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Which oil is the best for cooking?

Q: I am a 28 years old man having cholesterol levels as VLDL - 26.8, LDL - 175.8, HDL - 38.4 and total cholesterol - 195. The doctor has advised me to avoid oil, ghee, butter, etc. However, I use minimal oil in cooking, as I don't eat baked food all the time. Please advise, which oil is comparatively better than others for cooking? Is olive oil better than others and if yes, which olive oil out of Extra virgin, Virgin or Pure is better?

A:Fats and oils are a group of organic substances that form an important part of the diet. They are derived from both plant and animal sources. Fat is important for many body processes and you need to eat some fat in your diet since it protects your organs, keeps you warm and helps your body absorb nutrients. However, some fats are better than others and having too much of any type is not a good idea. Dietary fats and blood cholesterol There are two types of blood cholesterol - low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL is considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol because it contributes to narrowing up of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. The HDL cholesterol is considered to be the ‘good’ cholesterol because it actually cleans out the arteries, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. General Recommendations Here are some practical tips you can use every day to keep your consumption of cholesterol low while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet. 1. Choose foods lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. 2. Replace saturated fats in your diet with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats whenever possible. For example replace butter in some cooked dishes with olive or canola oil. 3. Use naturally occurring unsaturated oils such as liquid canola or olive oil whenever possible. Choose vegetable oils (except coconut and palm kernel oils) and soft margarine more often because the combined amount of saturated fat is lower than the amount in solid shortenings, hard margarine and animal fats, including butter. 4. Choose lean meats such as poultry without the skin and not fried and lean beef and pork, not fried, with visible fat trimmed. 5. Limit foods high in cholesterol such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks and full-fat dairy products like whole milk. Cooking Oil - How to choose the best one? All manufacturers claim their own cooking oil is the best! With so much variety and so many brands flooding the market today, buying the right cooking oil can prove a tough task. As long as you are using fats and oils sparingly in your cooking and preparation, it would be fine to use any one of the following good oils. All of the following oils are low in saturated fats. Some have high concentration of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Choose corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soy oil or canola oil if you wish to fry foods as these oils have higher smoke point. It is best not to fry with olive oil, as its smoke point is only about 190 degree Celsius. Good Cooking Oils:

  • Canola oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Bad Cooking Oils:
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Hard margarine
  • Butter
  • Palm oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • In order to derive maximum benefits from oil, it is beneficial to consume a mix of oils in order to maintain a balance between the three fatty acids. As using a combination of two oils may not be a practical thing to do, today a number of blended oils are available in the market. Olive oil Although more expensive than other oils, olive oil has many health benefits. It has the highest percentage (about 77%) of monounsaturated fat among commonly used oils. Studies have found that consumption of olive oil can lower the risk of heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels and blood clot formation. It also contains many antioxidant phytochemicals that have many health benefits. This oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives and comes in different varieties depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include: Extra virgin: Considered the best, this oil comes from the first pressing of the olives. Virgin: Comes from the second pressing. Pure: Undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining Extra light: Undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour. When buying olive oil, it is best to select the extra virgin variety. In order to get maximum benefits, olive oil should be used to prepare salad dressings, as a seasoning for soups, for sauteing vegetables or for grilling.


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