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Heart-healthy & Diabetes-friendly Cooking: The  Best Cooking Oils to Consider

best cooking oil for heart and diabetes

Diabetes can change your life in many ways. It can result in regular medication, several visits to the doctor and even stringent dietary restrictions. 

When it comes to dietary management for heart and diabetes patients, carbohydrates(carbs) often receive the most attention. However, in this blog, we will be talking about another nutrient that requires equal attention and monitoring ? fat.   

Fat serves a variety of functions in a healthy diet. It gives you energy and vital fatty acids. Despite all of its important functions, there is strong evidence that a high-fat diet can cause a variety of health concerns, including chronic diabetic complications, and arteriosclerosis (deposition of fat in blood cells). Indians, especially, are at risk of these complications due to the use of cooking oils in various recipes. One way to dodge the risk is by switching to healthier alternatives when cooking. 

But before we get into the best cooking oil for heart and diabetes patients let’s understand the different types of fat that are found in cooking oils and what to avoid. 

The types of fat found in cooking oils

The four main types of fat include – 

Saturated fat: 

Typically found in animal products (like ghee, butter, and lard) and oils like coconut oil and palm oil. Saturated fat can increase your cholesterol, and as a result, your risk of heart disease. 

Trans fat: 

Typically found in processed food and baked goods. Trans fat can be damaging to blood cholesterol levels. Food labels often display trans fat as hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil, so make sure you’re reading your food labels and monitoring ingredients. 

Mono-unsaturated fat: 

Typically found in avocados, nuts and oils like canola and safflower oils. Monounsaturated fat is considered a part of a healthy, balanced diet because of the protective effect they have on our hearts. These fats have also been known to lower our low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, an important marker for heart health

Polyunsaturated fat: 

Typically found in oily fish, flaxseed oil and chia seeds, polyunsaturated oils also lower your LDL cholesterol and risk for heart disease and stroke. It is considered an essential fatty acid because our body is unable to produce them. These fats need to be included as part of a healthy diet.

As you can see it is highly beneficial to consume more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats than saturated or trans fats in your diet.

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The best cooking oil for heart patients in India 

The best cooking oil for heart is the one that either includes polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. However, It is important to note that there is no such thing as a saturated-fat-free oil or one that contains only polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat. But there are oils with a lower percentage of saturated fat and a higher percentage of healthy fat. 

Another way to discern healthy cooking oils from unhealthy ones is through smoke points. The temperature at which oil stops shimmering and starts sending out smoke is referred to as smoke point. The higher the smoke points the more stable the oil is. Hence MUFAs and PUFAs have higher smoke points.

Cooking Oils high in monounsaturated fat:

Canola oil

Considered to be one of the best cooking oil for heart and diabetes, canola oil has zero cholesterol and is rich in vitamin E and K. It also has a higher smoke point and can be used at higher temperatures. 

Olive oil: 

Cooking experts and nutritionists say olive oil is the ideal option because it is one of the most versatile and healthy cooking oils available. However, olive oils have a lower smoke point, thus it’s preferable to boil them at medium heat.

Sesame oil: 

Sesame oil is another commonly used cooking oil. It is well-known for its strong flavour. Despite being high in monounsaturated fat, It does not have any distinct nutritional qualities. It is easier to use in higher-heat recipes because of its higher smoke point.

Avocado oil: 

Compared to other cooking oils, avocado oils have one of the highest monounsaturated fat levels. Despite the fact that the oil contains no fruit flavour, it is well-known for stir-fry foods. It also has a high smoke point

Cooking oils high in polyunsaturated fat: 

Flaxseed oil: 

Because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content, flax seed oil offers anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering benefits. Flaxseed oil can be used in salad dressings and low-heat cooking. Because of its low smoke point, this oil is not appropriate for use in high-flame cooking.

Sunflower oil: 

This is the best cooking oil for heart due to its highly nutritious and heart-strengthening properties. Because of its high omega-6 fatty acid concentration, it may cause inflammation and should be taken into account while adjusting quantities. It also has a high smoke point and can be used in high-flame cooking. 

Walnut oil: 

Used as dressing oil in pancakes, salads and even ice creams, walnut oil has a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, it has a low smoke point and needs to be cooked under low flame. 

Frequently asked questions: 

How much cooking oil should an adult consume a month?

Monthly oil usage should be less than 500ml per person. Maintain a monthly oil consumption of 1000-1500 ml for an entire household of three. 

Which cooking oils are harmful to health?

It’s best to avoid unstable oils with low smoke points. If you do want to use an oil that has lower smoke points make sure that it’s used for cold preparation or as a dietary supplement. 

Which cooking oil should I use in Summer?

When it comes to cooking oils, the season makes no difference. You can eat a healthy amount of the aforementioned cooking oils as long as you consider the smoke pints before cooking different recipes.

If you have any further queries and questions on how you can manage your fat consumption, consult the best Nutritionists in Bangalore at Ayu Health Hospitals. Call us at 08069489584 or book an appointment online to consult qualified and experienced dieticians who can make a difference.

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About the Author

Dr. Magesh Balakrishnan
MBBS, MD, DM (Cardiology) at Ayu Health | Website | + posts

Dr. Magesh Balakrishnan is a renowned cardiologist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore.

He has 16 years of experience in this field. He has excellent skills in performing all cardiac diagnostic procedures/ tests. He has performed emergency and elective angiographies and angioplasties, device implantation (Pacemaker, AICD & CRT)

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