3 Best Heart Healthy Edible Oils
It is recommended that about 15-30% of the total daily calories should come from fats out of which 8-10% should be from saturated fats and the rest from mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
Most researches have proved that consumption of increased amounts of saturated fats along with a diet high in refined carbohydrates is more harmful for heart health compared to consumption of correct types and amounts of oils.
Hence the question, which oils are to choose for better heart health and for health in general?
Flaxseeds are well-known for their powerful health effects. Health benefits of flaxseed oil also known as linseed oil are:
Health Benefits of Flaxseed Oil:
- Good source of ALA (α-linoleic Acid ) a type of ω-3 fatty acid (an essential fatty acid) which is not produced in the body
- Reduces platelet aggregation (clot) in the arteries, helpful in improving heart health.
- It helps to reduce blood pressure and is therefore heart friendly.
- Flaxseed oil help to reduce inflammation, helping to reduce burden of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes type 2.
- Helps reduce risk of some cancers due to presence of lignans (a phenolic compound).
- Flaxseed oil also helps improve digestion and prevent constipation.
- Good source of minerals which include calcium and magnesium.
Uses: Flaxseed oil should not be used for frying or baking as it has a low boiling point, so heat could affect the quality of oil it is best suited for salad dressings and in smoothies etc.
Contraindications: People on blood thinners must avoid flaxseed oil as it may cause excessive bleeding.
Sesame seeds are also called the “Queen of oilseeds”. Although, sesame oil is a staple in Asian and Indian cooking, it has also been recognized by American Heart Association as a heart-healthy cooking oil. This is because, sesame oil contains 82% unsaturated fatty acids, which are heart friendly fatty acids. The health benefits of sesame oil are:
Health Benefits of Sesame Oil:
- It is rich in ω-9 fatty acid, also known as oleic acid, which is of mono-unsaturated fatty acid and is one of the best heart healthy fatty acid.
- Sesame oil helps to increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and also reduce serum triglyceride levels.
- Sesame oil helps to lower blood pressure, is anti-inflammatory and is rich in anti-oxidants.
- It boosts the production of serotonin hormone in the brain, thus improving mood and relieving depression and anxiety.
- It also has a good amount of vitamin E, mostly in the form of gamma-tocopherol.
- Helpful in long term blood sugar regulation and reducing HbA1c
Uses: Light sesame oil can be used for sautéing and stir-frying and dark oil can be used for salad dressings and sauces.
Contraindications: People who are allergic to sesame should try and avoid it. Also, as sesame oil is difficult to digest, individuals having digestive problems should not use it
Coconut as the name suggests is thought of as a nut, however it is fruit and not a nut. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), which are considered heart healthy and help to raise the serum levels of HDL Cholesterol (Good Cholesterol).
Health benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil:
- MCT’s in virgin coconut oil are not stored in body and are easily digested.
- Virgin coconut oil have been shown to improve BMR, that is the number of calories one burns or the rate at which body uses energy.
- MCT’s act as a quick source of energy to the body. So, it improves satiety, reduces hunger and boosts weight loss.
- Studies have shown that people with coronary artery disease, who added virgin coconut oil to diet lost weight and improved HDL levels.
- Virgin Coconut oil is a good source of anti-oxidants which reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. This way they help to prevent many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes type 2, etc.
- Virgin coconut oil has been shown to improve memory and brain functions.
Uses: As coconut oil is stable at high temperature, it is ideal for most cooking methods. It can be used as a substitute of butter in some recipes. For best results, however, virgin coconut oil should be used and not the refined varieties. It should be used in combination with other poly-unsaturated fatty acid rich oils. Also, total daily calories from MCT’s should not exceed 10% of the total daily calorie requirement.
Contraindications: While most people tolerate coconut oil, individuals with allergy to coconut should avoid it
WORD OF CAUTION:
Oils have to be used prudently with a mixed diet such as Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, low fat dairy and fish. Not more than 15-30% of the daily calories should come from oils and fats.
Why Cold Pressed Oils:
Cold pressed oils are better for two main reasons:
- Cold pressed oils retain essential nutrients better as compared to the normal methods of extracting and refining. So, cold pressed oils are richer in most antioxidants, vitamins E, K and C and the essential fatty acids.
- The increased temperature and chemicals used in the treatment of hot-pressed- refined-oils, increase the risk of many diseases including strokes and heart attacks.
More to come on healthy food choices, healthy oils, from us. For more information and diet consultations drop a comment.
*ALA -α-linoleic Acid – Beneficial for heart health
#hearthealth # hearthealthy # heartfriendly #omega3fattyacid
Ms Sunita Roy Chowdhury, Senior Nutritionist, Dietician and Nutrition Educator
Healthynudgez and Guiding Stars Open Learning Academy,
Under the banner of SS Guiding Stars Pvt. Ltd.
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