A Few Fat Facts – II

There are few important questions people usually have about oil. First, how much fat should you have in your diet? The requirement of fat varies, depending on your weight, disease history, genetic predisposition, your age, and activity levels.

For Indians the requirement of fat is less than other genetic groups. Ten to 30 percent of your total calories should be from fat. In the case of over weight individuals, one teaspoon per person per day is enough. On the other end of the spectrum are children, under the age of two years, who have a higher requirement of healthy fat.

Another frequently asked question is which is the healthiest fat? To put things in perspective, the most important fact about all oils and fat is that they should never be over-fried. The act of deep-frying heats the oil to the extent where it changes its configuration and the oil becomes toxic and leads to many diseases. So instead of frying, the healthier thing to do is to sauté your vegetables. The second most important thing to remember is that we need a variety of oils in our diet.

Therefore consider a rotation of oil types while sticking to the quantity mentioned above. This is because each oil/fat has some unique essential fatty acids. When you include a variety of oils in your diet you have a better change of incorporating the health benefits of a range of fatty acids. The group of omega 6 essentials fatty acids is found in vegetables, grains, seeds, vegetable oils and meats.

Omega 3 fatty acids form the second group of essential fatty acids, which play an important part in keeping out body healthy. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease. They also lower blood pressure, keep the triglycerides at a safe level, function as natural anti inflammatory agents, are natural blood thinners and help you preserve good eye vision. Also linked to the regeneration of the neuronal sheath, they are found in green leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, walnuts and fresh seaweed.

Now that you we know which oils are good for us, we come to the point of how to consume oil. If we use a healthy oil or fat, can we fry it?

Absolutely not, any fat/oil, which is healthy in its original state, will become toxic the moment it is deep-fried.

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So how do you get the most bang for your oil, so to say? The easiest way is to include nuts like almonds, walnuts, in your diet, while using seeds like flaxseed, sesame and other seeds, in your dishes.

Use ghee sparingly in the food. If you do, smear it lightly to enhance flavor, but not as the main oil base. Never fry it too much and if possible do not fry it at all.

Other good oils are rice brain oil (cool for the stomach), mustard oil (good for heart patients) and sesame oil (in winter for people with dry skin and low blood pressure). Oils which are cold pressed are healthy too since they have heart-friendly antioxidants.

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