Oil for Heart Health

Oil, the must-have condiment in every household kitchen; but just how much do you know about choosing oils for the benefit of your health?

Before we move on to discuss oil selection for better heart health, let’s get to know the basic components of fats that can be found in oils. 

Saturated fat -a type of fat that can be found in animal sources (meat and dairy foods, including cheese, cream and butter) that appears in solid form in room temperature and plant sources (coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oil) that appears in liquid form at room temperature. Over-consumption of food or high usage of oil that contains highly saturated fats are related to increased risk of coronary heart disease. Thus, consume in moderation. 

Unsaturated fat – a type of fat that consists of Omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory and heart protecting effects. Unsaturated fats work by reducing the bad cholesterol and bringing good cholesterol up to a level that strengthens your heart. Their sources can be retrieved from both animal and plant sources. 

Incorporating more than one type of cooking oils from the list below can be beneficial as different oils have varieties of usage and nutrient components. 

  1. Olive Oil 

Olive oil, an important constituent of the Mediterranean diet with anti-inflammatory properties, helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases and other chronic diseases. 

Opt for extra virgin olive oil that undergoes least processing and retains most of its antioxidant components such as polyphenols. At the top of your list should be extra virgin olive oil, followed by virgin olive oil, pure olive oil and lastly, light olive oil that has the majority of its health benefiting components destroyed or damaged.

2. Grapeseed Oil 

Grapeseed oil is extracted from the leftover grape seeds from grapes that have been pressed for wine-making. Besides its beautifying effect due to its high vitamin E content, using grapeseed oil in food preparation is beneficial for heart health due to its polyunsaturated fatty acids content. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are known for its ability in reducing cholesterol and risk of heart diseases.

3. Avocado Oil 

Are you an avocado fan? Start incorporating avocado oil into your food preparation, especially for baking! Avocado oil is retrieved from pressing its pulp. Nearly 70% of avocado oil is the heart-health promoting omega-9 fatty acids that is found to be helpful in controlling blood pressure. 

4. Flaxseed Oil 

Flaxseed oil is one great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The latter is known for its anti-inflammatory effects that are reflected to be beneficial in lowering the risk of certain types of cancers. Research has found that flaxseed oil may help in reducing symptoms of arthritis, including pain and stiffness.

5. Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn berry is one of the world’s most nutritionally complete foods and its seeds and pulps are often processed to make oil. It contains a high amount of omega-7 fatty acids, which are extra rare in plant sources that showed promise in promoting gastrointestinal, digestive and most importantly, cardiovascular health.

6. Canola Oil 

Canola oil only consists of 7% saturated fat and the rest are polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and 9 that are related to controlling blood cholesterol level and blood pressure. Effective control of the above helps to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome that is often observed in middle-aged people.

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