Why are oils important in a healthy diet?

December 7, 2016

 

 

Why Oils Are Important in Healthy Diet?

Although oils make up a small segment of your diet they play a key role. Oils provide essential nutrients to help maintain body functions. Which oils you choose for your diet can make a big difference to your health.

Function

  • At 9 grams per calorie, oils are the most efficient energy nutrient you can consume. Oils help build healthy cell membranes and assist the nervous system in sending messages to the brain.

  • Oils help your intestines absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, and store them in your body fat.

  • Oils assist in regulating hormones, lubricating skin and cushioning organs.

  • Always important, oils add taste and texture to the food you consume.

Types

  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils remain liquid at room temperature.

  • Saturated and Trans fat oils often clump up at room temperature.

  • Unsaturated oils contain essential fatty acids, which are nutrients your body needs.

  • Your body has all the saturated oils and Trans fat oils it needs.

 

 Unsaturated oils include olive, peanut, canola, soybean, sunflower, corn and fish oils.

Saturated oils include butter, lard, shortening, margarine, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and animal fats.

 

Effects

Too much saturated oils in your diet raise LDL, or bad cholesterol, causing high blood pressure. Consuming unsaturated oils raises HDL or good cholesterol, lowering blood pressure.

Plants and fish oils, which contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are the unsaturated oils missing from many diets.

 

 

Significance

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the only two out of 20 fatty acids your body can't produce on its own. Of these two essential fatty acids, omega-3 has been successful in treating several health conditions. omega-3 in the form of fish oil is recommended for depression, preventing heart disease or stroke, and for memory loss or Alzheimer's.

 

Fats you should be eating

 

 

Extra virgin Olive oil

Is a heart healthy fat that that contains beneficial antioxidants and has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.   It is best used for cold food like salad dressing or drizzling over foods- use your light olive oil for cooking

 

Fish

Oily fish is high in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid (EFA) that helps raise good cholesterol and lower the bad. Salmon, mackerel, canned sardines, canned salmon, canned tuna, scallops and mussels.

 

Nuts

Oily nuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, in particular pine nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias, pecans and pistachios.

 

Seeds

Use sesame seeds to make your own Tahini. Mix ground sesame seeds with extra virgin olive oil and you’re halfway to a healthy, homemade hummus.

Seeds are widely used in a variety of polyunsaturated cooking oils, including canola, sunflower and sesame.

 

 

Avocados

Avocado is full of good fat, making an excellent alternative spread to margarine and butter. The majority of avocado fat is the healthy kind: 60% monounsaturated and 12% polyunsaturated.

 

 

Refined Coconut Oil

While unrefined coconut oil (often labelled "virgin") reminds you of your on holiday, you may not always want your chicken breast to remind you of a macaroon. On top of having less of a coco- nutty flavour and aroma, refined coconut oil also has a higher smoke, making it a better option for cooking. Refined coconut oil retains the high levels of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Evidence has shown that replacing some of the long-chain fatty acids in the diet with MCTs like those found in coconut oil may bring about reductions in fat mass.

 

What about Cooking Spray?

 

Many use cooking sprays to coat their frying pans and baking pans to control how much they use What are the advantages and disadvantages to these sprays?

 

A short spray—about 1/4 second—delivers 1 calorie, meaning there's a significant calorie savings versus using straight oil.

However a loophole allows the Nutrition Facts panel to claim 0 calories by permitting the manufacturer to state an unrealistic spray time and rounding down the calories. Most people will spray for longer, so you do end up with a few calories, but this amount is still likely negligible.

While you'll save on calories, keep in mind that when you rely solely on these sprays, you'll miss out on some of the beneficial fats and other compounds found in oils.

Also, some may find an ingredient list that includes "propellant" to be of concern. This is a food-grade propellant made from hydrocarbons such as butane and propane.  All of which pose toxicity risk.  However levels released when you spray your pan have been shown to be lower than what could pose a risk to health. But why risk it!!

 

 

 

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