6 smart ways to cook with less oil for your health’s sake!

Making food with a lot of oil can have negative effects on your health. So, cook food with less oil or no oil.
Cooking food in a pan
Cooking with less oil is good for health. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 26 Dec 2023, 01:15 pm IST
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Be it French fries or fritters, we use a lot of oil to make them “finger-lickin’ good”. But cooking with too much oil can lead to weight gain and health complications. Cooking with less oil can offer various health benefits, making it a wise choice for those seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let us tell you how to cook with less oil or no oil to stay healthy!

While cooking, most of us use olive oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil, coconut oil or fish oil. Some of the cooking oils may have health benefits, but it is best to use them less.

As per a 2016 research published in the Indian Heart Journal, it was found that some of the oils, especially refined oils, can degrade to toxic components like transfats and free radicals. If you repeatedly fry the oil, it can further damage it. More toxic components that are not good for the heart get produced.

Oil in containers
Cook with less oil for health benefits. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the health benefits of cooking with less oil?

If you choose to cook with less oil or no oil, you can enjoy many health benefits.

1. Reduced caloric intake

Using less oil in cooking helps to cut down on unnecessary calories. Oil is calorie-dense, and by minimising its use, you can create meals that are lower in overall caloric content, says dietician Shruti K Bhardwaj. This is particularly beneficial for people looking to manage their weight or reduce calorie intake for health reasons.

2. Heart health

Cooking with less oil can contribute to better heart health. Opting for cooking methods that require less oil can support a heart-healthy diet by reducing the intake of harmful fats.

3. Better blood sugar control

For people managing diabetes or trying to regulate blood sugar levels, cooking with less oil is beneficial. Excessive consumption of certain oils, especially those high in omega-6 fatty acids, may contribute to insulin resistance, says the expert. Choosing cooking methods that use less oil can assist in maintaining more stable blood sugar levels.

4. Improved digestive health

Excessive oil in meals can lead to digestive discomfort for some people. Cooking with less oil may alleviate issues like indigestion and bloating. Also, it encourages the consumption of more whole foods, such as vegetables and lean proteins, which are naturally easier on the digestive system.

5. Enhanced nutrient retention

Overcooking food in excessive oil can lead to the loss of important nutrients. Cooking with less oil helps to preserve the nutritional value of the ingredients. This ensures that you get the maximum benefit from the vitamins and minerals present in your food.

How to cook food with less oil?

Now that you know the health benefits of using less oil, let’s explore different ways to cook with less or no oil.

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1. Steaming

Steaming involves cooking food using steam, which helps to retain nutrients without the need for added oil. It is particularly effective for vegetables, fish and dumplings.

2. Grilling

Grilling imparts a smoky flavour to food without the need for excessive oil. It’s a great method for cooking lean meats, vegetables and even fruits.

3. Baking

Baking is not just for preparing cakes. It is a style of cooking that allows you to make a variety of dishes with minimal oil. This method is suitable for meats and vegetables, says Bhardwaj.

4. Stir-frying

Stir-frying involves cooking small, uniform-sized pieces of food quickly in a small amount of oil. While it uses less oil than traditional frying, it still adds flavour and texture to the dishes.

Woman cooking food
Deep frying is unhealthy. Image Courtesy: Freepik

5. Air frying

Air frying uses hot air circulation to cook food, requiring only a minimal amount of oil for a crispy texture. It’s a healthier alternative to deep frying.

6. Poaching

It involves cooking food in hot liquid, such as water or broth, without the need for oil. This method is suitable for various ingredients, including eggs and vegetables.

By incorporating these cooking methods and reducing oil usage, you can enjoy flavourful and nutritious meals. At the same time, you can reap the numerous health benefits associated with a lower-oil diet.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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