Healthy oils: which are the best?

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That’s why it’s worth using oil

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends choosing healthy fats from plants over animal fats such as butter or lard. Vegetable oils also contain a lot of calories, but also vital vitamin E and essential fatty acids . These are important for an optimal supply of nutrients. While animal fats often contain a lot of saturated fatty acids, vegetable oils contain valuable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acids (omega 9), linoleic acids (omega 6) and linolenic acids ( omega 3 ). If you consume more good fats, you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and control cholesterol levels.

Cold-pressed or refined oils?

Oils differ in terms of their degree of processing. There are untreated, cold-pressed oils (virgin oils) and refined ones. When buying oil, assume that you are holding a refined oil if it does not explicitly say “cold-pressed” or “virgin” on the label. The key difference is in the taste. The composition of the fatty acids is hardly affected by the refining process. However, vitamin E and secondary plant substances are lost in this process.

Refined oils are usually more neutral in taste and smell, can be heated to higher temperatures and, above all, are much cheaper. The reason: refining produces significantly more oil than cold pressing. In addition, the quality requirements are lower.

Rapeseed oil is the oil of choice

Rapeseed oil has the lowest proportion of saturated fatty acids and contains a high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids (63 percent) as well as the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. It also contains a lot of vitamin E. Another special feature of rapeseed oil is that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is very favorable at 2:1 and can therefore be optimally utilized by the body.

“Maximum 5:1: five parts omega-6 and one part omega-3 – that would be an optimal fatty acid ratio. Rapeseed oil comes closest with a ratio of 2:1.”

100 grams of rapeseed oil contains the following fatty acids:

  • 7 grams of saturated fatty acids
  • 62 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids
  • 29 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids
    • of which 20 grams of linoleic acid
    • and 9 grams of alpha-linolenic acid

It’s no wonder that rapeseed oil is the most popular oil for private consumption in Germany. In addition to the health aspects, rapeseed oil is a real all-rounder: it is suitable for frying, stewing and also excellent for baking. Even though vegetable oils are very healthy, like all fats they provide a lot of calories. As a guide, the DGE recommends consuming around 10 to 15 grams of oil per day.

Olive oil: The star of monounsaturated fatty acids

The popular oil from Mediterranean cuisine is also a good choice due to its high content of almost 80 percent monounsaturated fatty acids. Olive oil also contains a high proportion of monounsaturated oleic acids and secondary plant substances . The content of antioxidant polyphenols, for example, is higher than in other vegetable oils. Due to the substances with antioxidant properties, olive oil is even said to have anti-inflammatory effects, lower blood pressure and slow down skin aging.

Due to its natural antioxidants, olive oil can be heated to a higher temperature than other oils and is ideal for frying. However, it should not be stored in the refrigerator as it will curdle. If stored in a dark, airtight place, olive oil will stay fresh for up to 18 months.

Linseed oil, walnut oil and soybean oil: rated very valuable

Cooking oils from soy plants, walnut kernels and linseed also contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids and, along with rapeseed oil, are also recommended for consumption by the DGE.

linseed oil

Linseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is obtained from ripe flax and has a nutty and mild taste and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Just ten grams of the oil cover an adult’s daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids . It is very sensitive to heat and is therefore suitable for cold dishes. Refine salads and yoghurt with the valuable oil. Always store linseed oil in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Its shelf life is one month.

Walnut oil

The delicious oil is extracted from ripe, partially roasted walnuts: Walnut oil is available cold-pressed and refined on the market. It contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and has a nutty and slightly bitter taste. It can be used in both cold and warm dishes. The taste is particularly fine in desserts, biscuits and cakes. Walnut oil is not suitable for frying because it is sensitive to heat. Store walnut oil in an airtight, dark place; sunlight will quickly make the oil rancid. Once opened, it should be used up quickly.

Soybean oil

The oil extracted from the soy plant has a neutral taste, with a slight bean flavour . Thanks to its good heat resistance, soy oil can be used for frying without any problems. Anyone who is allergic to nuts or birch pollen should first try soy oil in small quantities. Store soy oil in a dark, airtight container. Once opened, it will stay fresh for a maximum of three months.

However, you should avoid these oils

  • Coconut oil: It is extracted from coconuts and, like animal fats, is rich in saturated fatty acids. It is therefore better to consume it in moderation. It also has a bad environmental impact, as coconuts grow in ecologically sensitive areas and the oil has to travel a long way to Europe.
  • Palm oil and palm kernel oil: Obtained from the oil palm. Both oils also contain a high amount of saturated fatty acids, which has an adverse effect on blood lipids. In addition, cultivation is often associated with ecological problems, which is why palm oil should only be used sparingly and should come from sustainable production.
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