Cut Down on Oil Intake, Up Your Health Quotient

Leonardo Olive Oil September 19, 2015 Benefits of Olive Oil 1646 Views

At the drop of a hat, my husband and children smile sheepishly and demand a party. If it rains, a party; if it does not, again a party; if someone has eloped with someone in the neighborhood,  a party; if a marriage is on the rocks, why not a party? And our circle of friends too loves to eat on every occasion, on every festival and even when there isn’t one! And one thing common is the heady smell of things being fried to golden lip-smacking colour.

A prominent politician had once said that there cannot be samosas without alloo (potato); there cannot be a lunch or dinner on dining tables across India without fries – crunchy or soft. It is common to see items giggling in oil till they are scooped out to the plate.

Oil can tickle your taste buds, it can also affect your heart and health. What is temporarily on your lips can permanently be on your hips. At first you notice a few folds around your waist and then within days you discover you are obese. After a few more folds, is not your tummy that would grumble in hunger, but your heart in anger. Cholesterol build up can make the heart cry out in despair, hoisting a danger signal.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2007, revealed that a single fatty meal can cause the heart to beat harder and raise blood pressure[1].

I have heard some of my friends say: Chalo, no more oils from today. They shun oils in food and try to live the life of a hermit. But that is not needed. What you need to look out is for good quality oil with all the healthy benefits — good fats, no trans fat, high smoking point etc. And use this oil in moderation. This can help you reduce health risks significantly.

Oils and Fats

Now let’s get the facts of fats. Like most things in life, fats can be good, bad or ugly. Unsaturated oils have good fats; bad fats come from saturated and trans fat oils. Bad fats, and its close cousins, the ugly fats, are the culprits behind health concerns like weight gain, clogged arteries, high cholesterol levels and so on.

Good fats like monounsaturated fats (MUFA), polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), and omega-3 fatty acids may have positive effect on your health.

Olive oil is considered to be a better option as it has higher MUFA content (approximately 75%) amongst other oils and also a variety of antioxidants that are known to have significant health benefits.

Research published in PUBMED in 2005 found that MUFA leads to lowering of bad cholesterol and increase of good cholesterol resulting in significant reduction in the risk of coronary heart diseases and maintains anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, anti-hypertensive as well as vasodilatory effect[3].

Also, it has been seen that least processed types of olive oil (i.e. Pomace Olive Oil), extra virgin or virgin olive oil have more MUFA content than other olive oil.

So next time when you arrange a party chose not just your invitees right, but also the oil. And if you are invited for a party, no harm in asking what oil is being used and gently pour out the goodness of good oils to the host.
Well, did I hear my husband frying samosas and say from the kitchen Aavo, let’s party tonight with MUFA and PUFA!! Well, well, why not?

1. Jakulj F, Zernicke K, Bacon SL, et al. A high-fat meal increases cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress in healthy young adults. J Nutr. 2007;137:935-939
2. Sundeep Mishra,MD, S.C.Manchanda, MD*. Cooking oils for heart health J. Preventive Cardiology ■ Vol. 1 ■No. 3 ■ February 2012
3. .Turner R, et al. Antioxidant and anti-atherogenic activities of olive oil phenolics. Int J VitamNutr Res. 2005; 75: 61-70.