Dr. C Parvesh Kumar
Festival Season is upon us. Being part of it, we can feel the traffic and crowd in the market by any time we step out. Roads are full of vehicles and shops are full of people.
There is a “Festive Buzz” all around. We all are busy in shopping no matter how much hectic office schedule we are going through. Delicious Sweets and food are the two most important things of the festival that are to be concerned. As they are the most wanted things of the festival other than shopping. But little do you know how much safe is and for how long the oil that we use to make food is safe for our health. Whether it’s a restaurant or our home kitchen,the matter of concern for us should always be our health. At home, we all care about the cleanliness in our kitchen and we use less spices and make healthy food at the best of our knowledge, but that’s not enough to remain healthy, we should also concern the right method of cooking food, I am here talking about cooking oil that we reuse for frying . There is a time limit in which we can reuse it and after that time it becomes hazardous for our health. You have probably gone to a restaurant, hotel or at the local shop where the cooking oil is reheated when you need a snack or is heated throughout the day for all the snacks. Have you ever imagined the type of oil used? Or how safe is the reheated cooking oil? At home also we reuse oil for frying papads, vegetables etc. Vermicelli popularly known as Feniahas a ritualistic importance for the Karva Chauth and the oil in which they are cooked. Although we cannot change our rituals yet we can reduce the quantity of consuming it. Generally people stores it in a large quantity for the long time and consume it on daily basis as snacks which is wrong way of consuming.
Identifying the Good Oil
When you want to cook at a high temperature, you must use oil that is stable and will not oxidise easily. When oils undergo oxidation, they form free radicals and compounds which are harmful to your health. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are pretty resistant to heating, but oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats should be avoided for cooking. These are scientific terms, and many of you may not be aware of it. All I want to say is Be aware of the oil that you are using daily basis for cooking .
Coconut oil is your best choice when it comes to high heat cooking. More than 90 per cent of the fatty acids in the oil are saturated, which makes it resistant to heat. The fats in coconut oil are organic and saturated fats which are a safe source of energy for humans and can boost metabolism.Butter contains Vitamins A, E, K2, fatty acids Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which lowers body fat percentage in humans. It also contains butyrate which can fight inflammation and improve gut health.However, butter tends to get burned during high heat cooking like frying.
Olive oil is well known for its heart healthy effects and is believed to be a key reason for the health benefits.
Palm oil consists of saturated, monounsaturated fats and small amounts of polyunsaturated fats. This makes palm oil a good choice for cooking. Red Palm oil is the best because it is rich in Vitamins E.
Seed and vegetable oils
They are highly processed, refined products that are way too rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. Not only should you not cook with them, you should probably avoid them altogether because they are linked to many diseases, including heart disease and cancer. They include; Soybean, Corn, Cottonseed, Canola, Rapeseed, Sunflower, Sesame, Grape seed and Safflower.
Rice Bran oils
Most common vegetable oils contain trans fats, which are highly toxic. It is therefore important to read labels and if you find any of these oils on a packaged food that you are about to eat, then it is best to purchase something else.
Care for oils
To make sure that your fats and oils do not get stale, do not buy large batches at a time if you are not going to use it at once.
While cooking with oils, you must choose between cooking for taste and cooking for health. Regardless of the type of oil you use, oil is classified nutritionally as fat. Fats are far more calorie-dense than carbohydrates or protein. Therefore, consider how much fat you want to eat and then add it wisely.
Virgin olive oil is good for heart health because it has the lowest oxidation rate of all the cooking oils. Oxidation promotes free radicals, oils that are highly reactive and have the potential to damage cells, including damage that may lead to cancer. Olive oil can also help lower bad cholesterol level and raise the good cholesterol.
When you buy different varieties of oil for different recipes, then store them for long periods in your kitchen, the oils oxidise over time and develop free radicals. Instead, buy just a few kinds of oil in small amounts and store them in a cold, dry place.
“Old oil is a harbour for free radicals. It is important to note that cooking oil should be used only once and if you are cooking at a high temperature or for a long time, use a saturated fat. Also, you can use the same oil for the maximum of three times. If you are buying pakoras, smosas or any other fried eatables from the shop please get little concerned about them. It is famous saying “Prevention is better than cure.” You might be thinking, OK, we will take care of this at home but what about the shops like McDonalds, KFC’s etc. Why would they waste such a quantity of oil?.
Dr. C Parvesh Kumar