Have you ever stuck up with choosing the oil for cooking ??? Here are some facts to be considered and to know before choosing the oils… For the country like india we are definitely not on the right track for choosing oils. Earlier people use to consume oil of what they get from their locality( for eg, south they preferred coconut and sesame oils, east and north with mustard oil, west and centre with groundnut oil) … They did cold compressed process to make it edible…All of a sudden everything was inversed and industrialized refined oils started to rule us…. Does it have impact on our health !!!!!
For an instance, we all know there are increase in cardiovascular diseases (heart problems) in india on recent decades. Do that have correlation with the oils we use now??? yes, it does….
Firstly what are essential oils and why are they required!!!!!
Certain fatty acids like linoleic acid, linolenic acid (ALA), arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid( EPA), decosahexanoic acid (DHA) which are all certain unsaturated fatty acids are cannot be synthesized by our body and so we depend on plants and other animals as a source of supplement.
Why are they necessary!!!!
- They are required for fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)
- For transporting certain essential elements from in and out of the cell
- To maintain the integrity of the cell membrane
- They are responsible for the synthesis of certain vital substances like prostaglandins, prostacyclin, thromboxane, leukotriene etc .. which plays an important role in body defense mechanism, as a platelet aggregation and to stop bleeding, etc.
Thus certain amount of oil intake per day in our regular diet is essential. For an optimal health benefit, try to limit the total fat intake to 25-30 percent of your total calorie intake.
So now, we all talk about trans fats, saturated FA, mono unsaturated FA, polyunsaturated FA, omega 3 and 6 FA!!! What are their clinical significance and which one is necessary for the healthy life!!!! Here comes a brief idea…
Saturated fatty acids (SFA):
- They are the major component of meat products ( mainly red meat) making it white greasy and soilds at room temperature
- Other main sources are dairy products and palm oils
- consumption of saturated fats causes imcreased incidence of coronary heart disease by increasing total plasma cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and increased risk of prostrate and colon cancer
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA):
- It lowers both plasma cholesterol and LDL cholesterol but maintains or increase HDL cholesterol thus decreasing incidence of coronary heart disease.
- Olive oil is rich in MUFA
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA):
- consumption of omega 6 PUFA lower plasma cholesterol and LDL cholesterol but HDL cholestrol is also lowered.
- Consumption of omega 3 PUFA protects from coronary heart diseases and lowering the BP but they have little effect on LDL or HDL cholesterol levels. Flax seeds, canola oil, soyabean oil, and fish oil ( salmon fish) are their main source.
- Nuts, avocados, soyabean, sesame oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil , rice bran oil, etc mainly have omega 6 PUFA and minimal amount of MUFA and SFA.
Now, what are trans fats !!!!
Before knowing about the trans fats, we should know about something called ” SMOKE POINT” . It is the temperature at which the oil starts to burn and smoke.
Why is it so important???
When the oil burns( or reaches it smoke point), the double bonds in unsaturated FA is converted into trans double bonds by partial hydrogenation thus they are chemically unsaturated FA but behave like saturated FA which is termed as trans fatty acid. Dietary intake of trans fatty acids raise the level of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and reduce the HDL cholesterol level thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes... The dietary values referring partial dehydrogenation is nothing but the trans fatty acids.
Thus it is very much important of knowing what oil to use for what purpose…
On coming to refined and unrefined oils,
Unrefined / raw/ virgin / extra virgin oils are simply cold compressed oils which are minimal or nil heat processed whereas refined oils are subjected to high temperature inorder to get its texture , deodorize, colourless, and to increase the smoke point. Thus there are maximum chances of undergoing partial dehydrogenation and becoming trans fatty acids.
Thus choosing up an oil have a silent and critical role to play with our health and fitness.