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October 20, 2019
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Health Top Stories

Are you cooking food in a healthy oil?

Your cooking oil is the major determinant of your health. So, you need to know about the type you are using and its pros and cons. Here is what you should know about the different kinds of oils,

Commonly used oils

Different types of oils are used in various parts of the country depending on the regions. Also, availability and cost are important deciding factors.

The commonly used oils are groundnut oil, sunflower and safflower (kardi) oils. The latter two should not be used as the sole cooking medium. These are not the ideal choices. If you insist on using them then rotate the oils, get a different one every time you buy.

Preventive cardiology and rehabilitation expert Dr Ashish Contractor says, “There is no particular cooking oil that I have noticed patients with heart disease consuming. Rather, it’s an excess of cooking oil which is the culprit, as opposed to the specific composition of the oil. Oil consumed in moderation, which is about 0.5-0.75 liters per person per month is fine. In addition, several people tend to have a high ghee consumption, which may be hazardous. In a very small quantity, ghee consumption is fine for those who are habituated to it.”

What renders a healthy oil?

Senior nutritionist Dr Rekha Sharma defines a healthy oil as one with negligible trans fats, minimum saturated fats, good amount of MUFA (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) and PUFA (PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acid), and Omega-3. So where do ricebran and canola stand, speaking of healthy oils? “MUFA is very good for regulation of blood sugar and hence, beneficial for diabetics. On the MUFA scale, Olive, Canola, Ricebran and then comes Groundnut oil, respectively,” she says. Health-wise, the worst oils are vanaspati ghee, partially hydrogenated oil, and trans fats.

Rice bran oil

Rice bran oil extracted from the thin bran coating of brown rice.

Rice bran oil is rich in gamma-oryzanol, chemical compound and tocotrienol — a type of vitamin E that lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol), antioxidants like squalene, tocopherol, besides containing MUFA and PUFA, etc.

Canola Oil

Canola oil comes from the seeds of the canola plant. After harvesting, the seeds are crushed and the oil contained within the seed is extracted.

Besides being very low in saturated fats, Canola oil contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, rich in MUFA like oleic acid, valuable amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin E, particularly gamma-tocopherol, etc.