Is it Fish Oil or Cooking Oil?

 Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about how to make a certain piece of wooden board look good for photography purposes and he said “you must use fish oil”

Let’s not get it twisted…you get fish oil from consuming your fish and over the counter fish oil supplements.

If you live in Mzansi I’m sure you would agree with me it’s not rare to hear someone say Fish oil when referring to cooking oil.  Trust me I grew up referring to it that way as well until I got schooled… It makes you wonder why it is called fish oil.  Where is that name coming from?  Was there ever a cooking oil brand called “Fish Oil”? Okay, don’t blame me for thinking like this….we have to take into consideration the fact thatt we refer to petroleum jelly as Vaseline, toothpaste as Colgate, fabric softener as Sta Soft.  Or perhaps cooking oil was used a lot to fry fish…I mean we love our fried fish but then again we also love vetkoek why is it not called vetkoek oil?  Just imagine vetkoek oil hahaha!  You gotta love Mzansi!

 I thought we should address this issue…let’s first have a look at fish oil, what is it exactly?

Wikipedia’s definition of fish oil is that it’s derived from the tissues of oily fish e.g. salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring and sardines.  Fish oil has been shown to have numerous benefits for human health as it contains omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids are believed to help protect against coronary heart disease and stroke, helps to reduce cholesterol, helps with mental health and alleviation of mild depression, helps alleviate rheumatoid arthritis etc.  Consumption of fish is recommended and in addition to that omega 3 fatty acids are also available in the form of over the counter supplements.

Fish Oil Omega 3 Supplements
image from the internet

Now lets look at cooking oil…what is it?  Cooking oil is a purified fat of plant origin, which is usually liquid at room temperature.  Examples more popular to the South African market are olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil etc. Cooking oils such as sunflower oil and olive oil have the omega 6 fatty acids.  The omega 6 fatty acids help with controlling inflammation and blood flow amongst other functions.  You see now cooking oil is what you use in your day to day coking, not fish oil.

 Eish!  After all this fish oil talk  I now feel like having a tuna sandwich….what the heck I need my daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids…..

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 4 )

  • Andie

    Lol this is quite interesting. Thanx for the info….now I know. Im laughing at “toothpaste as colgate”, I’ve always wondered why people refer to it as colgate…because “Colgate” just is a brand name of a toothpaste. But then again….this is Mzansi

    • LOL! What’s funny is the fact that we’ve been using these brand names….

  • khuthadzo

    I feel so informed…when I speak to my parents,as they are in their 50s I use such names of fish oil,colgate,sta soft…but it was a bit tough to change such names when you meet other people out there…

    • That is so true Khuthadzo! 🙂 But we still do it hey, it doesn’t matter how educated one might be, we still call a toothpaste a colgate, a petroleum jelly – vaseline! Ha! I think these are special things that make us who we are and we just need to embrace them and not feel embarrassed.


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