By Sanghmitra Gade1, Shilka Kumari Mehta2, Murlidhar Meghwal3

Edible oils are the most important part of our healthy deity. Edible oils are triglycerides of plant origin composed of different fatty acids. Free fatty acids, phospholipids, phytosterols, tocopherols, anti-oxidants or waxes could also be found in edible oil. Edible oils are one of the major contributors of fat in our diet; it enhances the palatability of food, shelf-life and makes food tasty. The highly consumable edible oils are olive, palm, soybean, canola, and sunflower oil. Edible oils are vital constituents of our daily diet with a variety of functions in our body as an energy source, membrane structures, regulating body temperature and insulate organs. They contain essential fatty acids and serve as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins.

Edible oils are prone to oxidation, atmospheric oxygen reacts instantly with lipid and other organic compounds of the oil that cause structural degradation in the oil, and leads to loss of quality of oil which is harmful to human health upon consumption. Physical and chemical parameters of edible oils are used to monitor the compositional quality of oils. Iodine value measures the degree of unsaturation in edible oil and it determines the stability of oil to oxidation, and allows the overall unsaturation of the oil to be determined qualitatively. Saponification value is an index of average molecular mass of fatty acid in oil. Higher the saponification value, shorter the average chain length of the fatty acids and the lower the average molecular weight of the fatty acids and vice-versa. Increase in peroxide value indicates the rancidity of oils due to relative higher oxidation in oils. Higher acid value indicates that triglycerides of oil are converted into fatty acids and glycerol which cause rancidity of oil.

Health Benefits of Edible Oils

Decreases the risk for Breast Cancer

Studies suggest that the regular use of olive oil and other vegetable oils might be beneficial in decreasing the risk of breast cancer.

Boost the Immune System

Vegetables oils contain lauric acid, which is known to reduce the chance of infection of candida, fight bacteria and create a hostile environment for viruses.

Improves metabolism

The  regular intake of vegetable oil, particularly olive oil, may increase metabolism in obese people as it  contains phenolic compounds, substances that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting properties, which may boost the metabolic rate of body.

Promote cell growth

Oils like safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, almond and wheat germ are rich source of vitamin E which is required in the body for cell protection and development. Also, it protects the body tissues such as skin, eyes, breasts, testes, and liver. The α-linolenic acid, a type of ω-3 fatty acids, act as anti-inflammatory and highly recommended for people suffering from chronic heart, skin and digestive concerns. Oil Lowers anxiety and depression. Tyrosine present in sesame oil, found to be connected to serotonin activity and release in the brain that helps to boost mood by flooding the body with enzymes and hormones that make a person feels happy.

Cure Acute Pancreatitis

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol that can protect humans from acute pancreatitis.

Anti-bacterial properties

Olive oil contains many nutrients that can inhibit harmful bacteria. Extra virgin olive oil found to be effective against eight strains of bacteria, three of which are resistant to antibiotics.

Prevents Osteoporosis

Coconut oil rich in antioxidants that help to fight free radical which is a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis. Coconut oil not only increases bone volume and structure in subjects, but also decreased bone loss due to osteoporosis. Improves digestion and reduces stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis. Coconut helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, calcium and magnesium as a result, it improves digestion and helps to treat stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis. Coconut oil can help improve bacteria and gut health by destroying bad bacteria and candida.

Antioxidant Property

Some edible oils are rich in vitamin E which improves the immune system. It acts as an anti-oxidant and protects the different body tissues. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant which controls free radicals, prevent blood clots and blockages in coronary arteries, thus helping in preventing cardiovascular ailments.

It could be concluded that oil severs a most important role in human diet. Oil supplies many nutrients like Fats soluble Vitamins, Antioxidants, Phenols, and Terpenoids etc.  These function as anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-obesity.

Table: 1 Major edible oil and their health benefits



Health Benefits

Chia Seed

MUFA & PUFA rich

Reduce triglyceride & cholesterol, coronary heart disease, hypertension, inflammatory disorders hepatoprotective effect, prevent obesity


Rich in MUFA & PUFA

Treats against ulcers, migraine headaches, attention deficit/hyperactivity & eating disorders, preterm labor, emphysema, psoriasis, glaucoma, lyme disease, lupus


Antioxidant, squalene, oleic acid

Protective against cancer (colon, breast, skin), coronary heart disease, and ageing by inhibiting oxidative stress


Phytosterols, Vit E, Antioxidants

Give Relief from Athlete’s foot, Lower cholesterol, improve wound healing, anticancer agent


Rich in ß-sitosterol, PUFA, Vit K & E

Reduce levels of LDL, healthy bone skin, effective for blood clotting & anti-alzheimer


Rich in PUFA, fat-soluble Vitamins

functions as anti-microbial, anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory

Ground nut

Rich in PUFA, Resveratol, Vit E

Work as Antioxidant, anti-obesity, anti- Alzheimer, anti-cancer, lower blood pressure, it has laxative properties so prevent constipation.

Safflower oil

Rich in MUFA, PUFA, fat soluble vitamins

It functions as anti-oxidant, anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, control blood sugar level. Lower cholesterol. 

Rice bran

Rich in Fat soluble Vitamins, antioxidants

It helps in lowering cholesterol, improves immune system, helps in weight management, reduces risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, Manage premenopausal Symptoms

Rapeseed/Mustard seed

Rich in PUFA, vitamin A, B & E

Anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-Allergic, lower cholesterol, prevent developing kidney stones, prevent gastrointestinal issues

* 1DFT, Chulalongkorn University, Payathai, Thailand 2&3FST, NIFTEM, Kundli, India