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Tips for Buying the Best Oil for Better Heart Health

The one universal ingredient that is used commonly across almost every dish is cooking oil. It’s a staple that you will find in any household. But the question we need to ask ourselves is whether we’re really giving a thought to what kind of heart-healthy oil we’re adding to our diet?

The type of oil you cook with becomes the foundation of every meal you eat, and we need to constantly remind ourselves that cooking oil greatly impacts heart health. There are a variety of options available to you in the market, but how do you select the best oil for heart health? So if you’re wondering which oil is good for the heart, let’s understand some important factors to consider when choosing heart-healthy oils. Since edible oils contain fatty acids, and these saturated and unsaturated fatty acids impact our heart health, let us understand these fatty acids. 

Understanding Fatty Acids:

  • Saturated Fatty Acids: A fatty acid is when every carbon atom is connected to a hydrogen atom in the hydrocarbon chain. The more hydrogen bonding, the more the saturation since carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats do not have double bondsThese are fats that are typically solid at room temperature, due to which they are often also referred to as “solid fats”. Saturated fats increase LDL or bad cholesterol which can lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. It is found in foods such as cheese, butter, palm oil, poultry with skin, pork, beef, and other red meats.

 

  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs): Chemically, MUFAs are fatty acids with one unsaturated double bond. These are a healthy class of fats typically found in plant or seed-based oils such as olive, sunflower, soybean, and nuts such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts. Monounsaturated fats contain properties that can aid heart healthReplacing saturated fats with MUFAs help by lowering LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, Total: HDL ratio and hence reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs): PUFAs contain two or more double bonds. These are other healthy types of fats that provide essential fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are critical for brain function and cell growth. Polyunsaturated fats play a significant role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 PUFAs may protect against cardiovascular diseases through several mechanisms, including acting as an antiatherogenic agent, lowering triglycerides, slightly lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammatory responses. Some foods containing this type of fat are walnuts, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, soybean oil, and fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout.
  • Trans Fats: These are a type of unsaturated fats and can be found in both natural and synthetic forms. Similar to saturated fats, when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil at the industrial level, this process solidifies the oil and can be harmful to your health. Trans fat is  harmful because it not only increases bad cholesterol but also reduces good cholesterol, becoming a direct pathway to heart problems. Foods containing trans fat include fried foods such as fries, some vegetable oils, vegetable shortening, and bakery items containing vegetable shortening such as muffins, cakes, and so on. Trans fat is an unhealthy fat and should be avoided as much as possible. 

The fatty acids are important to be consumed and perform different functions in oils and in the body. A balance between them is hence important. According to the American Heart Association, an ideal ratio of SFA:MUFA: PUFA is 1:1:1/1:1.3:1. Most single seed oils are either rich in MUFA or PUFA. Choose blended cooking oils, that have a blend of two oils to get a good balance of these fatty acids that help get better nutrition and heart health.

Check The Smoke Point of The Cooking Oil

Smoke point or burning point refers to the point at which oil stops smoking and a high smoke point is always more desirable because overheating can release harmful toxins, causing the oil to lose all of its nutritional value. Blended oils are the best oil for the heart as they tend to have a higher smoke point since it is a good blend of SFA:MUFA: PUFA which contain saturated fats that have a higher smoke point, so you can use them for different styles of cooking like frying, and baking without worry. 

Why Blended Cooking Oil is Better Than Regular Cooking Oil

So, what is blended oil and why is it beneficial? Blended oils mix MUFAs and PUFAs into a single heart-healthy oil, providing a rich supply of both fatty acids which are highly beneficial for heart health.Because blended oils have a high smoke point, they may be used in a wide range of dishes and cuisines. They also have a neutral flavour, so you don’t have to worry about the oil affecting the taste of your food; their flavour is hardly detectable, allowing the other elements in your meal to shine!   A popular choice for blended cooking oil in India is Saffola Gold which is one of the best cooking oils for heart health. A low cholesterol oil that is a combination of rice bran and sunflower oil, to keep your heart health in check. To have a more detailed understanding of the benefits of blended cooking oil, read our blog “What are Blended Cooking Oils & Why They’re Good For You”.

 

References: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4593072/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955571/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875103/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719153/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23527564/ 

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990724/

Categories
General

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy in Your 30s

There’s something special about entering your 30s. You’re still young but it’s when you’re officially transitioning into the “real” world of adulthood. It’s an exciting time to embrace — one where you still enjoy a lot of the same things you would do in your earlier days, but you also feel a sense of maturity setting in by taking on more responsibility as you go on to live a more independent life.

In terms of health, it’s time to consciously define some healthy habits in your 30s to ensure you are fit as a fiddle as you march into the future. Your body starts showing signs of change. External lifestyle factors such as stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise play a role in the development of cardiovascular problems. As responsibilities increase in our 30s, so does the impact of these lifestyle factors, given that people tend to turn to unhealthy habits as coping mechanisms. Since these factors can directly impact your heart, you build healthy habits in your 30s to lay the foundation for a healthy heart, and therefore, a healthier future. 

