Supermarkets today have an entire section dedicated to food oils
. With such an array of choices one can easily get confused. There are so many things to consider before buying. But how should you choose?
Choosing the right fat
When we say ‘fats’, it includes butter, lard, oils all of which are made of small units called fatty acids which have a specific chemical structure. They are classified as saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. All fats contain all these 3 types of fatty acids, but in varying amounts and are classified by the one that makes up the most percentage. Example: Butter is termed as a saturated fat since it contains the maximum number of saturated fatty acids.
How do I spot them?
-Saturated fats like butter, lard are always solid at room temperature and increase the risk of heart diseases. So a diet in high ‘saturated fats’
should be avoided as far as possible.
-Monounsaturated fats include peanut oil, olive oil, etc. which are liquid at room temperature, but turn cloudy when kept in the fridge. They help to reduce cholesterol levels and in decreasing the risk of heart diseases.
-Polyunsaturated fats like sunflower oil, canola oil will always be in liquid form even when kept in the fridge. Like monounsaturated fats, these also have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the risks of heart conditions.
Which oil to choose?
The choice is obvious. Choose an oil that contains either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats Which oil to choose? The choice is obvious. Choose an oil that contains either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats for healthy eating. Stock your kitchen with a variety of these oils depending on the kind of cooking, their nutritional value and the cost. Here are our top 4 picks for you." for healthy eating. Stock your kitchen with a variety of these oils depending on the kind of cooking, their nutritional value and the cost. Here are our top 4 picks for you.
Its high smoke point (temperature at which the fats get converted into harmful compounds) and neutral taste make it a great choice. Canola oil is versatile for baking, sauteing and roasting. As most of canola oil is refined, it loses most of its antioxidant properties, but has a good shelf life.
Saturated: 7% Monounsaturated: 31% Polyunsaturated:62%
Best used in: Sauteing, baking, salad dressing, roasting.
Due to its high smoke point, avocado oil can be used for deep frying. It helps to reduce cholesterol levels due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids.
Saturated: 11% Monounsaturated: 70% Polyunsaturated:13%
Best used in: Vinaigrette, salad, deep frying, stir fry, sauteing
Rice bran oil
Saturated: 25% Monounsaturated: 38% Polyunsaturated:37%
Best used in: Deep frying, grilling, broiling, stir frying
Extra virgin olive oil
A good source of monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil also contains ‘polyphenols’ antioxidants that keep your heart healthy. Due to its low smoke point, it is not used for deep frying.
Saturated: 14% Monounsaturated: 78% Polyunsaturated:8%
Best used in: Salad dressing, sauteing, pasta, breads
A small tip to remember 1 tablespoon of any cooking oil contains 120 calories. So remember this quick thumb rule: 20-30-50 i.e. 20 % saturated 30% polyunsaturated and 50% monounsaturated when selecting an oil for cooking. A healthy choice would be olive oil for salads and alternating between canola and rice bran for Indian cooking. Next time, pick wisely.