Lather up, eat it, or paint with it, these oils are super versatile.
OILS: You cannot deny its goodness.
Oils are H-O-T right now. Sure, you’ve known about basic vegetable oil forever now, but you’ve probably been hearing other wild and exotic oil names like safflower, argan and marula lately. You’ve also probably been hearing about their versatility in cooking, heart-healthy benefits, cholesterol-lowering powers – and, oh, about a million other uses.
That said, these oils all have slightly different tastes and nutritional profiles. That they do. Now, for the deets on 17 of the buzziest oils in the world today.
Types of Wild and Exotic oil
“Grapeseed oil is light in colour and flavour, with a mild, slightly nutty taste that works well with a variety of other flavours,” says dietician and writer Jessica Cording, RD. Since it has a high smoke point, you can use it in frying or other high-heat cooking methods. Additionally, sub it for olive oil in salad dressings, sauces, or condiments like homemade mayonnaise because it emulsifies well and won’t separate as easily as other oils might.
The polyunsaturated fat in grapeseed oil may help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and vitamin E has been shown to fight inflammation. Like most of the oils we’ll cover, one serving is a tablespoon with roughly 120 calories and 14 grams of fat.
Pro tip: If using in a salad dressing, stick to about one teaspoon per serving of the dressing—you’ll get the great flavour and some of the benefits without going overboard. For frying, pour the oil into a spritzer bottle and spray onto a nonstick skillet to keep calories down.
Other uses: Mix with other oils to make a massage oil or use as a moisturizer. Use grapeseed oil as a treatment for skin injuries, or use as a lubricant while shaving.
Extracted from the kernels of the Marula tree, this oil has a clear, light yellow colour and nutty aroma. It’s mostly comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids, which trigger less LDL cholesterol and more HDL cholesterol production. It is also a rich source of antioxidants which help to strengthen skin and [the] immune system.
Pro tip: Use for cooking if you’re really in need, otherwise sub this oil into your skincare and haircare regimen for argan. (Trust us.)
Other uses: Traditionally used in cosmetics to aid in healing scars, this one is also amazing for soft skin and hydrated hair. It can also be used to treat leather goods.
This Moroccan staple has a rich, nutty flavor. It has a low smoke point compared to other oils, so is not well suited to cooking, though a few drops can be added at the end of sautéing for some depth
It’s best used to finish off a dish with a drizzle of flavor. Try using it in salad dressings and sauces that will not be cooked. It’s also great to dip bread in. Additionally, this oil is lighter on the calories at just 70 per serving instead of the standard 120. Studies in rats have shown argan oil’s potential to lower blood pressure.
Pro tip: Because a few drops go a long way in terms of adding flavour, try drizzling over a grain-and-vegetable dish, or drizzle over salad or dessert
Other uses: It’s a beauty wonder, y’all… Argan oil may be used for dry skin, acne, or as an anti-aging skin treatment. You can even tame your flyaways by smoothing hair.
Because coconut oil is – whoa – about 50 per cent saturated fat, it’s solid at room temperature and perfect for baked goods. It can also be used as a vegan butter substitute. It has a mellow, slightly coconut-y flavour that works with a variety of other flavours, sweet and savory alike. And while it’s super-high in saturated fat, coconut oil is high in lauric acid, too, a medium-chain triglyceride that is metabolized differently from the long-chain triglycerides in most other oils.
MCTs are more likely to be burned off as fuel, and some research shows coconut oil may slightly boost the metabolism rate, supporting modest weight loss. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s still high in calories and needs to fit into your daily calorie needs.
Pro tip: Do. Not. OD. Because the jury’s still not out on the impact of saturated fat on cardiac health, you may want to be conservative in the amount you use compared to sources of unsaturated fat if you are concerned about heart disease.
Other uses: Coconut oil is a multi-use miracle product. Use it as a make-up remover, a moisturizer, or even a way to clean teeth by swirling the oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes or so before spitting out. (It’s called “pulling,” if you’re curious.)
Peanut oil has a wide variety of uses because of its overall neutrality, It has a very high smoke point and neutral taste, peanut oil is good for frying, deep-frying, and other forms of high-heat cooking. Still, because of peanut oil’s high smoke-point you may retain less of the oil than if you were to use something with a lower smoke-point. Peanut oil has a pretty even proportion of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats, and along with vitamin E, the oil contains resveratrol, which has been studied for its protective effects against cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral infections.
Pro tip: Although the oil is ideal for deep-frying, just say no. Just because you can deep-fry something doesn’t mean you should. Peanut oil is also good for sautéing or can be used in sauces and dressings.
Other uses: Like a lot of other oils, peanut oil can be used in skincare, sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat dryness and eczema, and has even been shown to be helpful with joint pain.
