By Shilpa Mittal
All about fats and oils:
Oils/fats contain ingredients called essential fatty acids that are necessary for the body. So it is very important for you to get some oil/fat into your body to stay healthy! Let’s know all about fats and oils.
Just like you need to eat vegetables to get vitamins in your body, you need fat to get these essential fatty acids (EFAs).
EFAs are guys responsible for making
- your hormone work normally
- keeping your internal organs covered with cell membranes (which act as cushions)
- to help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, K.
- to keep your skin glowing
- hair grow
- forms a part of the brain
- help regulate body temperature.
By good fat, we mean unsaturated fat both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat (the difference is a slight variation in the chemical bonding). They contain stuff that is needed for a healthy body i.e. EFAs.
Monounsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature but solidify in the refrigerator. They are found in olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil. They help reduce cholesterol as long as the diet is low in saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator. They also help you get rid of cholesterol esp. LDL (bad cholesterol) responsible for blocking arteries, but it is also believed to lower the good cholesterol HDL, hence go in for more of monounsaturated fats. They are found in safflower, sesame, soy, corn and sunflower oils.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid is also a part of unsaturated fats. They are found in walnuts and flax seeds.
Called saturated or Trans fat, they are those that are processed and refined to such an extent that they lose all their good values. E.g. butter, processed cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, burger, hydrogenated oils used in packaged cookies, chips, biscuits, etc.
The easiest way to tell if an oil is good or bad for your health is by checking if it turns solid at room temperature. If it does, avoid eating it.
Remember that the body can manufacture its own saturated fat (bad fat) so you don’t actually need to include it in your diet. The more the saturated fat you consume the higher your cholesterol will rise with the higher incidence of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer plus don’t forget the extra kilos it will add to your body. SO AVOID IT.
Even low-fat chips, farsan and cookies are processed and refined, which makes them unhealthy. The oil is hydrogenated, thus making it toxic.
Although re-using cooking oil is practiced for ages, it can pose some serious health hazards. This can make the oil rancid and produce Trans fat, which may contain possibly carcinogenic free radicals.
Forget Low Carb Or Low Fat – Think Right Carbs And Right Fats:
All cooking oils are composed of three different types of fatty acids: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats. Each oil is categorized based on which type of fatty acid is the most prominent one in it. For example, olive and canola oils are considered mostly monounsaturated fat, while corn and soybean oils contain mainly polyunsaturated fat. Coconut oil is predominantly saturated fat. So rotating between them is essential to ensure one gets all the different fatty acids.
Eat right. The key is moderation. Even if you are eating good fat you have to be in control.
On an average, a healthy individual should consume about 4-5 tsp oil/day. For weight- watchers not more than 20% of your calories should come from the fat i.e. 1-2 tsp/day.
Also, make sure that you have a combination of oils so that you get all the ingredients you need for a well-oiled body.