Cold Pressed Oils – The Magic Behind Not Killing The Oils!
Cold Pressed Oils – The Magic Behind Not Killing The Oils!
One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting on my grandfather’s lap and listen wide eyed to the many stories he used to say. Thatha ( as we called him) was a National Award winning teacher, a Home Guard, leader of the scout movement, principal of a school and was well respected and revered in the community. For me, he was just my Thatha who gave little treats – a trip to the beach, a visit to the circus, letting me run amok in the little garden patch.. he also used to teach me poems and speeches for school competitions. To this day, “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth is my favorite poem – whenever I read it , I remember Thatha sitting in the sun drenched Verandah teaching me – making me express and feel the words!
One of the stories he told me involved a giant who was thirsty for work. He went to a man and said that if the man does not give him work that he cannot do – the giant will eat him up. The man thought of all kind of work and the giant finished it in a jiffy. Finally, out of despair, the man asked his wife to help. The next time the giant came, the wife gave him their pet dog and asked that the tail be straightened. Obviously, it was not possible and the giant fled! One of the tasks he was given was to extract oil from sesame seeds. I did not know about the process and quizzed Thatha a lot about the hows of the process. Thatha took me to a nearby oil mill and showed me the process. I was fascinated as to how oil could be squeezed out of those tiny seeds. I tried to impersonate the giant and squeeze oil with my hands – but that was obviously a dismal failure!
I also realised the magic of deep fried foods around that time. All the home-made goodies made out of different kinds of flours and pressed in to hot oil - yum! As I grew older, I learnt about the different kinds of oil and the effect they have on my health. I started avoiding deep fried stuff and moved on to more healthier method of cooking and eating. I recently discovered the goodness of cold pressed oils. What is that- you ask?
The most common method for commercial extraction of oil from seeds is by chemical extraction, using solvent extracts (usually hexane). Mechanical extraction methods are also used in some countries. In India, the commonly used method is Ghani method- Ghani is a powered mortar and pestle and the oil is expressed out of the seeds. The oils extracted by any of these methods is exposed to high heat in the production stage itself – thus reducing the taste, aroma and nutritional content of the oil.
Cold pressed oils are produced in an environment of controlled heat and typically no chemicals are used. The first step is to grind the seeds (or fruits) in to a paste. This paste is slowly stirred and the oil separates from the pulp and oozes out. Mechanical pressure is applied at this point and the oil is forced out. The heat is typically maintained around 27° C to 49°C.
: They Aid Weight Loss
Cold pressed oils such as coconut oil contain medium-chain triglycerides, unlike most other vegetable oils that contain long-chain triglycerides. While MCTs are better utilized by the body as an energy, LCTs are more susceptible to be stored by the body as fat. MCTs even contribute to weight loss by enhancing your metabolic function.
:They Lower the Incidence of Cardiovascular Diseases
A study published in Wiley Nutrition Reviews reported that cold-pressed low-erucic acid rapeseed oil resulted in 16% lower LDL-C oxidization compared to butter. This was attributed to the enhanced antioxidant activity caused by cold pressing the oil.
:They Have Antimicrobial Properties
Cold pressing coconut oil helps maintain its high lauric acid content. After entering the body, lauric acid gets converted to monolaurin, a compound that offers antimicrobial action against flu, herpes, AIDS and many other viral conditions. It also fights numerous other pathogens like fungi and bacteria.
:They Are Antioxidant Powerhouses
As per a study conducted at London’s Imperial College School of Medicine, commercially produced oils contained beneficial antioxidants in only trace amounts, however cold-pressed oils had higher quantities of antioxidants like vitamin E and Lecithin.
:They Are Free of Solvents and Preservatives
Another reason why cold pressed oils win the cold pressed vs refined oils argument is due to the fact that they are free of solvents and preservatives. In commercially produced oils, solvents are added to enhance extraction but they are extremely hazardous and can lead to conditions like dermatitis and depression. Additionally, the preservatives contained in such oils also contain toxic compounds that are harmful for health. This is one of the key health benefits of cold pressed oil.
:They Are Immunity Boosters
Cold pressed oils also enhance immunity function. They contain immunity boosters like vitamin E and oleic acid. Oleic acid strengthens the TH1 cells of the immune system, thereby preventing the incidence of allergies and autoimmune disorders caused due to TH2 dominance. Heat processing can destroy these essential immunity boosters.
:They Improve Oral Health
Cold pressed oils can also be used to enhance oral health. Oil pulling (swishing your mouth) with cold pressed oils, particularly sesame oil, for 10-15 minutes daily, can help clean the oral cavity and free your mouth of toxins, thus creating a clean and pathogen-free oral environment that prevents cavities and oral diseases.
Uses of Cold pressed oil
If cold pressed oils are heated – it defeats the very purpose of buying it! These oils are best used raw to drizzle over salads and the likes. Commonly used oils are coconut, olive, sesame, sunflower and canola.
A spoonful of flax seed oil helps you fight inflammation. Evening primrose oil is commonly used for skin problems and to overcome common menstrual problems.
Skin & Hair Care
Cold pressed coconut oil is the new buzzword among fashionistas! One super model claims that this is the only skin product you would need! Massage cold pressed castor oil mixed with coconut oil in to your hair for luxurious and thick hair growth!
About the Author
Rashmi TK is an avid health practitioner. Her quest for healthy eating started at an early age battling fibromyalgia. She writes on various platforms and is a patron at Nutty Yogi
- Pallavi Gupta