Vegetable oils are known to have numerous health benefits; primarily it is the main source of energy and a carrier of essential nutrients.
The oils that are extracted from plant sources are known as the vegetable oil. They play an important role in providing nutrition by enhancing the flavour of food, improving its texture, and conducting heat while cooking food. The most common form of vegetable oils that are edible in our household are sunflower oil, palm oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, and olive oil to name a few. According to Ms. Anam Golandaz, Clinical Dietician, Masina Hospital, Mumbai, vegetable oils are extracted directly from plant sources. They play a vital role in providing nutrition along with various health benefits. Vegetable oil contains one out of the two:
That is a polyunsaturated, fatty acid
These are monounsaturated fatty acids, which lower bad cholesterol that is LDL. These also aid in cardiovascular diseases.
Some oils like Almonds are germ based which are a rich source of vitamin E which protect cells in the body and are good for the brain. Vegetable oil particularly flexi soy being a canola containing omega three fatty acids. Omega three fatty acid plays an important role in the preservation of our healthy heart brain function and normal growth.
Vegetable oils are known to have numerous health benefits; primarily it is the main source of energy and a carrier of essential nutrients which are necessary for the growth and development of metabolism. It also protects our brain cells by reducing the risk of heart diseases.
PUFA and MUFA help in lowering bad cholesterol levels in the body (LDL) and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in an individual.
There are four basic types of fats viz-a-viz monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), saturated fats (SAFAs) and trans fats. MUFAs and PUFAs are good fats such as TRANS and to some extent SAFAs are bad fats.
Too much of SAFAs helps in raising the LDL cholesterol levels, which are considered to be bad. MUFAs are said to be lower in LDL cholesterol and they maintain HDL which is the good cholesterol. PUFAs help to reduce LDL cholesterol, but too much can also lower the HDL cholesterol.
Trans fats which are formed during the process of hydrogenation. These tend to increase the LDL level which is the bad cholesterol thereby decreasing the good cholesterol. The HDL in some cases may even lead to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Trans fats also increase triglyceride levels in the blood by adding the risk of heart diseases. Consumption of Trans fats may also lead to severe diseases like diabetes, obesity and even immune system dysfunction.
They contain polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, along with saturated fats though in different proportions. They also help in cholesterol management.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the most frequently found forms of fats in the vegetable oils. They help lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases thus improving cardio protective properties in the body.
Oils provide energy which is essential for performing our everyday activities.
Oils protect our brain cells
Some oils like Peanut, Almond and Wheat Germ are rich in vitamin E which is required in the body for cell protection, overall development and the right functioning of the nervous system. This vitamin benefits our body, by improving the immune system as well. It acts as an antioxidant and protects the different body tissues such as skin, and eyes. Also, the presence of vitamin E in the oils aids the prevention of heart diseases.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that controls free radicals, helps in preventing blood clots and blockages in coronary arteries. Therefore, helping in preventing several cardiovascular ailments.
Vegetable oils, especially flaxseed oil, Soybean oil and canola oil, contain omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that cannot be synthesized within our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acid plays a vital role in the preservation of a healthy heart, brain function, normal growth and development of the body. It is also suggested by many dieticians and nutritionists to take omega-3 fatty acids regularly for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Therefore, oils and fats are an integral part of any healthy and balanced diet.
Though excess oil/ fat is considered the main culprit for many lifestyle diseases, the right quality and quantity of fat is necessary for normal functioning of our body. Excess intake and the wrong kind of fats can affect the cholesterol levels which are directly linked to several heart diseases.
Emphasis should be laid on quality of fat rather than quantity of it. People who try to eliminate fat from their diet tend to alternate or substitute it with carbohydrates. In the process they end up eating high carb foods. These carbs eventually get converted to fat and get stored in the body which eventually leads to obesity. Obesity is responsible for many other diseases such as diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
In conclusion, it is important to select the right type of fats and oils which can not only change the flavour profile of your meal, but can also make a difference to your overall health. To lead a healthy and fulfilling life, it is best to cut down the trans-fat and saturated fat intake. Rather switch to healthier options, have a balanced diet and supplement it with regular physical exertion.
(With inputs from Ms. Anam Golandaz, Clinical Dietician, Masina Hospital, Mumbai)
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