We all have been through a phase in life where we became so concerned about our health that we started questioning our eating choices. At moments like these, the first and foremost doubt that arises in mind is always sabout the oil we use for cooking.
When we talk about different types of cooking oils, many options are available, but the most commonly used oils are vegetable oil and olive oil. Now the main question is: which is healthier? There is no one-line answer in the vegetable oil vs. olive oil debate. So let’s have a detailed analysis of both to look at which one to go for.
Vegetable oil is extracted from seeds or grains and is the most commonly used oil for cooking. Vegetable oil is synthetically refined and has a neutral flavor. Cooking in vegetable oil is an economical option and not as expensive as other oils, so most people prefer to cook in it.
Vegetable oils are both edible and non-edible. However, most of them are edible, and only the edible variety is used in cooking. The plant seeds go through grinding, bleaching, and deodorizing processes to make them eatable, but much of the antioxidants are lost in the process. Vegetable oil goes through a lot of processing to come to the state where it can be consumed.
Sources of Vegetable Oil
As the name suggests, vegetable oils are derived from plant-based sources such as seeds, fruits, and even grains. Nuts can also be the source of vegetable oil, depending on the type of oil.
Types of Vegetable Oil
The type of vegetable oil depends upon where it is extracted from. They are extracted from food crops, fruits, and seeds. Some of the types of vegetable oil are listed below.
- Coconut oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Palm oil
- Peanut oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Argan oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Avocado oil
Uses of Vegetable Oil
Although vegetable oil’s primary use is in cooking, it can also be used for various industrial purposes like making soaps, candles, cosmetic products, paints. It can also be used as fuel. Vegetable oil was used as a lubricant in the past.
Below is a quick overview of the nutritional values of 1 tablespoon of pure vegetable oil.
- Calories: 120
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated fats: 2g
- Monounsaturated fats: 3g
- Polyunsaturated fats: 8g
Besides these, vegetable oil contains vitamin A, vitamin E, omega-3, and omega-6 that might benefit health.
Health Benefits of Vegetable Oil
A general perception is that vegetable oil is not beneficial for health. That might be true to some extent but not 100% correct. There are some health benefits of vegetable oil. Let’s have a look.
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Many vegetable oils are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins like Vitamin A, D, and E. These antioxidants are beneficial for our health and improve our immune system. They help protect important tissues of the body, such as skin and eyes. Other than that, these antioxidants keep our brain cells healthy and active by defending them from harmful radicals.
2. Helps In Improving Food Flavor
Edible cooking oils like peanut, olive, and soybean are healthy, but they also enhance the flavor of the food; hence they are widely used in cooking. Because of its aroma, peanut oil or groundnut oil is a favorite for dressing, sautéing, and cooking when used as a filtered oil.
3. Naturally Trans-fat-free
According to research, vegetable oils are naturally free of trans fats. Trans fats that are common in animal products increase your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and even death. As a result, oils like refined palm oil and other vegetable oils are used in the food industry to replace hydrogenated vegetable fats, which may contain harmful trans fats.
4. Helps in Softening Cracked Feet
In addition to using vegetable oil for making food, you can also use it to moisturize your skin and feet. According to a research article, vegetable oil is perfect if you have rough feet as it moisturizes the skin of the feet. Make sure to rub the cracked feet with vegetable oil, like coconut oil, and cover them with soft socks before going to bed. This will help nourish cracked heels and the natural smoothening of the feet.
5. Helps in Removing Splinters
According to a study, using vegetable oil is one of the most effective methods to remove splinters. Soaking the finger in vegetable oil for a few minutes softens the skin enough to pull out the splinter with tweezers.
6. Good for Heart Health
According to research, you can improve your heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by adding some healthy vegetable oils like soy oil, canola oil, corn oil, and safflower oil to your diet. These oils contain polyunsaturated fat and are rich in essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6. To adopt a healthy lifestyle, you must add healthy vegetable oils to your diet.
7. Improves Metabolism
The healthy fats of the vegetable oils have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-blood clotting properties that may increase your body’s metabolic rate. It means if you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t skip oils. Instead, choose the one that helps you by increasing your body’s metabolism.
8. Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer
Research shows that higher consumption of vegetable oils is not associated with the development of breast cancer. Instead, it can be beneficial to prevent breast cancer and reduce its progress. So it acts as a protective factor against it.
9. Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for overall health and are good for heart health, promote brain health, early-stage development during pregnancy, and boost the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids are substances our body can’t produce naturally and are obtained from external sources. Vegetable oils are proven to be a good source of these essential nutrients.
10. Reduces Menopausal Symptoms
Various vegetable oils might be good for relieving menopausal symptoms like hot flushes. Although there is not a lot of research on the topic, it is proved by a few studies that adding vegetable oils to your diet helps relieve menopausal symptoms.
