Whenever there is the talk of healthy food choices and which oil is good for health, you must have definitely come across the term cold-pressed or virgin or extra-virgin oils. Cold-pressed oils, also known as virgin, pure, or cold-drawn oils are considered to be the purest forms of edible oils and good for health. Chemical methods are used for the extraction of branded refined oils. They could have harmful effects on heart health. Today, we will talk about the benefits of cold-pressed oils and consider the top reasons why you should make a switch to these oils in your daily cooking.
The process of oil extraction:
It is easier to understand the benefits of cold-pressed oils by understanding the oil extraction process. This process is the key to preserving the nutrients in edible oils.
Extraction process of refined oils:
The typical industrial or commercial oil extraction process begins by using a mechanical extractor for pressing the constituents followed by chemical extraction.
- The mechanical extractor presses the oilseeds (sesame, groundnut, sunflower, mustard, or rapeseed) or coconut pieces to make a ‘meal’ or ‘cake.’
- The ‘meal’ is subjected to very high temperatures (up to 270°C) to start the oil extraction process.
- Solvents such as hexane and petroleum ether are used to extract oil from this ‘meal’.
- The edible oil dissolves in the solvent passed through the ‘meal.’
- The oil plus solvent mixture is then subjected to degumming/neutralization/washing procedures.
- The resultant oil is bleached to attain uniformity in color.
- It is finally deodorized to remove any odours.
The process of cold-pressing to obtain oils is very simple.
- Oil is extracted by using a ‘Ghani.’ It has a mortar and pestle kind of arrangement. The oilseeds or coconut pieces are ground or pressed without application of heat. Hence the method is known as ‘cold pressing.’
- The resultant oil is filtered and ready to use.
Top 10 reasons why you should switch to cold-pressed oils:
Taking into consideration the harmful effects of the commercial extraction process and the benefits of cold-pressed oils, here are the top 10 reasons for switching to cold-pressed oil:
- Commercial processes make use of very high temperatures, which results in the loss of antioxidants like tocopherols and sterols. This process also produces free radicals and trans fatty acids (TFA), and polymeric components. All of these are potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents. The free radicals can cause other illnesses like Alzheimer’s. Cold-pressed oils are devoid of free radicals. The cold pressing process doesn’t produce any free radicals as heat is neither applied externally nor generated.
- High temperatures used to produce refined oils destroy Vitamin E and beta-carotene in the oil. Cold pressed oils retain all the healthy qualities of the oilseeds. Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
- Solvents like hexane and petroleum ether can have deleterious effects on the human body if the solvent plus oil mixture is not properly processed. Hexane can cause depression of the central nervous system and dermatitis. Cold-pressed oils do not need such harmful chemicals for production.
- Sometimes for the commercial production of palm oil and coconut oil, a process of degumming involving the addition of phosphoric acid is required. Degumming removes the calcium and magnesium salts of phosphatidic acid. Virgin Coconut oil is made from the first-pressed milk extracted by cold pressing coconuts. This milk is then fermented for 2 days to turn into oil which is then filtered. No degumming or any other process which results in the removal of healthy vitamins and minerals is used to obtain cold pressed oils.
- Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) is used for the neutralisation process of refined oils for removing free fatty acids.
- Acid-activated bleaching earth or bentonite is used for the bleaching process in manufacturing refined oils.
- The cold-pressing method retains the natural healthy antioxidants in the oil, which are otherwise destroyed by heat.
- Cold-pressed oils are a rich source of oleic acid and lauric acid, which are great immune system boosters.
- Cold-pressed oils improve the good cholesterol or the HDL in our body and act as carriers to aid in the removal of the bad cholesterol or the LDL from our body. Refined oils leave our body with no cholesterol.
- Cold-pressed oils help in energizing the body. After regular consumption of cold-pressed oils, users have seen an uprise in their overall energy levels.
A discussion about the benefits of cold-pressed oils cannot end without talking about the benefits of cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for weight loss. Much has been said about this oil in recent times through the Veeramachaneni diet (VRK diet). You can refer to our article on the VRK diet here.
Benefits of cold-pressed coconut oil for weight loss:
- The cold pressing process retains the essential antioxidants and vitamins.
- Lauric acid present in coconut oil helps to kill harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses. This essential component is lost in the commercial oil extraction process and retained during cold pressing.
- Coconut oil contains a type of fat known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are converted to ketones in the liver.
- Ketones have a powerful effect on the brain, therefore their long-term use can help treat conditions like epilepsy.
- When the body goes into ketone metabolism, weight loss becomes easier because appetite is reduced on a ketone diet.
- Studies have shown that MCTs can help boost brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Several studies have shown that coconut oil consumption is good for heart health since it helps raise the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the body.
- Indian cooking processes subject oils to very high temperatures. Coconut oil is very stable when heated to high temperatures due to the presence of short and medium chain fatty acids. Hence it is recommended for deep frying.
- Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil retains all the essential nutrients and is healthy for the skin, hair, and teeth.
- The cold pressing process retains the antioxidants and essential vitamins in the oil.
Mesmara offers an impressive collection of cold-pressed oils, including cold-pressed sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and cold-pressed groundnut oil. Reap the immense benefits of cold pressed oils without losing the taste. SWITCH TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE by using cold-pressed oils in your daily cooking!!