Healthy cooking: 10 tips on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Finding a healthy variety of cooking oil or fat is not a challenge if you understand the cornerstones of how to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

A healthy low calorie diet might help you lose weight with exercising, managing cholesterol levels and preventing health problems, but your diet would be incomplete without healthy fats and oils. Today we bring you our top 10 tips on using healthy oils and fats.

#1 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Indians love fried food. Many find cutting fried foods out of their diet difficult. You must understand that healthy weight control and cholesterol management does require you to cut down on fried foods. However, when you absolutely must eat and make some, make sure you follow these steps:

Understand the process of deep frying your food using the right type of oil. Whenever you want to fry your food, start the frying process at a correct temperature. For your food to cook properly, the oil should be in the range of 175 - 225 degrees Celsius. Keep a tab on the hotness of your oil by watching a shimmer across the surface of the food as it heats up. Next is to maintain the correct temperature of the food, in between the cooked batches of deep fried food.

An Indian kadhai should be ideally half-filled when frying the food item. Also, make sure the food is neither too small, nor too big.
Drain the excess oil before adding food to the plate.

#2 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Keep a tab on the amount of saturated fats you consume. Saturated fats consist of triglycerides, which contains only saturated fatty acids. Experts suggest that less than 10% of your daily energy intake can come from saturated fats. It is important that we do not misunderstand this. This is not open license to consume unhealthy saturated fats, especially those that are irrefutably linked to trans fats - which are never healthy, 10% or no 10% per cent.

Sources of saturated fats by and large come from meat fats, milk fat, butter, lard, coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. In India, cooking in saturated fat is an unhealthy practise that affects meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. In fact, while most animal fat can be trimmed and reduced by using lean cuts, it is the consumption of heavy oils that are the most common source of saturated fats in India.

An easy solution is to use lesser oil in everyday cooking, and to switch to healthier oils that contain simpler chains.

#3 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Eat more of unsaturated fats. In order to eat a heart-healthy diet, unsaturated fats are a must for you. Fish, corn oil, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hazelnuts and pecans have high levels of unsaturated fats in them. Oily fishes like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids. These are the good varieties of fats unlike the bad saturated fat found in ghee, palm oil, full-fat cheese, fatty beef and pork cuts, and whole milk dairy products.

These fishes must constitute a part of your heart-healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids also lower "bad" LDL levels, decrease blood pressure and lower levels of blood fat called triglycerides by 25%-30%.

#4 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Trans fats are disastrous. These are the variety of fats which are mostly made during processing the food. These kinds of fats are made from hydrogenation process of unsaturated fats. Also called as synthetic or industrial trans fat, they can give a hike to your unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy HDL cholesterol which might expose you to the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

#5 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Olive oil should be your preferred choice. It contains mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which lower the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides without lowering good cholesterol levels. Different stages of pressing and processing yield different varieties of olive oil.

Extra virgin- Excellent for salad dressings and dips.

Virgin - It is the yield of second press.

Pure - This stage of oil goes through a certain amount of processing - filtration and refining.

#6 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Other healthy oils that you can try are:

Rice bran oil: Rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol lowering properties, this oil also contains natural vitamin E.

Sunflower/Safflower oil: This oil is rich in PUFA particularly linoleic acid, which lowers the levels of good as well as bad cholesterol. So it will be a good idea to alternate this oil's use with other healthier oils.

Mustard oil: This oil has a higher proportion of Mono-unsaturated and Poly-un-saturated fatty acids. Use in moderation.

Groundnut oil: Groundnut or peanut oil contains heart friendly MUFA that lowers levels of bad cholesterol in our body without lowering the levels of good cholesterol.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil does not contain cholesterol hence it can be consumed for cooking in combination with other oils in the kitchen. But always remember moderation is the key word.

#7 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Keep all oils sealed from air and in a cool, dry place. It is a must to keep your oils sealed in a container and never leave it open. If you're in the habit of purchasing large bottles of oil in one go, then keep a small oil dispensar on the kitchen counter. Leave the big bottle in a cool, dry place, so that the oil doesn't react to bright sunlight.

#8 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

-Be very careful when reheating cooking oil.

-Make sure you are straining the oil through layers of cheesecloth, so that you catch any leftover food particle. Do this exercise, when the oil is hot, but be careful as it might burn.

-Shake off extra batter before frying.

-Turn off the heat as soon as you are done frying. Exposing oil to heat even after the usage is can lead to acidity.

-Do not mix different kinds of oil types while frying.

-Make it a point to store the oil in a cool and dark place.

-Go for a stainless steel pan for frying. Avoid using iron or copper pots for oil that you plan to reuse in the future.

#9 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Some facts on fats, which you must know:

-Fats are a member of a chemical group called lipids.

-Fats provide energy of 9 calories per gram.

-Fats provide Satiety - provides palatability and a feeling of fullness.

-They are carriers of nutrients - fat soluble vitamins as A,D,E,K.

-The body does need a certain percentage of fat as it acts as the body's insulator protecting organs and absorbing shocks.

-The body does not manufacture certain fatty acids as linoleic and linolenic acid and the diet must supply these.

#10 Tip on using fats and oil in a healthy diet

Keep fats in your diet to a minimum by having a look at the recommended dietary allowance. The USDA recommends that healthy adults over the age of 19 consume between 20 and 35 per cent of their daily calories from fat. Young children (ages 1 to 3 years) need as much as 40 per cent of their daily calories to come from fat. If you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day, ingest between 44 g and 77 g of total fat daily.



Source - Times of India
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