#Nutrition Tips For You: Facts About Oil For A Healthy Heart
International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on 21st June since its inception in 2015. This year’s theme is 'Yoga for Heart'.
A good diet when combined with exercise /Yoga makes the heart even more healthier and stronger. So let’s see how the right way of using cooking oil can help us remain heart healthy.
Our bodies need fat for energy, insulation of organs, vitamin absorption, and more. But too much of the wrong kind of fat can lead to severe health issues, majorly heart disease.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to fats. It is important to know that healthy fats form an important part of a balanced diet. But, what do we mean by healthy fats and how should you manage it and use it in your daily life?
According to the National Institute of Nutrition in India, about 20% of your diet should be devoted to fats, in all the three kinds of fat -polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids.
Peanut or Groundnut Oil: Peanut oil has a high content of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats that helps to lower your bad cholesterol levels. It also contains some amount of natural antioxidants - Vitamin E, which is good for the heart. It does not contain any trans-fat, is cholesterol free, and low in saturated fats.
Olive Oil: The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFAs), a healthy dietary fat. Extra virgin olive oil is extensively used in salads as a dressing, and can even be used for light sautéing, while regular olive oil has a high smoke point, and can be used for frying.
While buying olive oil understand well the difference between extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and regular - pomace olive oil. EVOO has more antioxidants, colour, flavour, and aroma than light or extra-light olive oil. It has the same healthy monounsaturated fats. On the other hand, pomace oil is something, which does not contain good amount of antioxidant and MUFA.
Rice Bran Oil: Rice bran oil is often considered as one of the best cooking oils for your heart. It has an ideal balance of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). It has a mild flavour and is neutral in taste. It is light and has a mild nutty flavour.
Avocado oil: Avocado oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fat (70% MUFA content), and it has one of the highest levels of monounsaturated fat among cooking oils, second only to olive oil. Like olive oil, it is also low in PUFA content (10 %). It has a mild flavour similar to avocado fruit, and the oil can withstand high cooking temperatures being high in smoke point, making it suitable for sautéing, grilling, roasting or using in salad dressings.
Grapeseed oil: This versatile cooking oil is extracted from grape seeds left over from wine making process, considered a good all-purpose oil that can be used for sautéing and roasting, or in salad dressings. Grapeseed oil has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fat.
Sesame oil: Sesame oil is a good mix of polyunsaturated fat (46 %) and monounsaturated fat (40 %). The remaining 14 % is saturated fat. It's not usually used as a cooking fat and is used more for its intense flavouring, but used in dressing and topping. Sesame oil lends a nutty flavour to any dish, especially toasted sesame oil, which has a darker colour and bolder flavour.
Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed oil is high in omega 3s and has a very low smoke point, which means it should not be used for high temperature cooking. Flaxseed oil can only be used for dressing, for topping of salads. As it is easily susceptible to oxidation it should be stored at low temperature. Better to refrigerate it.
Mustard Oil: Mustard oil has a near ideal fat composition but it contains high amounts of erucic acid (a natural chemical present in mustard oil) ranging from 35 to 48%. It has a high smoking point so it is very good for deep frying.
The National Institute of Nutrition suggests that you must use a variety of cooking oils and not stick to just one cooking medium to reap maximum health benefits. This is what is also known as rotation of oils in which change your oil every month. Like suppose you choose mustard oil for 1 month switch to rice bran or peanut oil and so on.
In fact, some cooking oils are healthier when used in combination with others, like sunflower oil and mustard oil, or flaxseed and olive oil that have high content of MUFA and PUFAs. Although it is difficult to take home based blended oil because some sort of processing is required for better shelf life. Instead what you can do, is simply use 3 different oils in a day, like for salad add flax seed or olive oil, followed by mustard oil in vegetables and sesame oil for spreads etc.
Always choose an oil based on what sort of cooking you will go for, and check for smoke point of the oil. Like vegetable, peanut and sesame, pomace olive oil has high smoke point than others, and thus they are not oxidized while cooking. Oxidation of fat while cooking/ frying changes their configuration and thus make it unfit for consumption
Storing of oils
Heat and light can have a negative effect on taste and quality over time. Store oil in a cool, dark place and replace if it smells bitter or "off." Grapeseed and walnut oils become quickly rancid, so better to store in the refrigerator. Refrigeration may cause oils to become cloudy - but they will clear up once they return to room temperature.
Q&A Courtesy Bipasha Das, a certified health coach and nutritionist. She runs a diet and wellness clinic ‘Sugati’. She has been awarded Most Recommended Nutritionist of the Year 2018-19 by Brands Impact. She has worked with top hospitals, and is a life member of the Indian Dietetic Association and on the panels of renowned corporate houses like Ericsson, GE Power. Bipasha is working with Municipal Corporation of Delhi - Public Health Department( South Zone) as a consultant, and creating awareness programmes on Women and Children Health, Health for Public Health Workers, Office Sedentary Workers etc.
*Answers are based on general queries. Please contact a professional for any personal treatment.
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