By: Yussuf Omar
What are they?
Seed oils (or vegetable oils) are highly processed oils derived from seeds. The most commonly used seed oils are: canola (rapeseed), soybean, and palm.
These oils are mainly extracted using hexane. This is due to the efficiency of this method since over 90% of the oil is retained and the substance’s solubilizing ability is kept intact.
The problem with this method is that hexane is poisonous to humans, but the horrors of what’s done to these oils doesn’t stop there. After the hexane extraction, most of the oil becomes rancid and stinks, so manufacturers then bleach and deodorize these oils so consumers don’t have to deal with the smell. Instead, you’re left to deal with the harms these rancid oils do to your body.
Oxidized and Rancid
Seeds oils are full of poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and due to their double bond, these fats are very unstable. The improper storage of these oils, by exposing them to heat and light early on, only makes things worse, consequently accelerating the oxidation process. Once these toxic oxidized oils are consumed, they lead to oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Oxidative stress and inflammation then leads to an array of diseases.
Another consequence of the overheating of seed oils is the creation of trans fats, the accumulation of this fat is known to lead to heart disease and other illnesses. These oils also tend to accrue in cells in the form of linoleic acid. The storage of these oxidized lipids lead to cells being prone to oxidation and skin cancer.
Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio
Fatty acids are essential to the human body, and since we don’t naturally create them we’re required to get them from our food instead. The ratio between these two fats is ideally supposed to be 1:1, but due to overconsumption recently the ratio is on average 20:1 now.
Seed oils are high in Omega 6, which tends to usually cause a little inflammation, but since Omega 3’s are naturally anti-inflammatory the two are supposed to balance out. Because of the sheer abundance of Omega 6’s in seed oils, the inflammation easily wins out.
After being bombarded with all the negatives regarding seed oils, you’re probably in search of a healthy alternative. The good news is that you don’t have to look far; the ideal alternatives are likely in your kitchen already.
Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are your friend when it comes to cooking oils, these fats are much more stable and can withstand high temperatures without oxidation. Grass-fed butter, ghee, and tallow are all great animal based sources of these fats, while avocado, coconut, and olive oil are great plant based sources. You can find all of these oils with minimal processing, and each one will be exponentially better for your health.
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