CA – MAR 15 – F&H
- Posted by CERC India
- Posted in monthly
FOOD & HEALTH
Should you switch to rice bran oil?Rice bran oil is perfect for high-temperature cooking such as stir-frying or roasting. If you want a light, neutral oil, resilient at high temperatures, that can help lower cholesterol, rice bran oil is a top choice. But extra virgin olive oil is preferred for dressing salads, pasta and splashing over cooked vegetables.
How it is similar to other oils
Like other liquid oils, it is free of trans fats and relatively low in saturated fat. It contains 32% polyunsaturates and 40% monounsaturates which makes it similar in composition to cottonseed or sesame oil. This alone will ensure that it lowers cholesterol.
What makes it stand out
It’s high in two unusual compounds called oryzanol and tocotrienols. Other oils don’t have much – if any – of these two.
- Oryzanol: It is a plant sterol unique to rice that reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the body and so lowers blood cholesterol levels. It also acts as an antioxidant.
- Tocotrienols are a group of related fat-soluble compounds that are converted into vitamin E which is a well-researched antioxidant for the heart. Tocotrienols are found in palm and rice bran oils (as well as barley, oats).
How rice bran oil is made
Rice bran is rich in natural oil (15 to 20% oil). The oil is extracted from the bran and germ – the most nutritious parts of the rice grain – representing only 8% of the total weight of the kernel, but containing roughly three-quarters of the total oil.
- In the kitchen, rice bran oil is very stable and makes a good oil for pan-frying. It has a high smoke point of 250Â°C, so you can cook at high temperatures before it starts to burn or smoke – a great advantage over other oils.
- Rice bran oil is subtle in taste – almost neutral. The flavour doesn’t interfere with the taste of other ingredients so it’s good for delicate flavours.
- It is a â€˜runny oil’. The advantage of this low viscosity is that a little goes a long way to coat food and pans. This also means foods absorb less oil.
- Unlike other kitchen oils, it has an unusual mix of fatty acids, containing around half polyunsaturated and half monounsaturated fats (other oils tend to be mainly one or the other).
- Rice bran oil has little omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and lots of omega-6 (linoleic acid). This low ALA combined with a higher level of saturates gives rice bran oil excellent frying qualities, long stability and fry life without hydrogenation.
- At 22% saturated fat, rice bran oil is at the high end for oils and above the Heart Foundation’s criteria. It’s on a par with cottonseed oil at 27% but higher than olive oil at 15% saturated fat.
- It is refined and stabilised – like almost all other oils. This is where extra virgin olive oil has the edge – it’s cold-pressed, so no heat is used which helps retain its natural antioxidants and vitamins.