In India, the oil one uses for cooking widely varies from place to place. It has been like this since a very long time.
For example, coconut oil is the widely used cooking oil in Kerala while it is sesame oil in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
While mustard oil is the most used cooking oil in the north and the east, it is groundnut oil that is widely used in Central India and Gujarat.This variation is what makes the food prepared in each region unique and specific to the culture in that particular area.
However, today, the scenario is completely different. It is a global market now and with different types of oils coming in from all over the world, it has become more confusing to choose the right and best cooking oil for heart health.
Even though there are numerous articles and other sources of information that talk about the healthy cooking oils, people are still in a major dilemma.
With pollution increasing day-by-day, it has a bad effect on our health.
So, the least we can possibly do is eat right and restore optimal health in ourselves. But, in order to do that, it is important to use the right oil for you and your family.
There are a few steps which, if you follow and go by when selecting the right cooking oil for your family, will significantly improve the heart health of you and your family.
Step 1: Knowing about the different types of fatty acids
There are various types of fatty acids that are present in each and every type of cooking oil.
Due to their varying chemical properties, these fatty acids perform differently in the body and affect the health of an individual, especially when it comes to the heart’s health.
Therefore, a very clear line of distinction must be made between the fatty acids that are good for you and the ones that are detrimental.
So, equip yourself with the knowledge of the different kinds of fatty acids and which cooking oils contain which fatty acids and in what amounts.
The one thing that you really need to make sure is that the oil you choose is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids as they are the good fatty acids.
The ones you should ignore or consume very less are saturated fatty acids as they are detrimental to your heart’s health.
Step 2: Identifying the various kinds of fatty acids present in the different oils
It is very important to identify the different kinds of fatty acids, namely, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Identifying and analyzing the percentage of them present in cooking oils will help you tremendously in choosing the right and healthy oil for you and your family.
While butter is rich in saturated fats, sunflower and canola oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, whereas olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
After identifying the different types of fatty acids present in the different cooking oils, it is important to understand the amount of fat that is essential for your body.
Step 3: Understanding the amount of fat that is essential for your body
Firstly, it is important to make sure that you are on a healthy and balanced diet.
Secondly, it is important to make sure that your fat intake on a per day basis should not cross 25 to 35 percent of your daily calorific requirements.
Thirdly, it is important to make sure that your saturated fat intake should be less than 10 percent of your overall calorific requirements.
Therefore, your immune system, heart, lungs, brain and in other words, your overall health will be widely affected by the kind of cooking oil you choose. So, choose carefully.
The right kind of cooking oil is very important to make sure that you and your family are in the pink of health, always.
Step 4: Know which fats are healthy or unhealthy and why so
Saturated Fats: When you consume an excess of saturated fats, it is very detrimental to your overall health. It is specifically very harmful for your heart as it increases the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
Low Density Lipo Proteins are the ones that are the main culprit which are referred to as the “bad” cholesterol.
The excess bad cholesterol is harmful for your heart because, it accumulates in the arterial walls, making them thick and hard. This condition is referred to as the coronary artery disease.
For cooking purposes, it is important that you substitute the unhealthy saturated fats with healthy oils.
Now, speaking of healthy oils, they are the ones that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are referred to as polyunsaturated fatty acids and are good for your heart. This is because these fatty acids stimulate the production of HDL or High Density Lipo Proteins, that are referred to as the “good” cholesterol.
Step 5: Choose heart-friendly oils
The following three oils are heart-friendly and have immense benefits for your heart:
Sunflower Oil: Being rich in Vitamin E and phytochemicals like choline and phenolic acid that are highly beneficial for the heart, sunflower oil is the top pick when it comes to cooking oils that are heart-healthy.
It is also very low in saturated fats and rich in monounsaturated as well as contains polyunsaturated fats along with vitamins, which makes it one of the healthiest cooking oils in the world.
Thus, sunflower oil helps in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and heart attack.
Sunflower oil also maintains a good balance of cholesterol in the body.
This amazing cooking oil also contains lecithin which lowers the cholesterol levels in the body significantly.
Canola Oil: Canola oil is another healthy cooking oil to go for because of its richness in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated acids.
It is a mild flavored cooking oil that has helps in controlling the blood sugar levels.
It contains 62% of monounsaturated fats, 31% of polyunsaturated fats and 7% of saturated fats.
Olive Oil: As Olive oil is very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which accounts for 78% of its total composition, it improves the HDL levels significantly.
This makes it a protective oil for the heart. Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive oils are extra beneficial for the heart as they contain polyphenols, which are effective antioxidants.
Plus, they have a more intense taste than the regular olive oil. Olive oil is particular great for the preparation of steamed vegetables.
Walnut Oil: Walnut oil is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, that is, 67% of its total composition.
24% of monounsaturated fatty acids and 9% of saturated fatty acids form the rest of its composition.
It contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for the brain and the heart.
So, it is always important to make sure that your diet is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids while highly low in saturated fatty acids.
Although, just like anything in excess is bad for the health, even monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids should be taken in limited qualities and there should not be an excess of intake.