Health and FitnessKey role of Nutrients

Cooking Oil and Its Recommended Type, Content and Intake

cooking oil


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Fats and oils are probably the most common ingredient found in every kitchen and is perhaps a necessity in all types of food and cuisines due to the presence of essential fats and soluble vitamins. We find a range of cooking oils differing in their type of fat. American Heart Association Describes about it as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

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Oil on its own is high in calories (1 g oil contains 9 Kcal) and should be consumed sparingly as per needed. Oils which are of the unsaturated variant should be preferred like olive oil, rice bran oil, safflower oil, etc. Trans fat or hydrogenated oils should be avoided as they only increase the triglycerides and cholesterol and not much health benefits.

Recommended Intake

On an average, an adult can consume 20-30 grams of visible fat/oil which is approximately 4 teaspoons daily. This is the recommended intake and is same for everyone. On an average, an adult requires 600-900 grams of cooking oil monthly. Approximately amongst a family of 4 people, the recommended oil requirement should be approximately 2000 grams which is not more than 2 to 2.5 liters of oil per month.

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Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Omega 3 and omega 6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Our body cannot make these fatty acids and are thus Essential Fatty Acids. Omega 6 is contained in food items such as red meats; fried food etc. A diet which is very heavy in omega 6 can lead to various health related problems.

Omega 3 is mostly found in fishes and plants seeds such as walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds etc. Omega 3 rich foods are usually recommended for better heart health. Our ratio of consumption of omega 6 to omega 3 should be marginal to protect ourselves from higher risk of diseases and preventing illness. Frozen/junk/processed food items and sugar, etc which increase your triglycerides and cholesterol should be restricted and healthy food like vegetables, fruits, fishes, nuts, flax seeds etc should be introduced in our daily diet.

Different oils are used for different types and methods of cooking which is usually based upon its stability to heat and smoking point. Some oils are good for deep frying; some are used as salad dressings whilst some can be only used for daily cooking. Oil is a must use item in our daily life and should be wisely chosen to derive maximum benefits from it.

Adequate intake oil is also necessary for absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Thus do not opt for crash diets, fat free diets for a long duration.  It is ideally recommended to keep switching cooking oils after every 2-3 months to ensure adequate intake of various fatty acids.

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