Think you know your way around the staple of the kitchen? Cooking oils.Traditionally, healthy recipes can turn into unhealthy ones and vice versa by the use of the wrong oil. And wham! A bummer. From coconut to olive, vegetable to canola, avocado to rapeseed oil – one look at the website of a grocery store, and you are confused, especially when everywhere you look you have contradictory claims staring in your face. And in a pandemic struck world, all that you are looking for is an oil which has some immunity boosting properties.
Prachi M, Nutrition Coach, says, “Cooking oil is an integral part of Indian cooking. And our traditional nut oil like sesame oil, groundnut oil, coconut oil as well as ghee are well researched to prove as all-rounders when it comes to health benefits including improving immunity.”
Manisha Mehta, MSc. Dietetics Sports Nutritionist (Sports Authority of India Certified) explains, “All the plant oils have different compositions of fatty acids which give us essential healthy fats and different types of Polyunsaturated Fatty acids and Unsaturated Fatty acids which perform a lot of functions in our body, from energy to immunity, they help in all.” However, she cautions, “Quantity is the king, limit your oil content to 3-4 teaspoons in the entire day.”
Oil is the heart of almost every favourite Indian dish. Imagine, relishing those lip-smacking hot jalebis, without cooking oil? Sounds impossible, right? In a Covid-19 struck world, oils that aid the immune system, now that’s gold!
Prachi recommends, “Sesame oil is packed with vitamin B6, vitamin E magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, dietary and flavonoids phenolic antioxidants. All these enriching nutrients make sesame oil a powerful immune-stimulant and antidepressant property.”
Peanut oil is rich in vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant to provide a stronger immune system and it also prevents blood clots. Prachi says, “Filtered peanut oil contains antioxidants like resveratrol that helps to boost the immunity of the body and saves you from viral, fungal and bacterial infections.”
When talking about oils, how can we forget the lovely coconut oil. A rage among diet – watchers, “Coconut oil is a great support to the gut. Good gut health supports immune function and softens the trigger to autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis. It contains Lauric acid, that has antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties,” says Karishma Shah, Integrative Health Nutritionist & Holistic Wellness Coach. She suggests having raw one teaspoon on an empty stomach. It is very good for the gut and for boosting the immunity.
Not to forget our very own, humble ghee or clarified butter. Mehta feels cooking in Desi Ghee helps in digestion resulting in building and maintaining immunity.