Something else that the vegetarian should be concerned about is cooking oil. Most people use it daily when preparing meals. And, contrary to popular belief, not all cooking oil is bad for you, though it is best when used in small amounts. Vegans especially benefit from using a bit of oil in their foods since many vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat soluble. However, you should be very aware of which oils you are using since some oils are healthy and some are not.
Oils to avoid
If you go to a typical grocery store baking ailse and pick up vegetable oil, what you are seeing is actually usually soybean or some similar oil processed under high heat, pressure, and with the use of industrial solvents. Yuck. While soybeans are a complete protein, soybean oil processed in this way is not the healthiest for our bodies. This oil, as well as corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, safflower, and other similar oils are full of polyunsaturated fats, and when they are processed in this way they are prone to oxidation and may produce free radicals. Free radicals- which can damage cells, protein, and DNA by altering their chemical structure- are not good.
You also want to avoid hydrogenated oils at all costs. The chemical structure of hydrogenated oils has been changed to resemble a plastic more than an oil. Sure, it will cause the margarine it is in to last a long time and that is good for it's shelf life. But, once hydrogenated oil is in your body, your body doesn't know what to do with it and it takes months to be cleared from your body. It is extremely unhealthy.
Oils to use
Coconut oil is a wonderful oil to use in cooking. It is mostly saturated fat, and is much less reactive to light and heat. Therefore it should not produce free radicals. As a matter of fact, it actually has anti-oxidant properties! Coconut oil is very healthy. It is effective for weight loss. It is also beneficial for the immune system, digestion, heart, and has various other benefits.
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil- which is oil from the first pressing, is also a good choice to use in cooking at low temperatures. It is rich in vitamins E, K, A and hundreds of micro-nutrients. Olive oil has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, prevent cancer, and lower the risk of gallstones.
Now that you know which oils are healthiest for you, embrace them in your cooking. Use them in moderation, of course, and enjoy good health.