Oil that prevents heart attack

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With the healthy heart, the beats goes on. Unhealthy food and oil causes fat-clogging of arteries, which is  the primary cause of heart attack, stroke and sudden death. And this can stop the heart- beat forever. So choosing the best oil is life-saving. In this regard patients usually cannot get convincing answer from most of the physicians or the dietician. This opinion is an attempt to address this issue.

Fats are important constituents of our daily food, more so in the festival days. With approaching Dashain and other festivals, we are bound to eat these oil in big amount. And they impact our heart health. Among these fat, saturated and trans-fats are the most unhealthy. We should avoid these fats as far as possible. Various kinds of cooking oils are available in the market: sunflower oil, mustard oil, rice bran oil, olive oil. All these actually confuse people in choosing the right one.

We have mainly 2 kinds of cholesterol in our body: -LDL, the bad cholesterol and - HDL the good cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is responsible for blocking the arteries and HDL prevents the blocking.

Vegetable oil do not have cholesterol, whereas animal fats (butter ghee) have cholesterol in it. Heating the oil leads to oxidation and degradation in oil quality and form saturated compounds such as hydroperoxides etc.

Saturated fats increase level of LDL (source: ghee, coconut oil). Unsaturated fats decrease LDL and increases HDL (Source: sunflower oil, soybean oil, olive oil, mustard oil).

Trans fats are fats produced from hydrogenation of fats (Margarina, Banaspati Ghee). These increase LDL and reduces HDL cholesterol. Unrefined oil are considered better than refined oil.

When fats and oils are heated, they produced bluish fumes (khaarr) at some point. This point is called smoke point. This point of unpleasant flavor marks nutritional degradation of oil. So they should not be heated to this point. Different oils available in the market have different properties.

Mustard oil: It is high in unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and low in saturated fatty acid (SFA). It has better omega ratio of N-6: N-3 in comparison to olive oil. Having high smoke point, it is good for high tempered cooking. Rich in linoleic acid it is safer than sunflower oil for cooking and frying. It decreases chances of heart diseases by 70%.

Canola oil (rape seed oil): high in unsaturated (MUFA) fatty acid and low in saturated fatty acid (SFA) has been considered healthy by FDA.

Olive oil: High in a type of fat known as monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). It exerts anti-inflammatory property and lowers cholesterol. But it has low smoke point and does not have ideal omega ratio (N-6:N-3 ratio). But is considered good for some tumors (prostate, breast colon). Found also in avocado nuts and fatty fish.

 Soyabean oil: High in PUFA

Rice bran oil: Contain both unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA &PUFA) and oryzanol (powerful antioxidant). Has high smoke point. Has high fibre content so excessive use may cause flatulence.

Sunflower Oil: contain high PUFA and low SFA which makes it a good cooking oil. But it has high content of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. So high amount consumption is not desirable and may cause breast and prostate cancer.

Coconut oil:  high in saturated fats and increases LDL

Butter: It is animal fat, high in SFA and cholesterol and raises total and LDL cholesterol.

Ghee: similar to butter but has higher smoke point.

Banaspati ghee: Worst of all edible oils. Has low smoke point. High amount of SFA and has direct correlation with heart disease. This is used to make cakes and doughnuts.


For different types of food preparation, different oil is to be used. For light salad-dressing, olive oil is preferable For stir frying items, mustard oil and rapeseed canola oil are good. For deep heavy fries like samosa and Sel etc, mixture of mustard oil and rice bran appear more stable, with high smoke point. Studies show mustard oil can decrease coronary artery disease. So the best way is to manage food at homemade and avoid  junk foods. So do your part  and take care of your heart.


(Extracted from studies of Mayo clinic and Research Journal- Edible group Sundeep Mishra  et al AIIMS)

Last modified on 2021-10-11 17:41:19

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