Vegetable oils provide a plethora of health benefits such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, better metabolism and digestion, lowers chances of breast cancer, and provides omega-3 fatty acids to the body.
A vegetable oil is a triglyceride extracted from a plant. The term 'vegetable oil' can be narrowly defined for referring only to plant oils that are liquid at room temperature, or broadly defined without regard to a substance's state of matter at a given temperature.
For this reason, vegetable oils that are solid at room temperature are sometimes called vegetable fats. In contrast to these triglycerides are vegetable waxes that lack glycerine in their structure. Although many plant parts may yield oil, in commercial practice, oil is extracted primarily from seeds.
Various oils have different nutritional components that help us but there are common elements such as vitamin E (Tocopherol), omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat and saturated fats. It contains 100% fats and lacks other important components like carbohydrates, calcium, iron, magnesium etc.
Vegetable oil may decrease the risk for developing heart diseases, according to a study conducted in State University of New York, Buffalo, and published by “The Journal of the American Medical Association” in February 1990.
The researchers of this study also observed that the factors associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases, such as increased blood sugar level, increased blood pressure and increased serum cholesterol level, normalized in participants who included vegetable oils in their regular diet.
According to a study conducted in Universita di Milano, Italy, and published in the November 1995 issue of the “Cancer Causes and Control” suggests that the regular use of olive oil and other vegetable oils may be beneficial in decreasing the risk for the development of breast cancer rather than those who consume butter and margarine.
Vegetables oils like coconut oil contains lauric acid (monolaurin), which is known to reduce candida, fight bacteria and create a hostile environment for viruses.
According to a study conducted in São Paulo State University, Brazil, and published in the October 2010 issue of the “Nutrition Journal” the intake of vegetable oil, particularly olive oil, may increase metabolism in obese people as olive oil contains phenolic compounds, substances that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting properties, which may possibly increase the body's metabolic rate.
Oils like safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, almond and wheat germ are all rich in vitamin E which is required in the body for cell protection and development. It protects body tissues such as skin, eyes, breasts, testes, and liver.
Alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acids, are found in soybean, canola and flaxseed oil, an anti-inflammatory which is why they are highly recommended for people suffering from chronic heart, skin and digestive concerns.
Tyrosine, in sesame oil, has been directly connected to serotonin activity and release in the brain, which can help boost mood by flooding the body with enzymes and hormones that make a person feel happy.
Olive oil is rich in oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol, which affect the development of acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation of the pancreas). Researchers have found that the components of extra virgin olive oil can protect from acute pancreatitis.
Olive oil contains many nutrients that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria. Studies have shown extra virgin olive oil to be effective against eight strains of bacteria, three of which are resistant to antibiotics.
Coconut oil has high levels of antioxidants that help to fight free radical which is a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis. Research on osteoporosis has found that coconut oil not only increases bone volume and structure in subjects, but also decreased bone loss due to osteoporosis.
Coconut also improves digestion as it helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, calcium and magnesium and thus helps to treat or prevent stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis. Coconut oil can help improve bacteria and gut health by destroying bad bacteria and candida.
Some oils like Peanut oil, Almond oil and Wheat Germ oil are rich in vitamin E which benefits our body, by improving the immune system. It acts as an anti-oxidant and protects the different body tissues such as skin and eyes, prevents heart diseases. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant controls free radicals, helps prevent blood clots and blockages in coronary arteries, thus helping in preventing cardiovascular ailments.
Vegetable oil is used for cooking and baking pastries and breads frying. They are used as an ingredient or component for soaps, skin products, candles, perfumes and other personal care and cosmetic products. Some oils are particularly suitable as drying oils, and are used in making paints and other wood treatment products. They are also used to make biodiesel, which can be used like conventional diesel.
Vegetable oils contain very large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess (except olive oil or coconut oil). Polyunsaturated fats tend to react with oxygen, which can cause chain reactions, damaging other structures and perhaps even vital structures like DNA.
Sometimes these fatty acids tend to sit in the cell membranes, increasing harmful oxidative chain reactions. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are used to make substances called eicosanoids in the body are unsaturated fats which are highly toxic and are associated with an increased risk of various diseases, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
However, a little known fact is that vegetable oils often contain massive amounts of trans fats. In one study, increased Omega-6 in breast milk was associated with asthma and eczema in young children.