Beverley Byer has been writing professionally for a number of years. Her work has been published in magazines and newspapers.
Comparing Three Cooking Oils
Professional chefs are recommending the use of grapeseed oil for our cooking needs because of its high nutritional value. But how does it compare with canola and peanut, two cooking oils that are also considered beneficial for good health?
Grapeseed (Cooking) Oil
- Made From: Cold-pressed grape seeds
- Flavor: Light and slightly nutty
- Smoke Point: High
Grapeseed oil comes from cold-pressing grape seeds. It is light, slightly nutty, and does not overwhelm the flavor of other foods. It has a high smoke point, so it can be used in high-temperature cooking such as deep-frying and baking. It also boasts a long shelf-life.
Nutritional value includes linoleic acid, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins with large quantities of vitamin E, minerals zinc, phosphorus, copper, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and iron, and flavonoids including high amounts of proanthocyandin. Grapeseed oil is also cholesterol-free.
Those nutrients enable grapeseed to provide us with loads of health benefits. Research indicates that it may help prevent certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It may also help suppress hemorrhoids, varicose veins, rheumatoid arthritis, premenstrual syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, visual impairments, and dental cavities.
It may also help relieve dermatitis, acne, dry skin, dry lips, age spots, other skin wounds, and body aches. It may regenerate stretch marks and wrinkles, and even give us healthy-looking hair.
Of course, if you are allergic to grapes, this product is not for you. Using too much of it can cause headaches, abdominal discomfort, and nausea. There is no available evidence to suggest poor drug interactions.
Peanut (Cooking) Oil
- Made From: Crushed peanuts
- Flavor: Somewhat sweet, with a peanutty aroma; it can also be tasteless
- Smoke Point: High
Peanut oil is made from crushing the plant’s nuts, or kernels. The color of the oil can be light yellow if refined, or deep yellow if cold-pressed. It can be tasteless or somewhat sweet with a fragrant, peanutty aroma. Like grapeseed oil, it is durable and has a high smoke point. Peanut oil is quite popular in Asian cuisine. If you have eaten Asian food, you may have noticed that its nuttiness does not overpower the other flavors.
Peanut oil is rich in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, especially omega-6 linoleic acid, and low in saturated fats. It is also cholesterol-free, has vitamin E, and healthy doses of phytosterols, especially B-sitosterol.
The main health benefit is that it may help prevent of heart disease. But it is also good for arthritis and many skin issues, including eczema and dry skin. Some companies are also adding it to products that aid constipation. An article on www.webmd.com claims that some people are using it to prevent cancer and suppress appetite for weight loss, as well.
Regarding side effects, if you are allergic to peanuts, refrain from using peanut oil. There is also a concern that peanut lectin may clog our arteries and cause heart disease. Like everything else, consumption in moderation is best.
Canola (Cooking) Oil
- Made From: Crushed canola plant seeds
- Flavor: Light
- Smoke Point: High
Canola oil is derived from crushing the seeds of the canola plant—not that of the rapeseed plant, as is often thought. Since the canola plant was created by crossbreeding rapeseed, it does contain erucic acid which is known to be toxic at high levels. However, it is quite low in canola and meets the requirement of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Canola oil is also light and versatile and can be used to make margarine and butter, for high-temperature cooking (because of its high smoke point), coating pans, and as an ingredient in sauces, salad dressings, and other foods.
Its nutritional value consists of high levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids with low quantities of the unhealthy saturated fats. In fact, of all the cooking oils regularly used in the United States, canola has the lowest amount of saturated fats, according to “Canola Cooking Oil Benefits,” an article written for www.webmd.com. It is also cholesterol-free and sodium-free.
Use of canola oil can reduce inflammation as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and other coronary issues. Medical researchers believe its high levels of fatty acids may also increase a child’s ability to learn.
Except for the disputed erucic acid, there are no reported side effects or drug interactions with the use of this cooking oil.
Which Is Best?
So, which is the best or healthiest cooking oil? Grapeseed oil gets my vote. But canola and peanut oils are also fine to use.
Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on August 26, 2012:
I use grapeseed oil and love it. I try to use those healthier oils in our home. I also put a drop in my dogs's food for their skin.