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How To Choose Heart Healthy Cooking Oils?

The number patients suffering from heart disease or cardiovascular disease is rapidly increasing with time due to poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, high stress levels, etc. It is much required to concentrate on the prevention of this issue. CAD or coronary artery disease is one of the most rapidly increasing form of heart disease. It is much important to focus on your life style and manage it in a better way and let’s start this from your cooking oils.

Oils are very rich sources of fats but these cannot be neglected in India. Edible oils which are rich in bad cholesterol,  trans and saturated fats, and so on prolonged consumption can cause plaque formation in arteries which leads to blockages and heart attacks; but those with MUFA, PUFA especially omega-3 PUFA provide protection instead of giving bad results. However, no single type of oil available on this Earth has a perfect blend of fatty acids as per body requirements.

In different regions of India, different oils can be found to be used prominently in households. For instance, Western and Southern India mostly uses groundnut oil while Eastern India uses mustard oil. However, research says that we should use a blend of oils to keep heart healthy.

Dr. Manoj Kumar, Associate Director & Head of Cardiac Cath Lab, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj

says that we need 15 – 30% of fats every day. The oils we consume should be healthier and should have unsaturated fats to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Foods rich in MUFA or mono-saturated fatty acids reduce the LDL or bad cholesterol levels and increase the HDL or good cholesterol levels. Few of such nutrient rich oils include ground nut oil, mustard oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, canola oil, etc. Remember that animal based fats are rich in cholesterol but few types of vegetable based oils having no cholesterol can also lead to serious endogenous cholesterol production in the body. So, it’s essential to choose right type of oil and proper blend of oils.

Dietary fats can be of various types like saturated, partially hydrogenated or trans, unsaturated, mono saturated and poly saturated fatty acids. A blend of these fats and minor components of tocotrienols, oryzanol and balanced SFA, MUFA and PUFA can give favorable serum lipid profiles that work against CAD or coronary artery disease.

Dr. Santosh Kumar Agarwal, Sr. Interventional Cardiologist, Kailash Hospital & Heart Institute, Noida says that, though all the oils have almost equal amounts of calories, the amount of healthy fats or unsaturated fats varies among oils.

Sunflower oil and corn oil are rich in PUFA or poly-saturated fatty acids which reduce LDL cholesterol and have good insulin sensitivity. These fats are recommended to patients with heart disease.

Ready to eat foods consist of trans – fatty acids which develop the plaque and lead to obesity. So, these foods should be consumed in moderation. It is essential to have fats in diet because it helps in proper absorption of vitamins like A, D, E and K. These are dense energy sources and essential fatty acids which can’t be produced by the body. So, never eliminate them from diet and instead add heart healthy oils to the diet.

While selecting oil, check the fatty acid profile of the oil and the micronutrients present in it. Prefer oils with mono-saturated oils to cook such as groundnut oil, canola oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil, etc. Also remember that these oils do not contain enough omega-3 fatty acids; so you need to take it from other sources.

Oils should not be over heated or smoked in order to prevent this from oxidation and rancidity. Overheating causes oxidation and forms products like peroxides, hydro-peroxides, and secondary products like aldehydes and volatile compounds that lead to serious heart problems and even cancer. Look for oils which can be used to cook on high temperatures and never re-use fried oil.

Foods like precooked and processed foods contain so much fat; these include biscuits, puff pastries, cookies, etc. Foods like papads, chutney, pickles, etc. also have invisible fats. All such foods should be consumed in moderate quantities.

Choose cooking oil wisely, eat healthy and stay healthy.

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