If you want to achieve good health amid the pandemic, choosing the right oil should be the foremost step as Covid-19 is an inflammatory disease and we should, therefore, focus more on anti-inflammatory diets and the right cooking oil, top health experts have said. Eminent physician and cardiologist and Past President of the Indian Medical Association K.K. Aggarwal is favourably inclined towards cold-pressed mustard oil not only because it is rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA), it also contains large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid which are proven to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation.
"The composition of mustard oil is a cardiologist's delight -- that's why an increasing number of doctors are recommending mustard oil to reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension and other related health issues," said Dr Pragya Gupta, Senior Scientist and Director at Mustard Research Promotion Consortium (MRPC), the R&D wing of Puri Oil Mills Limited (the makers of P Mark Mustard Oil).
"Kachi Ghani Mustard oil in its pure, natural, extra-virgin, cold-pressed form offers such a wide array of health benefits that our company has dedicated itself to manufacturing this wonder oil for more than 85 years."
According to a renowned cardiologist, Dr T.S. Kler, Chairman, Fortis Heart and Vascular Institute, Gurugram and Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, mustard oil has several benefits as compared to other oils.
"Mustard oil is considered one of the healthiest edible oils as it has a low amount of Saturated Fatty Acids and a high amount of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, which are good for health," Kler said.
"The alpha-linolenic acid found in mustard oil reduces the adhesion-aggregation tendency of blood platelets which decreases the risk of a heart attack. Several clinical studies have also found that mustard oil may be the best for heart health," Kler added.
Mustard oil also contains a phytochemical compound known as Allyl Isothiocyanate (AITC) that offers strong anti-inflammatory characteristics. A study published in the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Medicine shows that it helps fight and reduce inflammation in the colon and the gastrointestinal tract.
Here is another interesting benefit that becomes particularly relevant against the backdrop of the current pandemic. "COVID-19 is a fatty virus and mustard oil is anti-obesity oil", said Aggarwal in a webinar recently.
A study published in the Asian Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that the regular consumption of mustard oil can lead to low body weight gain, less visceral fat accumulation, and improved glucose and lipid homeostasis.
"Mustard oil is considered to be high in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA). They help in increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease bad cholesterol (LDL). Also, its consumption may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and help with weight loss as well," said Dr Amrendra Kumar Pandey, Consultant, Cardiologist, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi.
The worst of the lot, Aggarwal says, is Trans Fat -- he calls it a "killer fat" because it causes heart disease and stroke by building up cholesterol in the arteries.
Mustard oil is a healthy option because it contains no Trans Fat, does not turn rancid, and does not lead to the production of harmful free radicals.
Eating too much of Trans Fats may raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy HDL cholesterol. This imbalance can increase your risk of high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack and stroke.