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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 September 28, 2020

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

            Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

            One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

            When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

            So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

            Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

            This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

            Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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            When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

            Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

            One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

            Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

            An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

            When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

            Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

            Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

            We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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            By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

            Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

            While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

            I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

            You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

            Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

            When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

            Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

            Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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            Con #2: Less Human Interaction

            One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

            Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

            Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

            This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

            While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

            Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

            Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

            This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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            For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

            Con #4: Unique Distractions

            Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

            For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

            To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

            Final Thoughts

            Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

            We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

            More About Working From Home

            Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

            Reference

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