Change Your Oil, Not Your Food
For good health, one needs to follow a healthy diet pattern. So, what is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet primarily consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of proteins mostly plants, low fat dairy products, unprocessed foods and liquid plant oils. It is low in refined, saturated and trans-fat rich foods, low in sugar, fast foods, processed foods and sugary beverages.
According to the American Heart Association dietary guidelines “use of liquid plant oils” is beneficial for health and use of “saturated fats, trans-fats and partially/fully hydrogenated fats” must be avoided.
Oils are an integral part of our daily diet, as they are used to prepare salad dressings, mayonnaise, cooking food, and snacks. Choosing the right oil is essential to maintain good health.
What does this mean?
This means making knowledgeable decisions when choosing your cooking oil. According to many, it is difficult to know the difference between refined and cold-pressed oils – both taste-wise and health-benefit-wise.
LET US MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU!
Refined oils, which we are consuming these days are processed oils. Natural oils are treated with numerous chemicals to make them odor-free and flavor-free. During the extraction process, high heat, high pressure, and some chemicals (acids and bleaches) are used. These processes increase the shelf life of refined oils but at the same time make them toxic. Regularly consuming these toxic refined oils may be the cause of many chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, diabetes, infertility, obesity, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, stroke and impaired immune function.
- Use of heat during refining removes the natural and important nutritional and other beneficial elements from the oils. It also increases the amounts of trans-fats in the oil which are harmful for health in general and lead to an increase in the blood cholesterol levels.
- Refined oils also contain too much omega-6 fatty acid as compared to omega-3 fatty acid. Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids, which means are required to be provided through diet. These are required for proper brain development, healthy cells, hormone synthesis and immune function. The correct ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in any oil should be in the range of 2:1 to 1:1, for them to be beneficial for health. However, refined oils contain these in a ratio of 20:1. This surplus omega 6 in oils is the cause of many inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes mellitus, etc. and certain gastro-intestinal-tract related diseases, such as colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gut immune cell damage.
- Also, the trans fats, formed during the process of refining of oils, have been implicated in increasing the risk of various cancers, such as breast and colon cancers.
Cold-pressed oils, on the other hand, are extracted by slow-crushing of seeds to extract the oil. This slow crushing method does not generate any heat, which supports the preservation of nutrients and also the flavor of the oil.
- Oils extracted through cold pressing do not involve the use of any external heat or chemicals. These oils retain their original taste, flavor, aroma, and nutrients. Cold-pressed oils are heart-friendly, that is they do not contain any trans-fats but are rich sources of essential fatty acids and other nutrients.
- Cold-pressed oils also contain vitamin E and C, the antioxidant vitamins, which are anti-inflammatory. These make cold-pressed oils not only good for the heart but also for the gut and the immune system.
- Cold-pressed oils that are rich in omega-3s such as canola, flaxseed oil, mustard oil, chia and olive oil which are particularly low in omega-6 fatty acids, are beneficial for overall health. This ratio is also important for proper brain development in children and prevention of neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, spinal muscular atrophy, etc., in adults.
- No trans fats are formed during cold pressing of oil seeds, therefore no harmful effects of trans-fats are seen.
SO, CHANGE YOUR OIL NOT YOUR FOOD!
The Indian diets as compared to the Western diet are low in fats but the right choice of oils is what is important. Changing from refined to cold pressed oils can be difficult but go a long way to improve your health and overall, wellbeing.
Go for cold pressed oils, that are chemical-free, all-natural oil loaded with the goodness of the seed/nut for GOOD HEALTH.
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.
At Multano we are passionate about helping people make their lives healthier and happier. All information provided in this article is researched and authenticated by qualified experts. We are dedicated to providing reliable and accurate information to our readers. However, please use the information provided here with discretion. Any changes in medication/diet must be done with the approval of your treating medical practitioner/Dietician only.