Frying is definitely one of the least recommended methods of cooking and health experts suggest you keep fried food at arm's length. But if you still feel like indulging, rarely that is, we've got some great advice.(The Best Cooking Oils for Your Health)
The fried food you eat at restaurants or at a street stall can be tricky. You can't be sure of the kind of oil they use and how many times it's reused. But at home you can make the smart decision of choosing an oil that's probably healthier.
(Olive, Sunflower or Canola - Which Oil is Healthier?)
Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, part of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Seeds from mature canola plants are crushed to remove the oil, which is then processed, refined and bottled for consumption. The oil has a pale golden colour, is neutral in taste and odourless, with a high heat tolerance (smoke point of 242 °C).
If you’re finding yourself being swept up in the tide of the latest fitness revolution, it is imperative to make all the right dietary choices. Dr. Anju Sood, a Bangalore based nutritionist says, “Canola oil is definitely one of the more preferable oils in recent times. Olive oil is recommended too because of its cold pressed method of extraction and high nutritional value, but its drawback in Indian cooking is its low smoking point.”
On a Healthy Note
Here are some of the health benefits of canola oil:
1. Source of Smart Fats: Canola oil is a reservoir of the two essential polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3 and Omega-6, which the body is incapable of producing on its own but are necessary for most bodily functions and to keep heart diseases at bay.
2. Fights Cholesterol: Its low saturated fats and high monounsaturated fat content, topped with minimal trans fat (less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day) make canola oil ideal for a healthy-heart balance. Simply put, saturated fats increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body and monounsaturated fatty acids work in the opposite direction, fighting away risk of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Vitamin Rich: Canola oil is an opulent source of fat-soluble Vitamin K and E. Vitamin E is needed for healthy skin and proper functioning of the immune system as it is rich in antioxidants, whereas vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting.
4. Reduces Belly Fat: Research has shown that those who consumed canola oil on a daily basis as part of a healthy diet for weight maintenance for two weeks reduced their abdominal fat by 1.6 per cent.
5. Controls Blood-sugar: According to a published research, consuming canola oil in a low-glycemic index diet (one that minimises changes in blood sugar levels) can help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes because of its high MUFA (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids) content.
(This Wonder Oil Can Help Diabetics)
Eat to Your Heart’s Content
For those on a cholesterol reducing diet, canola oil would certainly be a healthier choice. Compared to other commonly used oils, it contains a lesser percentage of saturated fat. The numbers read like this: Olive oil- 15 percent; Corn oil- 13 percent; Sunflower oil- 12 percent and canola oil stands at 7 percent.
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Scientific studies state that just 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil a day, when used in place of saturated fat, may be the key to a healthy heart. Its high content of unsaturated fats is instrumental in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
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Cooking with Canola Oil
So how do we incorporate this oil in our diets? Chef Surjan Singh Jolly, director food and beverage at JW Marriott Bengaluru, says, “Canola oil is definitely one of the friendliest cooking oils for Indian cuisine, especially with the large amount of deep frying involved. The cuisine uses a lot of spices and masala mixes, and the oil’s odourless and neutral characters let them work their magic in the dishes without any hindrance. Texture wise, it is very light, does not feel greasy or sticky.”
Canola oil is an exceptionally stable oil with a high smoke point of 242 °C. A high smoke point ensures that the oil won’t smoke or break down at high heat, making it ideal for deep-frying, sautéing and searing.
Here are some sumptuous recipes made with canola oil you must get your hands on.
1. Palak Puri with Canola Oil
Recipe by Chef Kunal Kapur
A hero in every North Indian kitchen, puris can be deep fried in canola oil to make them fluffier and less greasy.
2. Churros with Chocolate Sauce
Recipe by Chef Joey Matthew
Crispy, fried flour sticks drizzled with cinnamon and castor sugar and served with chocolate sauce, this Spanish dessert comes close to heaven. Fry them in canola oil for a healthier version.
3. Amritsari Kulcha
Recipe by Chef Surjan Singh
For all those watching their weight, here’s the best news of the day. Presenting, Amritsari kulchas in a healthy avatar. Make sure you accompany the stuffed kulchas with a generous helping of spicy chole.
4. Koli Sukka
Recipe by Chef Surjan Singh
Kori Sukka is a spicy coconut-based chicken delicacy, a perfect treat for your taste buds.