- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Edible Essential Oils: What Are They?
Introduction to Edible Oils
If you've taken the time to read the labels of several food products in the market, then you might have stumbled upon the term “edible oil” listed as one of the ingredients. Like other types of essential oils, these are derived from natural plant materials. However, oils come in different variety, grade, and concentration that ultimately affects whether or not they can be edible.
There are also other essential oils that are industrially produced, which means they contain synthetic products that make them harmful to be taken internally. To give you a better understanding, edible oils are plant-derived that consist of carboxylic acids. Petroleum-based oils lack these acids, which is responsible in making an oil edible. There are several factors such as the length of the hydrocarbon chain that determine the rate of metabolism and whether the oil is saturated or not, which helps to identify whether a given oil is beneficial to include in your diet or not.
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Common Edible Essential Oils
You may not be aware but most households deal with edible essential oils on an everyday basis – in the form of cooking oil. These types of oils are the most common and widely used essential oils since they produce vibrant flavors and bring irresistible aroma to a dish, the exact same reasons why they are properly used in aromatherapy.
The most common edible essential oils in the market are used as cooking oil. Here are some of them.
This popular cooking and vegetable oil is extracted from the olive plant, which is a crop that grows mostly in the Mediterranean that explains why it is a huge component of the Mediterranean cuisine. A great variety of olive oils are currently available to choose from in the market: virgin olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, and pomace olive oil.
Olive oil is rich in essential fatty acids including palmitic and oleic acid. Hence, it is safe enough to use topically on your skin to treat various illnesses. When included in your diet, olive oil is known to reduce your risks to developing cardiovascular diseases.
Sunflower oil is produced through the expression method using the seeds of the sunflower plant. This type of oil is rich in vitamin E and several fatty acids, which could vary according to the grade and variety of sunflower oil.
This oil is commonly used as a frying oil and is known to produce several health benefits when used in cooking. Its low saturated fat content and high vitamin E content is believed to reduce risks of cardiovascular disease. It is also gentle enough to use as natural skin care products, which helps add moisture and protective layer on your skin.
Like sunflower oil, sesame oil is also derived from the seed of the plant source. But it is more popular worldwide as a cooking oil such as in South India and most parts of Southeast Asia. The main reason for this is that sesame oil is a relatively healthy kind of oil with lots of essential fatty acids including linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and linolenic while also being rich in flavor.
Sesame oil is also considered the queen of oils due to its healing capacity, which have been utilized for thousands of years. Among its therapeutic properties make it a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. It is no wonder why most prefer using sesame oil as cooking oil or to add into their salad dressings.
All About Almond Oil
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This type of edible essential oil is extracted from a nut ingredient, specifically those of the Almond tree. Aside from the popularity of the almond nut itself, it also has a wide range of use in the field of aromatherapy. It is more commonly used as a carrier oil but offers a wide range of benefits when used as a cooking oil. Apart from adding vitality and flavor into the dish, almond oil adds several health benefits into your diet since it is rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats with practically no carbohydrates.
Soybean oil is a very common type of vegetable edible oil. It is commonly seen as ingredients for several food products. One reason for this is that soybean oil is relatively cheaper than other types of vegetable oils, contains a lot of healthy substances, and has high smoke point. And since it is a vegetable oil, it contains no cholesterol and reduces risks for heart diseases.
The soybean material from which the oil is extracted from is rich in antioxidants, which are preserved even after the extraction process. You will often see soybean oil as an ingredient in several food products in the market such as bread, non-dairy coffee creams, salad dressings, margarine, mayonnaise, sandwich spreads, among others.
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Mufa Minute: Flaxseed Oil
Corn oil is extracted from the germ or maize of a corn plant. With a high smoke point, corn oil (especially the refined variety) is considered a valuable type of oil in the food industry. One reason for its immense popularity as an edible oil is due to the mild taste and it comes with a cheaper price tag. Corn oil is largely used in cooking and manufacture of several food products such as margarine. Other usage of corn oil include biodiesel, textile, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industry.
Other Examples of Edible Oils
There are as much list of edible oils as there are essential oils, especially given that most of these are produced using natural plant sources. However, you need to make sure that the oil is properly diluted to ensure your own safety when taking them orally. If you are not sure, you can consult any expert aromatherapist that you might know. One tip: if you can eat the plant source, then it is most likely that the essential oils produced from it is edible.
Meanwhile, here are some more edible essential oils that you can try using apart from the ones discussed above: