Choosing the right Oil.....

Posted by : Guhan Periasamy
Posted Date : 17 Jun, 2018


Choosing the right Oil.......

Coconut oil has long been shadowed by competing edible oils stating that ‘All Saturated Fats are bad’ for consumption. In fact purest form of coconut oil ‘Virgin Coconut Oil’ is the best oil that mother nature has offered to human, which is rich with its nutrients and anti-microbial properties that helps both inner and outer well-being of its consumers.

Choosing the right oil for cooking….

There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of oil by choosing the right oil – be it for cooking or any other form of consumption.  Few things are to be kept in mind while considering a healthy oil:

  • How the oil is made?
  • What is the smoke point of the oil and when it becomes bad and release body harming free radicals?
  • The structure or backbone of the oil and how it is treated by our body


How oil is made is an important fact for one to know as whether the oil is good; and whether it contains all natural nutrients that the source of the oil seed offers. Try to avoid any oil that is Refined, Bleached and Deodorized(RBD). RBD refers to one type of   oil manufacturing process.  This process indicates that the oil goes through a refining procedure which strips out natural colour and flavour from the oil, though it helps remove the contaminants that may have resulted during the drying or extraction of the oil. This procedure   also removes many natural nutrients from the oil and is subjected to higher degree of heat.  One also is advised to avoid buying solvent extracted oil which is subjected to chemicals for oil extraction and hydrogenated oils. Always prefer un-refined, cold-pressed and natural oil, which doesn’t go through any refining or hydrogenation or other type of processing. ‘Virgin’ is the term that came from the extraction method used in Olive oil industry meaning ‘first pressed and not by applying heat’. This term also applies to Virgin Coconut oil, which is extracted using cold-pressed method and not subjected to heat.

It is essential to understand the manufacturing process of any oil because that enables  a consumer to understand the benefits of the product.  Choosing Virgin Coconut Oil makes lot sense because virgin coconut oil is cold-pressed and extracted from fresh coconuts and not from dry coconuts (copra).

Why smoke point of an oil is important? It is essential to know that  when oil reaches its smoke point, it breaks down in to free fatty acids as the chemical composition changes and produces toxic fumes, further it releases  harmful free radicals and carcinogens(cancer causing agents)too. Saturated fats are more stable and have higher smoke point. The lower the Free Fatty Acid; the  higher the smoke point. Smoke point for Virgin Coconut oil is 177c and is suitable for cooking and frying, though one should avoid repeated use of the same for frying. Please note that some of the poly unsaturated oil such as Sunflower and Canola might claim that they are free from Free Fatty acids in their label but they are easily oxidizable; and there are many concerns about the negative health effects from intake of oxidized oils.

Why structure of oil is important? Firstly one has to understand that not all fats (oils) are same and it is treated differently by our body as an energy source. For humans, we need equal amounts of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat for our body function and well-being. When it comes to fat, the biggest source of fat is from oil and therefore choosing the right oil is very important.

Oil fats may, broadly,  be   classified into three types - Saturated fat, Mono unsaturated fat, Poly unsaturated fat.  Out of these, Saturated fat, that coconut oil contains is considered much more stable due to its underlying carbon and hydrogen structure and it does not oxidise easily. Further, it has longer shelf life and does not break down easily during cooking as compared to other form of fat(mono and polyunsaturated) which oxidise easily.  One has to understand as how  fat gets digested by human body!  Normally fat needs enzymes from saliva, stomach, pancreas and bile acid for it to break down before it passes through intestine and in to the bloodstream before liver uses it for energy or stores it as fat.  Oils with longer carbon chains often referred as long chain fatty acid such as Sunflower oil, Canola oil etc.

 When it comes to Coconut Oil, it has more than 60% of its fatty acid as Medium Chain Fatty Acid ;and the digestion of this is not the same as other fats.  Medium Chain Fatty acid does not need higher amount of enzymes released by Pancreas or even Bile Acid to break it down. It  gets converted to energy by liver without passing through the route the longer chain fats does. This means that Virgin Coconut oil is converted into energy quicker than other forms of oil and not stored as fat in the body.  Another important thing to note is that as the liver processes the Medium Chain Fatty acids, it generates Ketones which is an alternate form of energy for body and used by brain as alternate source of energy.  As Virgin Coconut oil is rich in NATURAL Saturated fats, some of the evidence of the benefits and use of are:

  • When Babies are fed solid food while switching from mother’s milk to solid food, traditionally in India and other coconut consuming community, they mix the food with Coconut Oil, which aids better digestion of the foods as the Child’s digestion track is not fully developed, while providing the Lauric Acid which mothers’ milk has, Lauric acid (abundant in Coconut) plays an important role in developing better immune system and development of brain for the child.
  • Virgin Coconut oil is being used to help address brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and there are number of reports stating the benefit of Ketones from Virgin Coconut Oil in renewing damaged brain cells of elderly
  • As Virgin Coconut Oil digestion does not put stress on Pancreas, which plays a key role in regulating blood sugar via insulin, Pancreas is likely to work more on its secondary function of regulating blood sugar
  • With its rich Anti bacterial and Anti viral properties, regular consumption of Virgin Coconut oil as part of the diet improves the immune system
  • Virgin Coconut oil when taken in proper dosages can help in getting rid of irritable bowel syndromes while help improving digestion
  • And there are many more benefits of what our mother nature has offered us in the form natural saturated fat ie Virgin Coconut Oil


Virgin Coconut oil for skin and hair, with its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties it is excellent source for nourishing the skin as well as the hair.

For hair it helps cure, improve and preserve hair health by moisturising the hair and cleans the scalp. You can use Virgin Coconut oil as a wash-out conditioner or as a leave-in conditioner, for those looking to address hair fall issues or dandruff, applying Virgin Coconut oil on dampened hair and leaving it for 1-2 hours before regular wash, twice weekly would help address the problem in matter of weeks.

For skin, unlike other moisturizing solutions that contain water, Virgin Coconut oil helps in skin cleansing and moisturising. It helps remove dead cells and strengthens the tissues present underneath the skin. It is being widely used to treat eczema, psoriasis and other skin problems. Many natural, Siddha or Ayurvedic, medicines contain Coconut oil as the main ingredient.


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Vignesh Bangalore

Posted on :- 18 Jun, 2018

Excellent information for common people like me to understand in choosing oil for cooking

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