Olive oil is produced by crushing olives and extracting liquid fat from them. They are so beneficial to health and packed with many nutrients. They can be used widely for cooking, dressing salads, and other beauty and cosmetic purposes.
Sources of Olive Oil
Olives are obtained from olive trees, often found in the Mediterranean region. These olives are harvested and then crushed to obtain oil from them. This olive oil is then stored in stainless steel containers to protect it from oxygen.
Types of Olive Oil
The types of olive oil vary according to the kind of olive, extraction process, flavors, and color. The following are the types of olive oil you will find in the market.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Virgin olive oil
- Pure olive oil
- Refined olive oil
- Pomace olive oil
Uses of Olive Oil
Olive oil is basically used for cooking. It is also used for dressing salad, baking, frying, and body massage and is used in many cosmetic products due to its skin benefits. It can be used as a fuel and used in different religions for religious activities.
Here is the nutritional value of 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Calories: 119
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 13.5 g
- Saturated fats: 1.9 g
- Monounsaturated fats: 9.9 g
- Polyunsaturated fats: 1.4 g
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil is packed with beneficial nutrients. It has so many health benefits that it is referred to as “liquid gold.” Some of the benefits are listed below.
1. Packed with Antioxidants
Olive oil contains many antioxidants that are beneficial in many aspects, such as improving the immune system, preventing various diseases, and slowing down the aging process to keep you young and healthy for a longer time.
2. It Has Solid Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and even obesity. According to a study done on extra-virgin olive oil, it was revealed that it has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be one of the primary reasons for its health benefits.
Antioxidants are the primary mediators of anti-inflammatory effects. Among them is oleocanthal, which has been proven to work similarly to the anti-inflammatory drug Ibuprofen.
3. It Helps In Preventing Strokes
Stroke is caused due to the blood flow’s disturbance to your brain due to a blood clot or internal bleeding. It is the second cause of death in developed countries, trailing only heart disease. The link between olive oil and stroke risk has been extensively researched.
According to an extensive study review involving 101,460 people, olive oil was the only source of monosaturated fat associated with a lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
4. Helps In Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes deformed and painful joints. Even though the exact causes are unknown, it appears that your immune system is mistakenly attacking normal cells. A study on olive oil supplements proves that it helps improve inflammatory markers and reduce oxidative stress in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
5. It Doesn’t Lead To Weight Gain and Obesity
Excessive fat consumption leads to weight gain. However, studies have linked the Mediterranean diet high in olive oil to weight loss. In a 30-month study of over 7,000 Spanish college students, consuming olive oil was not related to increased weight.
Furthermore, a three-year study of 187 participants discovered that a high-olive oil diet was associated with higher levels of antioxidants in the blood and weight loss.
6. Beneficial for Cardiovascular Health
If you want to be healthy and keep your heart healthy, replace your oil with olive oil. Studies show that olive oil is beneficial for cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, dilating blood vessels, and preventing blood clotting, which reduces the risk of strokes.
7. Helpful for Treating Depression
Omega-3 fatty acids present in olive oil are perfect for mental health and reduce the risk of psychological disorders, including depression and anxiety. Researches prove that consumption of unsaturated fats, the ones present in olive oil, is likely to treat and prevent depression.
8. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
It is a proven fact that olive oil helps prevent cancer and helps in treating cancer due to antioxidants and its anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Regulates Cholesterol Levels
Research shows that consuming olive oil instead of other refined oils helps regulate cholesterol levels, which means it is also helpful in controlling high blood pressure and regulating high blood sugar levels. This keeps you away from many cardiac diseases.
10. Helps Lose Weight
Skipping oil and fats is not a good practice while losing weight. Olive oil can be a great option to give your body essential fats without affecting weight. Olive is proven to be helpful in weight loss.
11. Prevent Alzheimer’s
A study shows that extra virgin olive oil is good for neurological health, preserves memory, and keeps you safe from Alzheimer’s disease.
Vegetable Oil vs. Olive Oil – Which Is Healthier?
After a detailed analysis of vegetable oil and olive oil, we can tell that extra virgin olive oil is a healthier option. It has a lot of additional benefits and has almost no side effects. The oil you use for cooking is your choice, but olive oil is healthier, according to studies and research.
When we talk about which one’s the better choice between vegetable oil and olive oil, both have their benefits, but olive oil is comparatively healthier and safer to consume. If there is one oil in the world that you must incorporate into your daily diet, then it won’t be wrong to say that olive oil is the best choice. Whether it is the taste you are worried about or your health, olive oil will never disappoint you.
On top of everything, you can also use olive oil as a dressing over your favorite salads.