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A Varied Diet Represents Multiple Nutrients!

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Sussanna Ngodoo Jacob

When a variety of foods are consumed in proportionality, balance, and moderation, many great things happen, and this applies to culinary oils as well!

Oils are like any other food, always best consumed in variety because a varied diet offers more nutrients!  Oils are made from different types of foods as such each type of oil feature a unique nutrient. Therefore, you can use more than one type of oil in a recipe.

However, keep in mind the function and ratio of both fatty acids (omega 3/ Omega-6. fatty acids) In order to gain more benefits, consume in proportionality and balance and moderation!

Balancing these fatty acids is crucial because 0mega-6 fatty acid is said to be pro-inflammation so it should be consumed sparingly because excess consumption would trigger inflammation (according to research inflammation is the root cause of many ailments such as cancer, arthritis, etc.) while omega-3 fatty acids is said to decrease Inflammation so it is wise to use oils that are richer in omega-3 more often.

However, all oils should be used in proportionality and balance and moderation. Ultimately to balance the nutrient factors one must get creative

Balancing the nutrient factor:

  • Oils such as Avocado, Soya-bean, groundnut and a host of other enjoy high smoke point. Meaning these oils can stand high cooking temperature, which makes them ideal for frying.

Fry your yams or any other food you wish to fry with a high smoke point oil and if it contains omega-6 fatty acids, then balance the fatty acid ratio by making a sauce with a omega-3fatty acids rich oil, particular the virgin olive or pure olive oil because they have some tolerance to heat than extra virgin olive oil, and then you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil to infuse more life-force into the sauce.

  • If a food is rich in a particular fatty acid and needs cooking, always cook such foods with the oil containing more of the fatty acid missing or is less in the food to strike a necessary balance. For example, Egusi is said to contain high omega-6 so cook Egusi with oils that are richer in omega-3 or even omega-9 fattyacids.

For maximum benefits always consume in proportionality and balance and moderation!

  • If you are suffering from a lifestyle health condition endeavor to use oils that are richer in omega3 and 9 fatty acids! Extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil are great picks to start with.

Savvy Culinary tips!

  • When cooking, (not deep-frying) always keep this at the back of your mind, Oils are only a flavoring in your food and not a major ingredient so use oils sparingly If possible Oils should be added towards the end of your cooking to ensure the nutrients are not completely destroyed. Remember, excessive heat destroys oils especially oils with low or medium smoke points. Use oils wisely! Ensure to maximize your culinary oils in every recipe.
  • Fried foods have high oil content and are energy dense, a regular consumption of fried foods may lead to fat intake far in excess of body’s demands. Cautiously consume such foods and always augment with vegetables while eating fried food.  If the dish doesn’t go with a side vegetable salad, eat the   vegetable salad before consuming the dish.
  • Avoid destroying nutrients in oils especially as in the case of palm oil, which is often bleached to give a pale colour in the absence of groundnut. Palm oil possesses that reddish colour because of the nutrients it contains and should offer your body if you do not destroy it….
  • Always ensure to drain excess oil from frying by placing fried food on an oil absorbent paper (serviette), press between the folds to remove excess oil before eating, doing this technique with Akara, fried yam, meat and other fried foods is essential.

We all have a responsibility to make wise and informed choices each day about the food we buy and eat. These tips are your ally to safer culinary and dieting so use them generously!

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