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Choose your oil wisely, live well

health and fitness Updated: Jun 24, 2013 01:37 IST
Sidhartha Dutta
Sidhartha Dutta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Every cooking oil advertisement on television would tell you that it is better than the one you have in the kitchen. But the common strain is that it’s heart-friendly.

The hyperbolic claims of cooking oil companies notwithstanding, choosing the right oil actually matters to your health.

And there is research to back this claim. Latest studies have proved that choosing the right kind of cooking oil can make a lot of difference to your health.

Experts stress on the need to avoid hydrogenated fats (when unsaturated fats are converted to saturated fats to increase its flavour and shelf life) to prevent heart ailments.

“Coronary artery disease is the most common ailment. As the amount of cholesterol goes up in the body, it starts getting deposited on the walls of arteries.

Clogged arteries block the flow of blood, leading to heart attacks,” said Dr Subhash Chandra, associate director interventional cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

Saturated fats (that solidifies at room temperature) such as ghee, butter, cheese and coconut oils should be avoided to prevent heart ailments. Repeated heating of oil and deep fried items get converted into trans fats, which are very harmful for the heart.

“Diabetic, hypertensive, smokers and persons with a family history of heart problems have the propensity to be more susceptible to heart ailments. Oils like mustard oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil and a good mix of Monounsaturated Fatty Acid (MUFA) and Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that lower bad cholesterol should be consumed,” he added.

“Indian style of cooking is the worst because of the excessive use of oil and spices. Bakery products should be avoided because they contain trans fats, that cause damage to blood vessels.

MUFA-rich oils are better for Indian cooking as it has high smoke point. But people should keep changing their cooking oil to get a good proportion of MUFA and PUFA-rich oils, which are healthy,” said Dr Neeraj Bhalla, director and senior consultant, cardiology, BLK Super Specialty Hospital.

Quiz: how healthy is your heart?