. Canola oil features a high smoke point, thus retaining its quality even when brought to a high temperature.
While it contains lesser amounts of antioxidants compared to olive oil, it features beneficial alpha-linolenic acid, a kind of omega-3 fatty acid.
Alpha-linolenic acid has been known to display anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disorders.
5.Rice Bran Oil
Rice bran oil is obtained by extraction from the rice husk. It contains Vitamin E and an antioxidant called y-oryzanol. It has been shown to improve blood cholesterol.
A study to investigate the influence of rice bran oil on hyperlipidemia (a condition where your blood has too many fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides) showed a significant reduction in weight, BMI, cholesterol, and blood lipid levels.
Consuming a diet supplemented with rice bran oil, according to the study, can improve weight loss and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Produced mainly in India, Mexico and the USA, safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant. It contains unsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E.
Research into safflower oil showed it improved the loss of fatty tissue, facilitated the increase of lean muscle and improved blood glucose.
Safflower oil was concluded to have little effect on BMI and body fat but is beneficial to weight loss.
Popular as cooking oil in South India, sesame oil is extracted from sesame seeds.
A study showed that sesame oil significantly reduces body weight and body mass, but the withdrawal of sesame oil led to an increase in body weight.
A healthy diet should feature a fat content of 25% to 30% of daily calorie intake. Saturated fats should be limited to 16g a day maximum.
Healthy oils aid in weight loss in various ways.
- Healthy oils produce unsaturated oils that do not increase one’s weight in any way.
- Healthy cooking oils enhance the nutritional value of food, like meat and fish, based on how they are cooked and the temperature at which they are cooked.
- Healthy cooking oils contain certain fats that boost metabolism which helps burn calories, improve blood glucose levels and reduce cholesterol.
Medium chain triglyceride oil and olive oil are the best healthy cooking oils to support weight loss with minimal adverse effects on the human body.
The less commonly used oils, saffron, rice bran, and safflower are also useful in preventing weight gain and facilitating weight loss.
The use of organic oils, at the right temperatures, is preferable and healthy.