Every Indian household has its own take on food depending on personal and regional preferences. One of the most important ingredients available in all houses for all cuisines is cooking oil. It is the most commonly used ingredient in cooking and we almost never give a second thought to understanding how to choose the right oil for overall and heart health.
It is important to choose the best cooking oil for heart health as the heart is among the most vital organs in the body. Making sure your heart is strong and healthy can help you lead a healthy life away from high cholesterol, high blood pressure and any other heart diseases. Even though the fat present in the oil performs important functions like providing your body with energy, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and organ protection and insulation, excess of the ‘bad’ kind of oil and in turn fat can lead to high cholesterol levels and affect heart health.
So here’s us telling you what makes a cooking oil heart-healthy, and how you can choose the right one!
Factors that Make a Cooking Oil Good for Heart Health
1. A good balance of Monounsaturated fatty acids and Polyunsaturated fatty acids:
The most heart-healthy cooking oils are those that contain a good balance of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce the levels of harmful LDL cholesterol in your blood and increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol since it causes plaque formation in the arteries. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol since it carries the bad cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, from where it is flushed out. Here is the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol in greater detail.
Heart-healthy fats can be found in nuts and seeds like peanuts, walnuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, avocados, fatty fish, etc. Oil is a predominant source of fat and you should choose a healthy oil for cooking, which can help lower LDL cholesterol. Saffola Gold’s dual-seed technology is a blend of two oils which helps you achieve a good balance of healthy fatty acids like MUFA and PUFA for better nutrition. It also contains oryzanol which helps manage your cholesterol levels. Its Triple-Antioxidant system makes it one of the best cooking oils for heart health.
2. Low levels of saturated and trans fats
Oils from animal-based fat products such as butter, lard, animal fat, full-fat dairy, and plant-based fat products like tropical oils (palm, palm kernel), and fully hydrogenated oils, all contain trans fat and saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids play key roles in the body, however, excess of saturated fats can increase total cholesterol levels, including the more harmful, LDL cholesterol and should hence be consumed in moderation. On the other hand, trans fat is completely harmful because it not only increases the LDL cholesterol but also decreases the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), hence, trans-fats should be completely avoided.
High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choosing a blended oil like Saffola Gold which contains a good balance of unsaturated fats – MUFA and PUFA can help in maintaining a healthy heart.
3. Rich in antioxidants:
Free radicals are unstable compounds in the body that are caused by exposure to toxins, alcohol, smoking, etc. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help fight free radicals. Oxidative damage occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants which can lead to various diseases. Hence, antioxidants available in foods and oils can help protect us from damage. (Source)
Using a cooking oil that is enriched with antioxidants is a great way to reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health. A blended oil like Saffola Gold has the power of natural antioxidants and is fortified with nutrients such as Vitamin A & D that also possess antioxidant properties. It is a blend of refined rice bran oil and refined sunflower oil and this combination gives you the benefits of both, making it one of the best cooking oil for everyday use.
4. High smoke point:
Simply put, the smoke point is the temperature at which cooking oils begins to smoke.. This can cause the oil to deteriorate and produce harmful chemicals and free radicals. In the body, free radicals can damage cells and cause inflammation, and prolonged inflammation can lead to chronic diseases. Deterioration of oil can also affect the taste of the food. When cooking foods that require high-temperature cooking such as deep frying, high smoke point oil should be used. Whereas low smoke point oils should only be used as dressings on salads. Therefore, you must go for oils that have a high smoking point when cooking at high temperatures that can sustain their nutrients.
To summarise, your heart is one of the most important organs within your body, which has the responsibility of keeping you alive. That’s why it is up to you to make the right choice for your health and start cooking your meals with the right heart-healthy cooking oils that help make your dishes tastier and healthier.