The oil jar in your kitchen could well decide the number of stretch marks on your thighs and if you’ll sport love handles on your waist. A wider girth means a greater risk of heart disease (old news, I know), and so we duly switched to heart-healthy oils and virgin olive oils. But even then, our girth keeps increasing, and so does our vulnerability to lifestyle diseases (old news, yes, but I’m not sure you noticed).
So, which oil should you use? Try filtered groundnut oil. Look for the words ‘filtered’ or ‘cold-pressed’ or ‘virgin’ on the label. Filtered oil is extracted from the seed at a much lower temperature than refined oil. At low temperatures, the fatty acid bonds in the groundnut don’t get destroyed, keeping its heart-protecting abilities intact, along with vitamins and minerals. This, however, makes oil extraction a little expensive as you don’t get too much oil out of each seed while maintaining the quality.
A cheaper way to make oil is to use high temperature, technology and solvents to extract a near-100 per cent yield out of the seeds. But this destroys the delicate fatty acid bonds and weakens naturally existing vitamins and minerals. Though these oils are cheaper, they are sold at a higher price thanks to advertising. Filtered oils are almost never advertised and are more likely to be stocked at your grocer’s rather than the mall. Filtered groundnut oil doesn’t just have anti-viral properties, but is great for fat loss too. Groundnuts, with their high Niacin (of the Vitamin B family) content, help stabilise blood sugars and, thus, aid in fat loss. Eating groundnuts/ peanuts is good for diabetics (I know you were advised against it) because its nutrient-rich properties also help prevent cardio-vascular complications.
So, for a healthy heart, a strong immune system and fat loss, bring back good old groundnut oil. It was once a staple of your grandmom’s kitchen, and that explains her glowing skin.
(Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar’s latest book is called Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha.)