We recommend a few heart health tips you can take early on and keep heart healthy and strong to prevent the risk of heart problems as we grow older. Let us look at some ways to keep our hearts healthy as we age. 

Heart Health Tips to follow in your 30s

  • Exercise

As you hit your 30s, you need to be more proactive with your fitness because of changing body compositions that affect a person later in life — as you age, muscle is replaced by fat over time, which can affect health. Fitting within the right weight bracket does not translate to being physically fit as measuring your weight doesn’t take your muscle-to-fat ratio into consideration. It is vital to keep the fat percentage in your body within the recommended limits to keep heart healthy. As Indians, we tend to include more carbohydrates in our meals, and hence there are chances that our  BMI or Body Mass Index is not ideal. Simply put, BMI screens for nutritional status basis height and weight categorizing into underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese.  A BMI within 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy. Moreover, if your days are spent most of the time in the office with little to no time for any physical activity, you might be leading a sedentary lifestyle that is not doing your heart health any good. 

 Recent studies have indicated that even light to moderate activity may provide substantial protection against cardiovascular diseases. High blood pressure is a common heart-related issue that affects a large segment of people. Blood pressure is the pressure of circulating blood against the walls of blood vessels. This affects the proper functioning of all the systems in the body and causes excessive stress on the arterial wall resulting in cardiovascular problems.

Exercise can help reduce blood pressure and also prevent it from increasing at a later stage in life. The best way how to keep heart healthy and strong is to devote at least 30 minutes daily to cardio (also known as aerobic exercise). You can consider brisk walking, running, aerobics, swimming, or dancing. 

  • Less Stress

Your 30s are a time when stress becomes almost a natural part of your life. You are worried about your next promotion and salary hike, the admission of your child to a reputable school, and other life pressures that you have to keep up with. Moreover, life in cities can come with its own set of stressors like living in nuclear setups and managing everything single-handedly.

Stress increases the amount of the hormone cortisol your body produces. Studies show that long-term stress and releasing this hormone can increase your blood cholesterol. Stress can also increase the chances of stroke. 

To manage stress, it is also essential to look after your emotional and mental health. Similar to how exercise is important for your body, meditation can prove to be a highly effective way to improve your mental health. 

Another way to look after mental health is to try and build a strong support system that can give you strength during tough times. If you have depression or anxiety, it is advisable to seek counselling and medical help. Research has shown that such mental problems can increase the chances of heart disease.

Additionally, sleep is an important factor to keep in mind. Maintaining a daily bedtime and wake-up time along with 7-8 hours of sleep can also help you reduce stress.

  • Diet

Your diet plays a crucial role in keeping your heart healthy. It is also the one thing that you can easily control with small tweaks here and there. It’s best to start taking care of your heart in your 30s even if you may not have paid much attention to your diet in your 20s.

 The kind of food you eat can positively or negatively impact your health and hence, an informed decision when selecting foods is necessary. A good way to start is to read up on foods that you can add to your diet for better heart health.  Another factor is to consider the oil in which you cook your food since it is a key ingredient in every meal. It is recommended to include more heart-healthy oils which have a good MUFA: PUFA balance and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and completely avoid trans-fat in your diet. Trans fat refers to oils that have hydrogen added to give them a longer shelf life. They are not good for the heart as they can increase bad cholesterol and hence, it is important to read nutritional labels to understand the percentage of trans fat in food items.  There are many oils available in the market and blended oils can be a good and convenient option. Blended oils have the goodness of two oils in one oil, a classic example of blended oil is Saffola Gold provides a good balance of MUFA: PUFA. Apart from this, make sure that you include recommended amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet. 

  • Limit Sugar and Salt

As you begin to make your food choices almost independently for yourself and your family in your 30s, you should also be aware of how two of the most common ingredients affect your heart health. Many beverages and snacks are much higher in sugar and salt than you might think. While too much salt can increase your blood pressure, studies also show that too much sugar can increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It is alright to indulge occasionally but it is advisable to pay attention to your consumption. 

In a world where cardiovascular disorders are becoming more and more common, the solution on how to keep heart healthy and strong lies within you. Your thirties are the time when you can enjoy the fruits of your hard work from your 20s. It is also the time when many settle and are at a stage in their life where they begin many new chapters of their lives personally and professionally. Making these lifestyle changes in your 30s will set the base for a hearty and long life. 

Remember, it’s always best to start early and inculcate these healthy habits in your 30s  so you can make every moment count as you set foot into achieving new milestones. For more heart health tips, read our blog on 5 Habits You Can Start Today for a Healthier Heart.

References 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880224/ 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6457109/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17373409/ 
  4. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.CIR.0000048890.59383.8D 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116747/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1993964/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6042975/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856550/ 
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31865786/ 
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4914008/ 
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4984841/