Oil, specifically, the fat in oil often gets a bad rap. However, oils with the accompanying fats aren't always bad for us. The trick is to have more good fats than bad ones. What is important is to be mindful of how the fat has been extracted; is it high-heat solvent, refined or cold-pressed at room temperature? This can mean the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats.
All-natural oils are a combination of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs), Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) and Saturated Fatty Acids (SFAs). MUFAs and PUFAs are good, healthy fats. These unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, can improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Ordinarily, 15% of your daily calories should come from MUFAs, 8-10% from PUFAs and less than 7% from SFAs. For maximum benefit from your cooking oils, rotate them as often as possible, but don't forget that striking the right balance between MUFAs, PUFAs and SFAs is important. A Penn State study found that you need to combine both MUFAs and PUFAs for a healthy heart.The good fats
For the right balance, ensure that you get enough good fats. Olive, mustard, sesame, rice bran and peanut oils have plenty of MUFAs. Olive oil is one of the best sources of good fats that help you lose weight and keep your heart healthy.
In addition to having MUFAs, mustard oil is a good option for n-3 PUFAs, also called omega-3 fats and reduces the risk of heart diseases and hypertension. It is the type of PUFA that is important. For instance, excess PUFA n-6 content can result in the formation of harmful fatty deposits in the arteries and increase the risk of diabetes. You should keep the ratio of n-6 to n-3 PUFAs 1:5, in your diet. Avoid smoking before use, as this can cause harmful chemical changes.
For saturated fats, opt for cream, desi ghee, palm, and virgin coconut oil. Natural saturated fats are stable and many provide special health benefits.The bad fats
The real villains are trans fats or hydrogenated, industry-produced saturated fats. A review of studies on trans fats published in the New England Journal of Medicine establishes a strong link between trans fat consumption and coronary heart disease.
In a 1993 Harvard study on 85,000 American nurses, those with the highest intake of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils had 70% greater incidence of heart attacks. These fats are also inflammatory and can adversely affect the body's immune function. Avoid high-heat refined oils, such as refined olive oil, as well.Mixing oils
Rotating oils is always a good idea. However, it is equally important to retain the flavor of the oil for the best cooking results. So carefully choose your cooking oils to get the maximum nutrition possible.
Other options are corn and sunflower oils, but they are high in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and can increase inflammation if consumed in excess. It is ideal to use them in combination with MUFA-rich canola or mustard oil.Good combinations
Mustard and sesame oils for vegetables.
Rice bran and mustard oils for neutral flavor and frying.
Extra virgin olive oil for salads, stir-frying and sautéing.
Desi ghee or virgin coconut oil for dal or on roti, or a tiny pat of butter on your bread.