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What is Cold Pressed Oil? and why is it considered good?

Cold-pressed oil is a type of edible oil that is extracted from various nuts, seeds, or fruits through a mechanical process known as cold pressing. Unlike conventional methods that involve heat and chemicals, cold pressing utilizes mechanical pressure at low temperatures to extract the oil. This method retains the natural flavors, colors, nutrients, and antioxidants present in the seeds or nuts, making cold-pressed oils a popular choice among health-conscious consumers.

​History of cold pressed oil:

Do you know that the origins of the Cold Pressed oil can be traced down to the Indus Valley Civilization? Yes, you read that right. Charred sesame seeds and oil-pressing machines were found in the ruins of Harappa. After examination, they were dated to be more than 5000 years old!

'Chekku', 'Ghani' and 'Kolhu' oil are some colloquial words used in India to describe cold pressed oil. Infact, in olden times, a long cylindrical instrument known as 'ghani' was used to extract oil from oilseeds. According to the book ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’ by K.T. Achaya, ‘ghani’ was a mortar and pestle device made of stone or wood that people used to crush oilseeds.

Cold pressed and regular oils: Know the difference :

Cold-pressed oils and regular (refined) oils are distinct in terms of their extraction methods, nutritional profiles, flavors, and potential benefits. Let's delve into the key differences between these two types of oils:

1. Extraction Process:

  • Cold-Pressed Oils: Cold-pressed oils are extracted using mechanical methods, such as hydraulic presses or screw presses, at temperatures typically below 120°F (49°C). This low-temperature process helps retain the natural flavors, colors, nutrients, and antioxidants present in the seeds or nuts.

  • Regular (Refined) Oils: Regular oils, also known as refined oils, are extracted using heat, chemical solvents, and sometimes bleaching and deodorizing processes. These processes remove impurities, but they can also strip the oils of some of their natural nutrients and flavors.

2. Nutritional Content:

  • Cold-Pressed Oils: Due to their gentle extraction process, cold-pressed oils retain more of their natural nutritional components, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. This makes cold-pressed oils a preferred choice for those seeking nutrient-rich options.

  • Regular (Refined) Oils: Refined oils may undergo processes that result in a loss of certain nutrients and antioxidants. However, they generally have a higher smoke point (temperature at which the oil starts to smoke and break down) compared to cold-pressed oils, making them suitable for higher-heat cooking methods.

3. Flavor and Aroma:

  • Cold-Pressed Oils: Cold-pressed oils tend to have a more pronounced and distinct flavor and aroma. For instance, cold-pressed olive oil may have a rich, fruity taste, while cold-pressed sesame oil might have a nutty and earthy aroma.

  • Regular (Refined) Oils: Refined oils often have a milder and neutral flavor profile due to the removal of some natural compounds. This can make them suitable for dishes where you want the oil's flavor to be less prominent.

4. Smoke Point:

  • Cold-Pressed Oils: Cold-pressed oils generally have lower smoke points, meaning they can start to break down and produce smoke at lower temperatures. This makes them better suited for lower-heat cooking methods, such as drizzling over salads or using as dips.

  • Regular (Refined) Oils: Refined oils usually have higher smoke points, which means they can tolerate higher temperatures before breaking down. This makes them more suitable for frying and high-heat cooking.

5. Health Considerations:

  • Cold-Pressed Oils: The retention of natural nutrients and antioxidants in cold-pressed oils can contribute to potential health benefits, such as better heart health, improved brain function, and reduced oxidative stress.

  • Regular (Refined) Oils: While refined oils may be stripped of some nutrients, they still provide calories and essential fatty acids. However, they might lack the same level of beneficial compounds found in cold-pressed oils.

Health Benefits of Cold Pressed Oils: Cold-pressed oils are celebrated for their numerous health benefits, largely attributed to their gentle extraction process that retains the natural nutrients, antioxidants, and flavors present in the seeds, nuts, or fruits. Here are some of the key health advantages associated with consuming cold-pressed oils:

1. Rich Source of Nutrients: Cold-pressed oils are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin E), minerals (such as magnesium and zinc), and beneficial plant compounds. These nutrients play crucial roles in supporting overall health and well-being.

2. Heart Health: Many cold-pressed oils contain heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease, and promote cardiovascular health.

3. Antioxidant Protection: Cold-pressed oils are often abundant in antioxidants, including tocopherols, phenolic compounds, and carotenoids. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular problems.

4. Brain Function: Cold-pressed oils like flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and hempseed oil are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health, cognitive function, and mood regulation.

5. Skin Health: Cold-pressed oils, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil, are valued for their moisturizing and nourishing properties. They can help hydrate the skin, soothe irritations, and contribute to a healthy complexion. Some cold-pressed oils also contain compounds that promote collagen production and skin elasticity.

6. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Certain cold-pressed oils, including olive oil and avocado oil, possess anti-inflammatory properties due to their high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Regular consumption of these oils may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to various chronic diseases.

7. Digestive Health: Cold-pressed oils like flaxseed oil and olive oil contain healthy fats that support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and aid in digestion. They can also help lubricate the gastrointestinal tract and promote regular bowel movements.

8. Immune System Support: The vitamins and antioxidants found in cold-pressed oils, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, play a role in boosting immune system function. A strong immune system helps the body fend off infections and illnesses.

9. Weight Management: Cold-pressed oils can contribute to a feeling of fullness and satiety due to their healthy fat content. Incorporating these oils into your meals can help regulate appetite and potentially support weight management.

10. Balanced Hormones: Certain cold-pressed oils, like flaxseed oil, contain compounds known as lignans that have estrogenic effects. These compounds may help balance hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women.

Remember: While cold-pressed oils offer various health benefits, it's essential to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Different oils have distinct nutrient profiles, so choosing a variety of cold-pressed oils can provide a range of benefits. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.


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