- Cooking oil is used in almost every dish
- Ghee has now recognized as super fat
- Reheated fat should also be avoided
Cooking oil is used in almost every dish. It is used while baking, drizzling, as a topping and sauteing. Therefore, it becomes very important to choose the oil carefully. The oil which goes into cooking should be healthy for the human consumption. However, now a days there are many cooking oils available in the market like olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, soyabean oil, nut oil, hempseed oil, coconut oil and many more. Delhi-based nutritionist Pooja Malhotra said, " All fats and oils essentially contain equal number of calories. However, all fats and oils are not created equally. They all vary in their fatty acid composition which makes them healthy and unhealthy."
Have a look at some of the healthy fats and oils:
Nutritionist said, "Ghee is now recognized as a super fat. It comprises of short-chain fatty acids. These are preferentially used by the body. It helps to reduce the glycemic index, obesity, insulin resistance, PCOD and diabetes. It is rich in antioxidants and has a high smoking point. Also, ghee is recognized as heart-friendly. It has long been demonized as unhealthy for the heart but that is not the case now."
2. Mustard oil:
"Mustard oil mainly consists of monounsaturated fatty acids. It helps to lower the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It improves good cholesterol which is HDL. It is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, has high smoking point, aids in digestion and is suitable for frying," adds nutritionist Pooja Malhotra.
3. Olive oil:
She continues to say, "The much celebrated olive oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and is quite healthy. But it is not a local food for Indians. It's a local food for Mediterranean population. Importing it to India only increases the carbon footprint."
4. Vegetable oil"
"We have a variety of healthy vegetable oil, so depending upon which part or region you belong to you can select the vegetable oil." So if anywhere you are near the coastline you can choose coconut oil. It is a healthy option and contains medium chain triglycerides which are preferentially used as a source of fuel, supports thyroid function, reduces glycemic index of meals and is also safe for diabetics," added nutritionist Pooja Malhotra.
5. Rice bran oil:
According to nutritionist, "Rice bran is also quite healthy as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also contains some important antioxidants so rice brain oil is also a good choice."
Nutritionist Pooja Malhotra said, "The unhealthiest of all fats is trans fats. Trans fats are produced when the liquid vegetable oils are hydrogenated and it solidifies so it is a very cheap form of solid fat. It is used in bakeries and confectioneries. Trans fat is really the unhealthiest type of fat. It's toxic and carcinogenic and must be avoided. Trans fats include Vanaspati; which is the local Dalda variety."
Further she went on to say, "Fats which are high in saturated fatty acids content are also unhealthy. These foods include red meats, salted butter and processed food items which contain saturated fats and trans fats. Bakery items, microwavable popcorn, cream crackers and cookies are all high in unhealthy type of fat. These foods must be avoided and healthy oil must be used in moderation."
However, nutritionist Pooja Malhotra said, "Fat should not be eliminated from the diet as they perform the vital functions. However, one should choose the type of fat wisely in their diet and should be eaten in moderation. Hidden sources of healthy fats include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, fatty fish and healthy seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds."
To conclude the nutritionist advised, "Reheated fat should also be avoided. It is very unhealthy. When you buy street food like cutlets, fritters or samosa you will realize that they continue to use the same oil for days. The fat gets broken down because it reaches its smoke point. It converts into trans fat which is toxic. So if you want to eat fried food items, try frying at home and in moderation. Also, you can discard the oil once its fried."
(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)
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