It just sounds spring-like, doesn’t it? But you don’t have to wait; stock up on this oil now. Sunflower oil has a light taste and appearance, which makes it a versatile ingredient and cooking oil. It has a high smoke-point so it stands up well to heat. It can also be used in low-heat cooking methods or in a sauce or as an ingredient in sunflower seed butter. It makes a great all-purpose oil to have in your kitchen. On the benefit side, sunflower oil is higher in antioxidant vitamin E than any other oil, so drizzle this to employ some free-radical-fighting powers.
Pro tip: If using for frying, you can pour oil into a spritzer bottle and spray lightly but evenly onto a pan or skillet.
Other uses: Again, you can keep this one on hand for skincare woes, too. Sunflower oil is sometimes used as a massage oil or as a topical treatment for wounds, psoriasis or arthritis.
Kind of like soy milk, soybean oil has a neutral taste that blends well with lots of dishes. Soybean oil is often used for frying and for other high-heat methods of cooking. It preserve texture and provide a rich mouthfeel, can have a long shelf life, and are a common ingredient in packaged snacks, frozen foods, and condiments like mayonnaise and margarine.
In addition to healthy polyunsaturated fats and the Vitamin E of other oils, soybean also packs vitamin K, which is important for bone health. But be careful: this is often used in packaged goods with lots of trans fat (the worst kind).
Pro tip: In general, there is a lot of controversy surrounding soy, especially when it comes to GMO sources. So, this particular oil may be best kept off the shopping list unless you are using a non-hydrogenated source clearly labeled as non-GMO.
Other uses: You may see soybean oil as an ingredient in skincare and haircare products; the antioxidants protect against free-radical damage related to sources like pollutants and the sun. Interestingly, it may also be used as an insect repellent.
This isn’t one of the most common oils, but it’s worth noting. Wheat germ oil has a dark, rich colour and flavour, and since it should not be heated, it is best used as an accent to dishes after cooking or in sauces or salad dressing. Wheat germ oil is also a great source of antioxidant vitamin E and other vitamins like A and D, which help with eye and bone health – among a laundry list of other benefits.
Pro tip: Remember, you’re not actually “cooking” with this one. “Try using a drizzle on top of a salad, pasta dish, or grain-and-vegetable side.
Other uses: Wheat germ oil can be a topical treatment for dry skin, psoriasis and eczema, and may even help fade scars if used over time. The antioxidant properties are also thought to be anti-aging.
Nope, not sunflower: saf–flower. This oil is made from the seeds of the plant by the same name. This oil has a high smoke-point, and it stands up well to searing, browning and deep-frying. It’s naturally high in Omega-6 fatty acids, but it is also often modified to be high in monounsaturated fatty acids, otherwise known as high-oleic safflower oil. High oleic oils are heart-healthy due to increased monounsaturated fats, and are also becoming popular in processed foods because they are more shelf stable than polyunsaturated fats.
Pro tip: Use safflower oil when you don’t want an overwhelming flavour to your dish, like in a stir-fry, curry or in any variety of baked goods.
Other uses: One of the oldest crops in our history, safflower has also been used in dyes. One pharmaceutical maker even tried using this plant to make human insulin, but said company is now defunct.
If you’re into nutty oils, here’s another to add to your list: walnut. An even trendier oil than peanut, this one’s made from nuts that have been dried and cold-pressed. The rich, nutty flavour works great as a salad dressing, or simply as a flavour enhancer. It’s also a good source of Alpha-linoleic acid, which the body converts to the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These may help lower lipids, blood pressure and vascular inflammation, all of which support overall health. Whoo!
Pro tip: Walnut oil does not stand up to high heat due to its medium smoke-point. Because of this, stick to drizzles of it on salads or other veggies.
Other uses: You can make like Renaissance painters and use walnut oil as as a paint, paint thinner and brush cleaner. Woodworkers also use this oil in some finishes.
This oil is popular in Asian dishes, and has a medium smoke-point, which makes it best for light sautéing, sauces and low-heat baking. Sesame oil is rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically linoleic acid, which is an omega-6. Although omega-3s get more buzz, both are essential because we don’t make them on our own. We get them solely from dietary sources.
Pro tip: If you’re checking store shelves, realize that colour impacts flavour. The darker sesame oil is bolder in flavour than the lighter version. So, depending on how robust a nutty flavour you want, choose wisely.
Other uses: Super-versatile. In India, sesame oil is often used as a massage oil on the skin, scalp and hair. It’s also used in a variety of cosmetics, soaps, insecticides and other lubricants.
