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I want to know all about cooking oils and which is the best?

Q: Is it correct that omega 6 oil is better than omega 3 oil? In which way? Could you please list some oils that come under both the groups. Which oil can we use for cooking in India and which one is better than sunflower oil? What are flax seed oil and rape seed oil? Could you compare gingelly oil with other good oils like olive, sunflower, mustard, groundnut oil. Which oil increases good cholesterol [HDL] level?

A:In reply, these are the facts: 1) Omega 3 oil is better than Omega 6 oil. The ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in our diet is estimated to be about 4:1. The Indian diet already has a ratio of around 40 : 1. Addition of an Omega 6 oil actually increases this ratio to around 120-150:1. This actually has a potential to do more harm as there is an increase in the clotting tendency of blood. 2) The content of the various oils are as under: Safflower (Omega6: 73; Omega3: 0.5; Ratio (6/3): 146); Sunflower (Omega6: 49; Omega3: 0.3; Ratio (6/3): 163); Corn (Omega6: 57; Omega3: 0.8; Ratio (6/3): 71); Sesame (Omega6: 40; Omega3: 0.5; Ratio (6/3): 80); Palmolein (Omega6: 9; Omega3: 0.3; Ratio (6/3): 30); Groundnut (Omega6: 28; Omega3: 0.8; Ratio (6/3): 35); Coconut (Omega6: 1.8; Omega3: 0.0; Ratio (6/3): 0); Ghee (Buffalo)(Omega6: 2; Omega3: 0.9; Ratio (6/3): 2.2); Ghee (Cow) (Omega6: 1.6; Omega3: 0.5; Ratio (6/3): 3.2) and Mustard/Rape (Omega6: 13; Omega3: 8.6; Ratio (6/3): 1.5). Comparison in terms of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids), PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and SFA (saturated fatty acids) content (%) in 100g of the oils is as below: Sunflower (MUFA:84, PUFA:4, SFA:10); Olive oil (MUFA:74, PUFA:8, SFA:14); Mustard Oil (MUFA:59, PUFA:21, SFA:12); Groundnut Oil (MUFA:46, PUFA:32, SFA:17) 3) There is controversy as to which oil should be used to cook in India. One opinion held is that since the Indian diet is already rich in Omega 6 and poor in Omega 3 oil, one should take an oil that has a high Omega 3 content. This is classically seen in the olive oil rich Mediterranean Diet whose population have one of the lowest incidence of Coronary Artery Disease in the world. As olive oil is expensive in India, the alternative could be mustard oil which is richer in Omega 3. However it has erucic acid which is harmful. A refinement of this is Canola oil which is in essence mustard oil with the erucic acid removed. 4) Flax seed and rape seed oils are also rich in Omega 3 whereas gingelly oil is rich in Omega 6. In practice in would be good to mix these oils in the sense of changing from sunflower to mustard oil on a monthly basis instead of using one oil all the time.


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