All about choosing the right oil

HEALTH ISSUE

All about choosing the right oil

Oil as an ingredient in Indian or most international cuisines is vital and almost indispensable. In fact, so commonly is it used that one takes it for granted when setting oneself up for cooking a meal.

Of the oils most commonly used in India are the mustard and the vegetable oil or vanaspati. However, in the last few decades, other refined oils like sunflower oil, groundnut oil etc. have been introduced how many of us really know what these oils really comprise of? Do you know, for instance, which oils are the best when it comes to frying or what is the proper way to store oil? Are you well versed with the usage of each different oil? Or for that matter, its benefits and its disadvantages?

Olive and soyabean oils are also being used quite routinely in cooking nowadays. We all know that Indian cooking is said to be incomplete without cooking oil, In fact, some believe that more the oil, better the taste. But that is a myth on its way out. Not only that, accompanying it is a cautionary note which states that wrong or too much oil can adversely affect health too.

The importance of cooking oil begins with the fact that it binds all the ingredients better. When a few bay leaves, curry leaves, pepper etc. are put into oil, the fragrance it emits is out of this world. Different ingredients bring different flavour and hence it depends on what you dish you are planning.

While certain diets advocate cutting down on quantity of oil used, they overlook the properties of various oils which also have health benefits. It is important to understand these benefits since oils contain good fats like mono-saturated fats, Omega 3 and Omega 6 that play an essential role in the body. So while one should not cut out cooking oil altogether, it makes sense to choose the healthiest option. 

Ritika Samaddar, chief dietician with Max Health Care says that, “Oil is essential for a body. It is important for the glow on the skin and acts as a cushion for brain and nerves. Fat covers these organs and protects them.” In other words, one should not do away with oil altogether.

But do make an effort to make minor changes to lead a healthier life. Diet management is one such change and unlike popular belief, diet management is not about giving up your favourite food but to make smarter decisions and substituting certain ingredients. According to Ritika, one can use a combination of oils for healthy living. “Oils contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated acid which is beneficial for all. Indian oils only have one kind of these acids, so it is advisable to take oils in combination.”

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