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The Ugly Truth About Vegetable Oil and How You Can Avoid It.

The Ugly Truth About Vegetable Oil and How You Can Avoid It.

Is oil healthy or unhealthy?

If you’re like most people, your answer will be unhealthy.

We associate oil with fat, and worry that it will make us gain weight. We think that too much oil can cause all sorts of harmful diseases.

That’s somewhat true, but it doesn’t give us the full story.

Most of the negative views we have around oil are based on highly-processed vegetable oils, which are often used in fast food, restaurants, and convenience foods.

While these vegetable oils can be bad for you, they’re not the only options.

Read on to find out exactly what’s wrong with vegetable oil, and what you should use instead.

Wait…what’s wrong with vegetable oil?

There are various different types of vegetable oil, which include:

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  • Corn
  • Sunflower
  • Canola
  • Soybean

Unlike more natural oils, which can be obtained by pressing, vegetable oils are obtained through a complex chemical process.

This process involves heating seeds to high temperatures, processing with a petroleum solvent, adding acid, and using deodorising chemicals. [1]

Doesn’t sound that appealing, does it?

It’s been shown that cooking with vegetable oils can release toxic chemicals which have been linked to cancer, heart disease and dementia. [2]

Many vegetable oils contain large amounts of trans fats, which are linked to obesity and various diseases, including cardiovascular disease. They can also increase your risk of conditions like asthma and eczema. [3]

Is this putting you off oil altogether?

Don’t despair.

We’ve listed plenty of healthy, delicious alternatives to vegetable oil below.

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How do I know which healthy oil I should use?

If you’re looking for a healthy fat to replace vegetable oil, you’re in the right place.

The oils below each have different benefits, and can be used in cooking, frying, baking, salad dressings, and more.

Read on for full details on each healthy fat.

1. Olive oil

    Olive oil is pressed from whole olives, and is available in a few different varieties.

    Extra virgin olive oil: Has a fruity taste, is low in acid, and is ideal for drizzling onto salads.

    Virgin olive oil: Has a pleasant taste and is fairly low in acid. Can be used for cooking or in salads.

    Olive oil: A blend of refined and virgin olive oil. Less flavourful than the other options, suitable for all purposes.

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    Olive oil has many health benefits, including: [4]

    • Helping protect against heart disease
    • Helping prevent strokes
    • Anti-inflammatory properties
    • Anti-bacterial properties

    For the greatest health benefits, choose extra virgin olive oil.

    2. Coconut oil

      Coconut oil is becoming really popular, and it’s easy to see why. It contains healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids, which are:

      • Easy to digest
      • Converted to energy, rather than stored as fat
      • Anti-fungal and anti-microbial

      There’s evidence to suggest that coconut oil can help keep the liver healthy, reduce the risk of heart disease, and boost the immune system. [5]

      3. Avocado oil

        Avocado oil isn’t just trendy – it also has some really unique health benefits. [6]

        These include:

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        • Being high in vitamin E
        • Helping your body to absorb nutrients
        • Reducing inflammation
        • Lowering blood pressure

        Avocado oil has a unique flavour and is ideal for creating tasty salad dressings.

        4. Sesame oil

          Sesame oil is a healthy alternative to regular vegetable oils, and it’s commonly used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.

          The benefits of sesame oil include: [7]

          • Promoting healthy skin and hair
          • Keeping the heart healthy
          • Improving circulation and metabolism
          • Helping bone growth

          5. Flaxseed oil

            Flaxseed oil is pretty special, as it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Since these acids are usually found in fish, it’s a great option if you’re vegetarian or vegan. [8]

            Flaxseed oil can also:

            • Help weight loss
            • Reduce digestive problems
            • Increase collagen production
            • Reduce eczema

            Although healthy oils can be good for you in small amounts, it’s still important to watch your intake. Too much of any type of oil can be bad for the body, so be sure to stick to recommended daily amounts.

            You don’t need to give up oil to be healthy – just choose wisely.

            Featured photo credit: Huffpost via huffingtonpost.com

            Reference

            More by this author

            Eloise Best

            Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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            Last Updated on January 11, 2021

            11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

            11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

            Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

            Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

            1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

            Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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            2. Stress Relief

            Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

            3. Improved Sleep

            Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

            4. Appetite Control

            Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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            5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

            When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

            6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

            Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

            7. Mosquito Repellant

            Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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            8. Pain Relief

            While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

            9. The New Anti-Viral

            Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

            10. Improved Cognitive Function

            Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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            11. Money Saving

            With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

            Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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