There seems to be no end to the debate on which cooking oil is the best. In this article, I try and find out the key pros and cons of each oil after detailed analysis. But have highlighted only the key pros and cons for you to make an informed decision. At the end of the article, I knew what oil I should make the shift to. Hope you get to know too!

Sunflower oil

The oil that is pressed from the seeds of sunflower is one of the most widely used vegetable oils for cooking.

Pros: Sunflower oil boosts immunity and protects against certain respiratory problems such as Asthma.

Cons: Sunflower oil has high Omega 6 content. This omega 6 fatty acid is needed by the body but too much (if used for frying, etc)is not good. The omega 6 fatty acid is likely to aggravate inflammation and cause health problems. Sunflower oil also generates large amounts of aldehydes which is not good for health.

sunflower oil

Rice bran oil

Rice bran oil is the oil made from husk. This oil has been used in cuisines such as Chinese and Japanese and is now slowly spreading to other countries. Although, still not popularly used it is becoming a choice in many households.

Pros: Rice bran oil is rich in Vitamin E, anti oxidants and essential fatty acids. Due to the presence of anti-oxidants, rice bran oil also fight diseases. Rice bran oil can also fight against symptoms of menopause including hot flushes.

Cons: The oil contains large quantities of Omega 9 and Omega 6 fatty acids but low in Omega 3. This is quite bad given that it has around 60% of Omega 6 and 9 acids while only 2% of Omega 3. This high Omega 6 content just like sunflower oil is found to cause inflammation and even increase cancer risk.

Gingelly Oil (Sesame oil)

The oil that is pressed from sesame seeds is gingelly oil. It has been used in various countries for cooking but is being replaced by other cooking oils these days. But gingelly oil has excellent properties and can also be used for oil pulling.

Pros: This oil is abundant in zinc and can be great for your hair, skin and nails. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to cure bone and joint problems. For those with arthritis, gingelly oil can help to reduce the inflammation and pain due to the presence of an anti-inflammatory compound called sesamol in it. The oil also has anti-oxidants and helps to fight against various diseases including cancer. Gingelly oil has also been found to be good for your heart.

Cons: It is high in calories since this oil consists of pure fat, although a major part of it is healthy fat and can actually be good for you. Still – calories are calories! It  is low in vitamins and minerals.

Sesame oil

Olive oil

The oil extracted from olives is referred to as Olive oil and is a widely used oil in cooking and salad dressing. This was initially more popular in the Mediterranean and European regions and now throughout the world for its properties.

Pros: Olive oil has anti oxidant properties and reduces the risk of breast cancer due to the presence of certain component called oleic acid that is present in this oil. When olive oil is eaten along with vegetables and greens, as a salad dressing it can lower blood pressure by creating a nitro fatty acid. Hence these salads can also be good for the heart.

Cons: Olive oil is seen to cause allergies for some – such as respiratory problems, dermatitis and weight gain. But like any oil, weight gain is normal is consumed in large quantities since the oil contain fat. But since oil is anyways an indispensable part of our diet, we can consume it in small quantities.

oil pulling

Groundnut oil (Peanut oil)

The oil extracted from peanuts is peanut oil and has been used  for centuries now as a cooking oil in multiple cuisines.

Pros: Peanut oil is similar to olive oil in terms of it being high in mono unsaturated fat which is good for health. And the great news is that this oil is cholesterol free and also free of trans-fat. Peanut oil is rich in vitamin E, anti-oxidants and β-sitosterol. The presence of this β-sitosterol reduces the risk of heart disease according to the FDA. The anti-oxidants in peanut oil fight against cancer causing cells.

Cons: Many are allergic to peanuts and may also be allergic to peanut oil. It is important to test once with very small amounts before you make your choice of cooking oil.

Grapeseed oil

The oil that is extracted from the seeds of grapes is referred to as grapeseed oil. This is not the most popular choice for cooking but nevertheless used by many.

Pros: Grapeseed oil is rich in Vitamin E and linoleic acid.

Cons: Omega 6 fatty acids are found in abundance in grapeseed oil and is really low in nutrients. It also has lot of saturated fats that are not healthy at all. The process of making this oil involves a lot of harsh and harmful chemicals and may not be a healthy choice.

My two cents here – skip this oil unless you don’t have a choice.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.