Today the world demands variety in every sphere, and oil has not been left far behind.
Oil finds its uses in our everyday life in various forms and thus as per the usage and need the variety of oil needed changes. Some primitive uses have been cooking, application, for oiling machinery etc.
What exactly is oil?
This is a rather difficult question to answer as oil in its crude sense is different from the oil we use for cooking purpose and further is very different from the oil we use for our external body applications. Thus, with every use arises a demand for a different type of oil.
Types of Oil
The most common classification of oil can be done in two categories by their source of origin:
(A) Mineral Oil
We all know crude oil which is the by-product of the petroleum industry and is widely used for its property to be converted to other forms of energy. The Mineral oil though is neither extracted from mineral nor does it provide us with any, it is just a misnomer.
Crude oil is further converted to:
- Liquefied Petroleum Gas
(B) Organic Oil
The environment around us is very productive and indeed very useful to us. Organic oils are those oil which we receive from plants, animals, and other organisms through metabolic processes. It contains Lipids (which is a single term used to denote the fatty acids and steroids present in the organic oil), proteins, waxes and other alkaloids.
The organic oils are the ones that we encounter in our daily life for various purposes. They are a part of our everyday routines like cooking, cleaning, cosmetic, painting, lubrication (at times), etc. It further comes in huge varieties.
Some of the most commonly used organic oils are:
• Mustard Oil
This oil is considered to have healing and medicinal properties. It is extensively used for culinary purposes and can also be used for beautifying our skin and hair. It has a pungent odor and a dark color.
• Sunflower Oil
This oil is obtained from the sunflower seeds. It is nutritive and beneficial for the skin and hair too.
• Peanut Oil
Peanut or groundnut oil tastes amazing but is not fit for deep frying and regular cooking as they are rich in polyunsaturated fat.
• Almond Oil
It’s highly absorptive nature makes it useful in beauty treatments, but it is also used in cooking and baking.
• Grapeseed Oil
This oil is extracted from grapefruit after extraction of wine. It finds a lot of usage in the cosmetic industry.
• Indian Gooseberry or Amla Oil
This oil has been an integral part of the Ayurveda. And one of its most important benefits is that it prevents the growth of cells carrying tumor.
It has around 90% saturated fat content. The fats present in coconut oil help in increasing our metabolism.
• Palm Oil
This oil is rich in saturated and monosaturated fat. Palm oil is rich in its vitamin E content.
• Rice Bran Oil
This oil is extracted from the rice husks. It has a highly nutritive composition with almost no trans fats. And this oil is thus, a favorite of health-conscious people.
• Avocado Oil
As this oil can penetrate through our skin thus, it is a highly valued product regarding its usage for beauty, and its low polyunsaturated content makes it a great commodity for culinary purpose as well.
• Canola Oil
Canola oil is extracted from the rapeseeds. Rapeseeds though have erucic acid which needs to be removed before the extraction of oil as it is toxic.
• Argan Oil
It is a staple of a Moroccan diet. It has a nutty flavor to it and can also be used to prevent acne or for smooth hair.
• Flaxseed Oil
This oil is said to be rich in their omega 3 content, and many people use this oil to fulfill their Omega 3 requirement on a daily basis.
Olive oil is regarded as the best cooking oil due to its amazing benefits for our heart health. It helps in raising the good cholesterol in our bloodstream and regulates or lowers the bad cholesterol levels.
• Corn Oil
This oil is used for cooking, baking, dressing and frying purposes and is obtained from the germ of corn or maize seeds.
• Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is extracted from the sesame seeds. It is very well known for its antiviral functions, it helps to prevent skin disorders and is also used for deep frying in cooking.
• Walnut Oil
Walnut oil tastes wonderful, but is expensive and thus cannot be used for everyday cooking. Also, just like other nut-based oil, it has a high content of polyunsaturated fats.
• Soybean Oil
This oil is extracted from the soybeans and has recently become popular with oil marts. It can be used for all culinary purposes and has a distinctive aroma to it.
The next classification can be done by the properties of the oil, i.e., its viscosity, toxicity or even the volatility. On this basis oil can be put in these categories:
• Very Light Oils
These oils are highly volatile with very less viscosity. Light oils are toxic. They include naphthalene, ether, spirit, etc.
• Light Oils
These oils are not as volatile as the previous classification. The every day fuels like domestic fuels, diesel, and marine gas oils fall under this category.
• Medium Oils
These oils are volatile but with a very slow rate of volatility. They are harmful to the fur animals and sea life.
• Heavy Fuel Oils
These oils are vicious and hardly ever evaporate. Their ill effects on sea life and fur-bearing animals are beyond imagination as these oils are highly toxic.
The oil varieties may be limited to the categories, but there are still many other types which fall under each category as only a few have been exemplified here.
Oil is a versatile product of immense usefulness for us. We should always be careful while choosing a particular oil for any task we need to perform.
As for all purposes, a specific oil is better suited than the other. Hence it is recommended to understand and study the various varieties in detail to pick the oil that suits your need.