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Which oil is healthier?

by Manny (follow)
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Nutrition (240)     
I find myself faced with the question "Which is the healthier oil?" Although there are many oils, I've considered olive oil, canola oil and sunflower oil.



Olive oil: generic image


In the last 2-3 years oils rich in vitamin-E (canola, soybean and corn) have been recognised due to their health benefits but the research also suggests that these allegedly healthy vitamin E-rich oils may have adverse health effects, and possibly lead to lung inflammation and asthma (as per Feinberg School of Medicine).

The Feinberg study reports that these oils, though containing vitamin-E, also contain a compound called gamma-tocopherol which can affect the functioning of the lung. But the other form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol generally found in olive oil, does you good.

While the study compared the proportion of patients with asthmatic symptoms from several countries, they found that those with lower rates of asthma and lung diseases consumed more olive and sunflower oils whereas people with more asthma/respiratory diseases allegedly consume more corn and canola oil, while a slight portion consumed soybean oil.

CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) report results for individual lung function tests at four intervals from baseline to 20 years which were recorded and studied. It was found that a high level of gamma-tocopherol was associated with a 10-17% reduction in healthy lung function. People with asthma or respiratory disorders already have lower lung function, so if they consume high gamma-tocopherol levels, they would have even more difficulty breathing, according to Respiratory Research journals.

Medical experts, in conjunction with nutritionists generally agree that with the empirical data they have so far, they can confidently say that olive oil is the healthier choice.

Olive oil also leads to satiety, shows one study. Germany's Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) studied 4 edible fats and oils - lard, butterfat, rapeseed oil and olive oil. Participants ate 500gm of low-fat yoghurt enriched with one of the four fats each day over 3 months added to their regular diet and exercise patterns. The found that olive oil had the biggest satiety effect. The group subjected to olive oil diet showed a higher concentration of the hormone for satisfaction in their blood and the participants also reported that the olive oil yoghurt was very filling.



Olive oil: generic image


In my opinion, although olive oil is probably the healthiest oil, it is still advisable to change oils from time to time, because:
our bodies benefit most from a wide variety of foods, including oils
one type of oil cannot be used for all types of cooking (sauteing, frying, deep-frying, dressing) - try ghee or coconut oil for cooking as they have high smoke points
oil rotation can give our body mixed proportions of fatty acids, essential for balancing
rules of consumption: each oil has it's own pros and cons and certain methods to be followed for use in cooking, hence it's vital to know how an oil should be used before deciding on one
moderation is the key for it all.

Related articles
* How to consume oil the smart way
* What is ghee and is it good for me?

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Top Answers
I was told a long time ago that Rice bran oil is healthy -I have not done any research on this, however I know it can go to higher temperatures than olive oil so is useful sometimes in cooking when you need a really hot oil.

I use this for cooking, and olive oil for salads etc.

I also believe that macadamia oil is very healthy.
by Finy
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