Which Is The Right Oil?

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When it comes to choosing the right one for the family, you are totally confused as there are a variety of oils in the market along with claims their manufacturer advertises. You have to make a choice from the traditional ghee, mustard, coconut, gingili on one hand and on the other hand are Vanaspathi, groundnut and a number of vegetable oils such as Sunflower, Safflower, Corn, Canola, Soybean, Cottonseed, palm and Rice bran oil.

WHICH TO CHOOSE?

Before attempting to choose the best healthy one, let us know some of the facts.

All cooking oil is pure fat obtained from plant or animal. All cooking oils are made up of a combination of fatty acids, which may be a) Saturated fatty acids – SFA, b) mona-unsaturated fatty acids – MUFA, c) poly-unsaturated fatty acids – PUFA.

Saturated fats – found in animal fats – raise LDL cholesterol in blood and at the same time reduces HDLcholesterol. Vegetable oils / plant oils -like palm and coconut are very high in saturated fats. These aregood for infants and children only.

Mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats lowers total and LDL cholesterol.

MUSTARD

A study by the Harvard School of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and St. John Hospital, BLR found that chances of heart disease drop by 70% when mustard oil if used for cooking.

Mustard oil's nutritional value compares well with that of Olive oil.

RICE BRAN

The oil is extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. This oil is abundant in antioxidants such as tocopherol, Oryzanol and tocotrienol. Oryzanol reduces bad cholesterol but not good cholesterol,

Tocotrienol is a powerful natural vitamin E has anti-cancer properties. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says rice bran oil lowers cholesterol. Bad LDL cholesterol went down by 7%, whereas good HDL remained unchanged. This oil has an ability to counter ageing.

Given below is a comparative list of fatty acid composition of various oils with WHO recommendation. Recommendation by WHO for SFA: MUFA: PUFA is 1.0: 1.5: 1.0

CHOOSE THE RIGHT OIL

FATTY ACID PERCENT

OIL

SFA

MUFA

PUFA

WHO Recommendation

28.6

42.8

28.6

Mustard

6

67

27

Cotton Seed

28

22

50

Sunflower

12

21

67

Soybean

16

24

60

Palm

51

39

10

Olive

14

77

9

Canola

6

58

36

Corn

13

20

62

Coconut

92

6

2

Groundnut

20

50

30

Rice Bran

18

45

37

The oil used for frying should withstand the high temperature without breaking down. The one used for cooking should have a ideal balance between mufa and pufa.

Select one which is rich in omega-3 fatty acid.

Avoid trans fats, which are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. They cause weight gain and excess abdominal fat-risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. These oils lower D HDL cholesterol which takes HDL cholesterol to the liver, where it is broken down and excreted. As these oil increases LDL cholesterol, which clogs the arteries.

The best is to use a variety of oils judiciously. A combination of these ensures intake of all essential fatty acids. The oils can be rotated over the months.

YOU CAN CONSIDER

1) For Cooking: Mustard, Canola

2) For Frying: Rice Bran, groundnut.

by Raghu Natrajan

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