Salad oil is any edible vegetable oil suitable for use in salad dressings. Vegetable oils with high viscosity and pleasant flavor are more commonly chosen as salad oils; olive oil is a popular choice.
The salad oil form of any vegetable oil is obtained after it is processed through a series of steps to produce RBD (Refined Bleached Deodorized) oil; degumming: removal of phosphatides, bleaching: removal of color bodies and suspended solids, refining: neutralization and removal of free fatty acids, and deodorization: removal of tocopherols, sterols, and phenols as well as minute traces of other compounds taken up during plant growth.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that eating salad with added fat in the form of salad oil promotes the absorption of eight different micronutrients that promote human health. Those nutrients include four carotenoids — alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene — two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K. The oil also promotes the absorption of vitamin A, which formed in the intestine from the alpha and beta carotene. Absorption of these nutrients promotes a range of health benefits, including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation.
Globally, retail price for salad and cooking oil was lowest in March of 2019 in the past five years. Since 2015, the price of vegetable oil has been dropping steadily. This is primarily because of reduced crude cooking oil prices and the use of alternative oil sources instead of traditional ones.
Salad oil also has a reference in politics, the Salad Oil Scandal of the early 1960s, one of the worst corporate scandals of its time, occurred when executives at New Jersey-based Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Company discovered that banks would make loans secured by the company’s soybean oil, or salad-oil inventory.
When inspectors would test Allied’s holding tanks to confirm they were full, the company consistently passed the test. However, the containers, filled with water, had just a few feet of oil on top. In 1963, the scam came to light, and over $175 million-worth of salad oil was missing, causing several notable market reverberations.
As almost every high to medium viscous processed vegetable oil can be used in salads, we have a lot of options when it comes to choosing oil for our salads. Let’s look at the health benefits and other properties of six commonly used salad oils.
Six best oils for salad dressing
Olive oil as salad dressing
Olive oil was once also referred to as ‘liquid gold’–a term that continues to resonate with many even today. About 14% of the oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. But the predominant fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, making up 73% of the total oil content.
Studies suggest that oleic acid reduces inflammation and may even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
Olive oil is also loaded with powerful antioxidants and modest amounts of vitamins E and K. It can be used in any kind of salad as it has a mild taste, it can also be used for frying and sautéing in medium temperature. Many brands have olive oil mixed with vinegar
Sesame oil as salad dressing:
Sesame oil has antibacterial properties, so using it as a topical treatment or a dietary supplement may help protect against abnormal bacterial growth. Sesame oil and its many substitutes can also act as a good base for salad oil.
It also contains a chemical called phytate, which acts as an antioxidant in cells and may help prevent cellular damage and genetic alterations, decreasing your risk of developing cancer and other diseases. It makes a deliciously rich addition to many dressings and sauces.
Safflower oil as salad dressing:
Safflower is high in unsaturated fats, making it a healthy choice for the heart and cardiovascular system. There are two different types of safflower oil: one variety is high in oleic acid and has a high smoking point. This type of safflower oil has high levels of monounsaturated fat and vitamin E content, making it nutritionally similar to olive oil. Other varieties of safflower oil are high in linoleic acid and are better suited for serving cold. It is best used as salad dressings or as nutritional supplements.
Flax oil as salad dressing:
Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fatty acid that the body converts into the omega-3s EPA and DHA. It also has omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fiber, protein and zinc. Because of its low melting point, it should not be used in frying. Instead, it can be added to foods such as salads, yogurt and vegetables after they are prepared.
Avocado oil as salad dressing:
Avocado oil is high in vitamin E and unsaturated fats and contains more protein than any other fruit — and more potassium than a banana. Research has shown that avocado oil exerts anti-inflammatory effects that may be helpful in preventing bone erosion associated with periodontal disease.
This oil is similar in nutritional value, texture and taste to olive oil and you can use it for cooking at low temperatures, as well as in dips and dressings. The avocado oils in market come already marinated to help you get over the bitterness.
Coconut oil as salad dressing:
Because it’s so high in saturated fat, coconut oil’s health benefits are often called into question. But it actually elevates HDL levels (the good cholesterol) and reduces heart disease. It also contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
It can boost energy levels, stimulate metabolism, help balance blood sugar, support brain and eye function, battle bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, reduce inflammation, and much more.
Coconut oil is a rare ‘saturated medium-chain fatty acid’—almost all other natural fats we consume are long-chain. Plus, coconut oil’s primary form of saturated fat, lauric acid, has antibacterial properties, can help fight inflammation, boost immunity, and even lower cholesterol.
A new study from Purdue University showed that olive oil might be the best choice of salad dressing when it comes to absorbing nutrients from the vegetables. It appears that monounsaturated fats provide the most efficient absorption of carotenoids.
Monounsaturated fats require the least amount of fat to absorb the most carotenoid -which is associated with a variety of health benefits such as protection from cancer and heart disease and promotion of eye health-absorption, while saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat dressings required higher amounts of fat to get the same benefit.
This makes monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, a great choice for those watching their fat or calorie intake.
While it is true that the more oil we use in salads, the more nutrients it absorbs, it is not recommended to consume more than two spoons of oil per person per day.
To regulate the use of oil used in cooking and in salads, a number of manufacturers have produced a wide range of salad oil dispensers that consumers can choose from.
A number of processed vegetable oils can be used as salad oils according to choices of taste and odor. Salad oils with high concentration of monounsaturated fats absorb nutrients more than those which have less concentration of monounsaturated fats. The price of salad oils has been consistently decreasing since the past few years, making them affordable to a larger number of households. So, which oil do you want to use in your salad?