All boils down to right oils

Give your health the gift of right culinary oils

Olive oil

As a homemaker, your responsibilities are endless. You want the best for your family. Health comes first in the list of priorities. Choosing the right edibles that provide nutrition is one of the goals every homemaker pursues.

Today, oil has become a controversial ingredient (due to the healthy eating propaganda) in our cooking. While kitchen-in-charges at home are giving a radical makeover to their diets with zero-fat foods, food lovers are looking for ways to enjoy their favourite fish & chips minus the extra fat.

So, how do oils influence the diet? It all depends on the type and nature of the fat it contains. Selecting the right culinary oil can connect the dots between health and taste. Here is a ready reckoner:

Why have oils?

Fats present in oils are infamous for the adverse effects they have on the human body. However, human anatomy is much dependent on fats that come from oils. Dietary fats are essential for the body.

Fats are the source of energy that body requires to perform activities.

Fats are the source of fatty acids that we need for development and functioning of the body but cannot 
be produced.

Fats envelop nerve cells and help in transmitting electrical messages, and also, a significant portion of the human brain is made of fat that keeps the functioning error-free.

Fat works as a gatekeeper for the body cells; it oversees the incoming and outgoing of elements in cells.

Fats promote healthy skin.

Fats help in producing steroid hormones in the body needed for the regulation of many biological processes.

Essential vitamins like A, D and K are soluble in fat, so, fat is needed for the absorption of these vitamins.

The right choice

You walk into a departmental store and a long isle displays a variety of edible oils. The fallacious marketing strategies that are adopted by some prompt people to invest a hefty amount in a bottle of oil that will affect their health adversely. However, the fundamentals of buying good oil that will add aroma, texture and taste as well as provide health benefits are tricky. So, before embarking on buying a healthy cooking oil, here is a guide everyone must go through...

Understanding Fatty Acids: Fats are micronutrients essential for the development of fatty acids. Oils are of three types: saturated fat, 
unsaturated fat and trans fat.

Saturated fats are fats that contain a high proportion of saturated fatty acids; this type of fat is infamous for causing heart diseases and increasing bad lipids in blood plasma. Hence, their consumption should be regulated. Mostly found in plant oils, unsaturated fats remain liquid in room temperature and are of two types depending upon the nature of fatty acid present in it.

Sources of MUFA

Avocado oil

Oils from nuts

Vegetable oils

Canola

Olive

Macadamia nut oil

Sunflower Oil.

Tallow

Grape-seed oil

But eating more unsaturated fat without cutting back on saturated fat may not result in good level of lipids in the blood.

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA) are found in vegetable oils. This fat remain liquid in room temperature and has great health benefits. Consuming polyunsaturated fat in lieu of saturated fat can help lower the risk of heart diseases, and bad cholesterol in the blood. The two most important fatty acids present in polyunsaturated fat are omega-3 and omega-6. With many health benefits, consuming polyunsaturated fats in a balanced ratio may decrease the risk of high cholesterol and heart diseases.

Sources of PUFA

Soybean

Sesame Oil

Safflower

Chia Seed oil

Trans fats can be categorised into two types, natural and artificial. While natural trans fats have been part of our diet ever since we began eating the meat and dairy from ruminant animals, artificially produced trans fats pose great threat towards health as the chemical treatment of the oil changes its chemical structure, turning it from a liquid into a solid and significantly increases the risk of heart diseases.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the nutrients that reduce burning impairment to the body tissues. The most common nutrient is Vitamin E, although oils contain mixtures of tocopherols and tocotrienols that differ in their contribution to the constancy of oils, and also vary in their implication for human nutrition. Oil having more than one antioxidant holds good value in terms of nutrition.

Smoke point

Smoke point is the oxidative stability, which is, how resistant the oil is in reacting with oxygen before breaking down and potentially producing harmful compounds while exposed to continuous heat. The higher the smoke points, the more convenient to expose such oils to extreme heat. However, high smoke point oils are great for sautéing, oven-baking and stir-frying.

Best oil practices

Buy oils in small bottles to keep them fresh (small bottles are equal to shorter storage time).

Buy organic oils that come in dark glass containers.

Preserve oils in a cold and dark place (temperature and light can alter the chemical composition of oils).

Avoid buying polyunsaturated oils in a plastic bottle.

Oils for health

Excess oil consumption has its shortcomings. The key to healthy oil consumption is quantity & variants. While consuming saturated fat can be harmful to the heart, only vegetable oil intake can result in a deficit of many nutrients, so, the key is to blend. Blending different oils in the diet can supply an adequate amount of fat, antioxidants and other nutrients to the body.

 

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All boils down to right oils

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