Olive oil can be great for Indian cooking too
Olive oil for good health!

When we hear of olive oil, we imagine it as the oil used for Western cooking which involves low temperatures and shorter cooking time. So far the common understanding was that olive oil is best suited for pastas and salads. We cannot imagine an aloo gobi cooked in olive oil;forget frying samosas in it!

Contrary to this perception, turns out that olive oil seems to fare better than other conventional oils for deep frying.

Temperature for frying is usually around 180 degree Celsius. Oils used for frying should be able to withstand such high temperatures. Basically, the oil should not degrade or change its composition adversely when subjected to very high heat conditions.There are two main factors to be considered here:

  1. Smoke point – As the name suggests, it is the temperature at which oil begins to smoke i.e. release clearly visible bluish vapours. It indicates that the fatty acids in the oils are starting to decompose imparting an unpleasant flavour and taste to the oil. Needless to say, its nutritional value declines drastically.
Cooking oil Smoke point
Sunflower oil 107
Olive pomace oil 238
Extra virgin olive oil 242
Rice bran oil 254
Mustard seed oil
Refined Groundnut oil 232
Refined Safflower oil 266

2) Anti-oxidant content- This indicates the amounts of antioxidants present in oils which can help prevent its oxidation i.e. spoilage when it comes in contact with oxygen in the air. Anti-oxidant activity is measured by the presence of antioxidant compounds such as vitamin E, phenolic substances, carotenoids, etc.

Benefits of using olive oil

Olive oil, especially the pomace variety, does not undergo major structural changes during frying and hence retains its nutritive value as well as taste. It is also one of the richest source of antioxidants thereby preventing spoilage when exposed to air.

The temperature while frying foods reaches upto 210 degree Celsius and the smoke point of olive oil is fairly below at 180 degree celsius

Experts have also observed that olive oil forms a layer/coating onto the foods preventing oil from getting inside the food and improving its flavour. So the overall oil content of foods fried in olive oil is much lower compared to other foods

Cost-benefit analysis

Oil Price
Olive oil , Pomace 200-300 per litre
Extra virgin olive oil 300-500/L
Mustard seed oil /kachi ghani 150 -200/L
Peanut oil 150-200/L
Saffola oil 130-150/L
Ricebran oil 115 – 150/L
Sunflower oil 80-120/L

Although olive oil is one of the costliest oils in the market, the range of health benefits definitely outweigh its cost. The process of extraction of olive oil is very cumbersome and requires great deal of perfection resulting in higher costs. The end result is an antioxidant rich oil promising great taste and health.

Even Indian cooking can be done easily using olive oil, even for deep frying. Oil can be used for making stir fried vegetables, paneer tikkas, corn chat, mushrooms, etc. We do not endorse deep fat frying as a favourable method of cooking but if it is inevitable, then olive oil is a better medium for frying compared to other oils.
Also, the bottomline is that no matter how healthy is the oil we chose , our requirements remain the same i.e. 500ml per person per month.

Stay informed with eKincare – your personal health manager!

Website : ekincare.com

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Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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