NUTRITIONIST AVAANTI DESHPAANDE

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Is olive oil the healthiest cooking oil for Indians?

Olive oil is derived from olives which are grown in middle eastern and European region. It is very healthy for the heart since it provides healthy fats, Omega 3 and mono unsaturated fats. These fats deliver healthy benefits like lowering bad cholesterol and increasing the good one. The composition of olive oil is such that it has more of healthy fats compared to other oils. The different types of olive oil have different health benefits. The extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest one where the amount of healthy fats and antioxidants are highest.

It also has antioxidants which are good for preventing cancers, diabetes and skin disorders. But it has shown that the benefits are more effectively seen in native people who are eating olives and its oil from generations.

For Indians it might not show the same effects since the oil is foreign for our bodies. But still it is better than sunflower, safflower or cottonseed oil. The temperature of indian cooking is very high which destroys the healthy contents of olive oil making it good for nothing. We can use olive oil for salad dressing or the foods which require less heating of oil. Olive oil is not suitable for tadkas which we need in almost all sabzis and deep frying. But the content of olive oil is also similar to peanut and mustard oil which we are consuming from generations. So olive oil is very healthy oil but the use depends on how much our bodies can utilize it.

The oils that are popularly used in india are mostly mustard oil (used in north), groundnut oil (Maharashtra), coconut oil (costal areas) and sunflower oil. Nowadays the splurge of new oils has came up like ricebran, soybean, and their blends. The composition of all the oils is different but there are 2 oils whose composition is similar to olive oil and those are groundnut and mustard. These two oils are high in mono unsaturated fatty acids and thus good for health.

These oils are native and we are consuming them from generations, they have blended in our lifestyles and thus suit our bodies. Our genes recognize them as familiar and respond better than to foreign oils.

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