When there are a plethora of “healthy” cooking oils in the market, which one do you choose? Is it olive, rice bran or canola oil?
Early this week, I attended an eye-opener event at Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, organized by www.canolainfo.org, a Canadian non-profit trade organization, which motivated me to take my cooking oil even more seriously. When Bruce Jowett (Vice President – Market Development, Canola Council of Canada), Naini Setalvad (renowned nutritionist and columnist), Dr. Aasish Contractor (HOD for Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation, Asian Heart Institute) and celebrity chef Ajay Chopra (Executive Chef at Westin, Mumbai, and former Masterchef India judge), all talk about the goodness of a particular kind of oil, it is obvious that this oil has something great and unique to talk about.
In India, a considerable number of people die of heart disease every year. Heart disease is caused by the following:
We cannot change genetics as of now, but Dr. Aashish explained that two things are in our hands: the quality of food that we eat and our activity level. Saturated fat in the diet gets converted into cholesterol. So always opt for oil which is low in saturated fat. Compared to safflower oil, flaxseed oil, rice barn oil and peanut oil, canola oil is lowest in saturated fat (half that of olive oil), apart from being a good source of vitamin E. Not only that, it is high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fat. It is also a good source of omega-6 fat. And the good news is, it is free of Trans fat and cholesterol!
Being a food-blogger, I was most excited to meet the celebrity Indian chef Ajay Chopra! It was an opportunity for me to learn culinary nuances from him, as he proceeded to demonstrate festive recipes using canola oil. Extremely confident and resourceful, the chef cooked up dishes like Green pea karanji, Chocolate samosa and Kothimbir wadi in no time. I loved the chocolate samosa among all. It was just great!
Lesson learnt: A good choice of cooking oil and “following moderation” are the basics to good health.
Why do I love canola oil? Not only because I want good health for my family, but also because I prefer oil which is less viscous (so it is lighter) and doesn’t get absorbed considerably into the food. I love to use oils that bring out natural flavours of a dish (especially while baking) and don’t impart any unwanted smell to the food cooked or baked. It is perfect for Indian cooking, which involves a lot of frying and hence, demands a high-smoking-point oil, such as canola oil.
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