How to use the right oils & fats

by amita mishra

All of us are so skeptical on consuming fats and oils when on a diet or just in general when we are trying to be healthier.

Today let us understand what is the importance of both and how much and which oils we are supposed to be using for what dishes.

One needs to understand that oils & fats serve a great importance for our body. Few important things are:

  • They help move vitamins in the body
  • They help in keeping our joints running smooth, just like how the machines require oil to run smoothly.
  • They contain MUFAs [Monounsaturated fats] & PUFAs [Poly unsaturated fats] which are very essential for our body to function well.
  • They are also essential to keep the LDL cholesterol [bad cholesterol] in check.


So, it is not about using oil or fats but it all depends on how much oil you use or which oil you use while making a particular meal.

Each oil is important to be used in the right dish. For example it won’t make sense for us to use coconut oil to prepare Sarson ka saag right?

So let us understand from now onward how we can use our oils better:

  1. Olive oil:

Produced mainly in Italy. This oil is high in MUFAs and should be used mainly while preparing pastas, spaghettis, stir fry and as a dressing for salads. Just because it is good in MUFAs it should not be used liberally as it will increase calorific value of the foods.

  1. Coconut oil:

It is high in healthy saturated fats and can keep your bad cholesterol in check. This oil should be used to make all south Indian dishes like avial as it gives good flavor to the dishes. Studies have also shown that coconut oil helps in fat burning and can also keep your appetite in check.

  1. Mustard oil:

It has a sharp and pungent flavor usually used by North Indians in their dishes. It can be used while making pickles, Tikkas and much more. It has optimum ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids. Also has low content of saturated fats. It improves digestion and appetite by stimulating digestive juices and bile in the liver and spleen. It helps in clearing congestion and is very good for joint pains and arthritis.

  1. Groundnut oil:

Also known as peanut oil, the benefits come from its diverse types of fatty acids. It has benefits to boost immune system, reduce risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and keep cholesterol levels in check. This oil is mainly used to prepare most of the Indian dishes. It can be used in deep frying, making cutlets, upma and much more.  It has quite an interesting flavor, especially the roasted ones.

  1. Sunflower oil:

It’s a light, pale yellow colored oil and is an all round oil. You can use this oil while baking, as salad dressing and while making mayonnaise to balance out the flavor. Its high in Vitamin E which is very good for your skin and hair. It reduces signs of aging and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Now lets understand refined, unrefined and stone crushed oils.

Although unrefined oils are the best as they retain all nutrients and flavor but have a very low smoke point. Hence when cooking high-heat items it is best to use the refined version of the oils. Stone crushed oils are oils produced by pressing or making paste in stone mills. Now this has a advantage and disadvantage as well. The disadvantage is it tends to loose out on the antioxidants as it is exposed to too much oxygen while preparing. It is therefore less healthy and has a lower shelf life [can be stored only for a shorter period]. The advantage is it has a milder and buttery taste.

What oil do you use for cooking? How much do you use in each meal? Write to us about it.

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