How antioxidant-rich oils can help.

According to the WHO, heart diseases will be the single “greatest killer” in India by 2015. India has the highest percentage of patients with Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) in the world. Edible oils fortified with antioxidants could be an excellent preventive approach, considering the high intake of edible oil in the country.

How much oil do we consume?

A fat intake of 29 gm per head a day is adequate to meet one’s nutritional needs. This translates into an annual requirement of around 10 kg per person.

What constitutes healthy oil?

Unhealthy edible oil is a major risk factor for heart diseases. Replacing it with oil that has a good fatty acid composition and blended with one more oil that has a different but equally essential fatty composition and fortified with antioxidants could help bring down the risk of heart disease.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are scavenge-free radicals — the free molecules produced during the body’s normal metabolic functions, which are responsible for instigating chain reactions of wear and tear at a cellular level. This is one of the major reasons behind increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What are the benefits of antioxidant-rich edible oil?

Antioxidants are required to prevent the formation of free radicals while cooking. The potency of the antioxidant used to fortify the oil will help maintain the on-shelf quality and prevent formation of secondary oxidation products. The antioxidant constituents of oils vary, so blending could help cover the entire range required to ensure heart health.

Are there any recommendations?

To achieve adequate intake of all fatty acids and to achieve optimum antioxidant cover, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) recommends combining two or more vegetable oils.

Ensuring a healthy blend of two oils that are sufficiently fortified is a better option than choosing a single seed oil. Consuming such blended oils may help prevent risk of cardiovascular diseases.