Canola oil is one of the most neutral flavor options among all oils, making it extremely versatile. Has a medium-high smoke point, which means it’s best for baking, oven-cooking or stir-frying. The omega-3s and omega-6s may help with cardiovascular health. Canola oil is also often highly-refined, which removes undesirable tastes, smells, or colours. Refined and unrefined oils have the same fatty acid profile. However, cold-pressed or unrefined oils contain more plant chemicals that contribute to their healthfulness. So, might not pack quite as many benefits as your other oil selections, but it’s versatility should still make it a staple.
Pro tip: Go crazy, kids – and by that we mean, use in all kinds of dishes, not drizzle to your heart’s content, as canola is still high-fat and caloric. You can use this oil to sauté, bake, roast, stir-fry and more. Also, you can cut 1:1 with olive oil when making salad dressings, if you think the olive flavour is nice, but a bit too strong.
Other uses: Europe is putting a lot of stock into canola as a biofuel. You’ll also find it in candles, lipsticks, even newspaper ink. Again, “versatility” is the word.
If you’re obsessed with superfood avocado, good news! You can get it in oil form, too. Avocado oil is another one high in monounsaturated fats, which are linked to reducing LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and raising HDL cholesterol. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for cooking methods such as searing or browning, as well as simply using it cold.
Pro tip: Cold-pressed avocado oil is less refined than the regular kind, and therefore contains more antioxidants. Overall, unrefined oils are more heart-healthy and flavorful. So, choose cold-pressed if you can.
Other uses: Avocado oil is completely ideal for hydration, so use it on your skin and hair to moisturize, protect and preserve.
Flaxseed has become more and more popular as a superfood recently, with its high fiber content and omega-3 powers, thought to be helpful in fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. This is one of best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and is also a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids to promote decreased total LDL cholesterol and increased HDL. Flaxseed oil also packs anti-inflammatory properties, keeping the body primed to ward off disease.
Pro tip: Store flaxseed oil in the refrigerator because it oxidizes easily. It’s not suitable for cooking because of the low smoke-point, so toss with a salad dressing or try a drizzle over quinoa.
Other uses: Sort of like flaxseed, the oil can be used as a mild laxative of sorts. On top of that, it’s also a solid option for moisturizing skin. You may also find this oil in various substances, like varnishes and paints, as a waterproofing agent.
It is one oil that is structurally and chemically similar to human sebum. Sebum is an oily, waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. It waterproofs and lubricates the hair and skin of mammals.
So, this oil acts as a substitute while giving similar or even added benefits compared to sebum. Jojoba is applied directly to the skin for the prevention of acne, psoriasis, sunburn, and chapped skin. It is also used topically in the scalp to encourage the regrowth of hair in people who are balding.
Pro tip:From making your skin glow treating infections or even problems like acne and pimples, Jojoba Oil is full of medicinal properties pretty much each of us will find useful.
Other uses:It also the go-to solution for hair problems like dandruff, frizzy, tangled hair or if you just want a sexy beard.
The rosemary essential oil is extracted from a very well-known herb Rosmarinus Officinalis. This herb is quite popular in the Mediterranean region and is also used for many health purposes.
It belongs to the mint family that also includes basil, peppermint, sage, and laPro-tipvender. You get a fresh, sweet and herbaceous medicinal aroma from this amazing essential oil.
Pro tip: To treat the dandruff apply this along with some fresh aloe vera juice or gel to cure the dandruff itching. It can also be used for different requirements of skin care and hair care.
Other uses: It is high in antioxidants, supports a healthy-looking scalp and head of hair, and has powerful rejuvenating properties. The rosemary is a very powerful ingredient for the hair and makes hair shiny and healthy.
Tea Tree Oil
The natives of Australia living in Queensland region cultivated Tea Tree shrubs extensively. Tea tree oil is extracted by the steam distillation of fresh leaves and wood from these tea trPro tipee shrubs. This essential oil is pale yellow or clear in color and has a fresh camphoraceous odor.
Pro tip: You can dilute tea tree oil with water, aloe vera gel, or any carrier oil like olive, almond, or coconut. Use an ear bud to apply the mixture to the pimple, and acne spots. Tea tree oils can not only be applied directly on the affected area but can also be mixed with several face masks and toners.
Other uses: It helps in killing germs and gives skin a soothing freshness. Very beneficial as decongestant and immune boosting when massaged on the chest, back, and feet.
For overall good health, replace saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids. Aim for 5 to 7 teaspoons per day. Fats are rich in calories, however, they also increase absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, so they are a vital part of cell membranes and hormones, promote satiety and offer sensory qualities that make food taste good. You cannot ignore its health benefits.
So, try them out today as you can hardly go wrong with these Wild & Exotic oils. In case you have any questions about Oils and how you can use it in combination with other oils, feel free to write to us and our experts will ensure you get the best results. For any query comment below. Happy Shopping! 🙂
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