Plant-based oils are often called vegetable oils because they are mostly derived directly from the seeds of vegetables. However, some plant-based oils are extracted from fruits, grains, and nuts.
Once the triglycerides have been extracted from the vegetable seeds, they are purified. Some oils are chemically altered before arriving at the grocery store, ready for you to buy in a bottle.
There is a wide range of plant-based oils, and they are all comprised of a mixture of triglycerides. Popular oils include:
You can also get other derivatives of the seeds of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. For example, soybeans can also produce soybean meal, as sold by US Soy.
What Are the Benefits of Plant-Based Oils?
Plant-based oils have a wide range of health benefits. Nutritionally, they’re all different. Some contain more unsaturated fats than others, and each one is abundant in a unique range of micronutrients.
Here are some of the benefits of plant-based oils.
1. Improved Heart Health
The omega-3 fatty acids in plant-based oils have been shown to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels in the blood. These unsaturated fatty acids can also help to lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
Many people take a supplement to increase their intake of omega-3s but if you’d rather get your unsaturated fatty acids from natural sources, vegetable oils are the perfect way to do so.
2. No Trans Fats
Unlike butter and other animal products, plant-based oils are trans fat-free. Trans fats have been closely linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.
3. Reduced Menopausal Symptoms
Research suggests that some plant-based oils can reduce menopausal symptoms. In particular, vegetable oils were shown to lower the severity of hot flushes, which is a common symptom in menopause.
4. High Micronutrient Content
Every plant-based oil contains a selection of micronutrients. They tend to be high in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
If you want to increase your micronutrient intake or you have a nutrient deficiency, incorporating more plant-based oils into your diet will help.
5. Improved Flavor
You can use vegetable oils to fry ingredients to create a main meal or you can drizzle it on top of salads and bread rolls. Popular cooking oils include soybean oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Peanut oil is commonly used in salad dressings because of its unique flavor.
Using vegetable oils in your cooking not only enhances the flavor but also adds extra nutrients and omega-3s to your meals.
6. Healthier Hair
The benefits of plant-based oils aren’t exclusive to cooking and nutrition. Many vegetable oils are beneficial for hair health too.
Take a look at the labels of your favorite hair care products and it won’t take long for you to spot a plant-based oil as one of the ingredients. Common oils used in hair products include avocado, coconut, and jojoba oils.