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Eat Soyabean Oil For Good Heart Health

Eat Soyabean Oil For Good Heart Health
Soyabean oil

As Nigerians, we probably eat more cooking oils than most Africans. This is because we cook, fry, dress and grill all sorts of foods, using cooking oils as “active” ingredient.

And if you are a Yoruba, you would agree that Igbo don’t call us ofe nmanu (excessive cooking oil eaters) for nought. Our jollof or fried rice is sometimes drenched in oil, while the average Yoruba person can’t cook soup without extra oil floating on top of the whole concoction. It’s our way of life.

While nutritionists caution that we eat oils in moderation, would you know that the type of oil you cook with may determine your heart health? At the welcoming of the Sunola soyabean oil into the family of heart-friendly foods on Thursday, President of the Nigerian Heart Foundation and renowned cardiologist, Emeritus Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe, notes that in general, cooking oils contain fat.

He warns that certain types of fat can raise your risk of heart disease, while other types provide a protective effect when used in moderation.

The emeritus professor of medicine counsels, “Fat provides the body with energy and plays a role in controlling inflammation, blood clotting and brain development. Fat also provides insulation and cushions the joints, and it must be present for your body to absorb and use vitamins A, D, E and K.”

Despite the importance of fat for our well-being, however, Akinkugbe says a diet that is too high in fat of any kind can contribute to obesity and high cholesterol levels, both of which raise the risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack or stroke.

“When too much cholesterol accumulates in the body, plaque can build up along the blood vessel walls and restrict the amount of blood the heart and/or brain receives. This will spell doom, health-wise,” he says.

This being the case, what kind of cooking oil should you eat? Experts suggest soyabean oil. Akinkugbe, who was a member of the Governing Council/Board of Trustees, International Society of Hypertension, says although diabetes, hypertension and certain ischaemic heart diseases are non-communicable, you would do yourself a world of good by staving them off through sound dietary habits that begin with the choice of your cooking oil.

Why soy oil, you may ask. Another specialist in heart health, Dr. Femi Mobolaji-Lawal proffers answer. He says in addition to fat, the human body also needs some cholesterol, which the body makes.

He explains, “Not all types of cholesterol are harmful. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are considered the bad kind because they are stored in the body. High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are the good kind because they are excreted. HDLs act as scavengers and can inhibit plaque formation. So, when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease, the goal is to lower your LDL level and raise your HDL level. Eating too much saturated and trans fat can raise your LDL level and lower your HDL level; while a diet high in unsaturated fats can lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels.”

In layman’s language, what all this translates into is that when you eat foods that contain unsaturated fats, such as soy oil, you reduce your risk of heart diseases drastically, thereby upping your chances of heart health as you age.

In stressing the advantages of eating soy oil, scientists at Centres for Disease Control say soybean oil falls under the category of unsaturated fat, and can therefore be part of a heart-healthy diet.

The Executive Director of NHF, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye, says “Soybean oil is a source of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which the human body needs but does not make. So they must be obtained through diet.”

Scientists counsel that the goal is to use soy oil instead of unhealthier options such as palm kernel oil, palm oil and coconut oil.

The Managing Director of Sunola Oil Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tarus Das, says, “Soy oil is an all-natural vegetable oil extracted from whole soybeans. The oil is golden in colour, light, edible and has a neutral flavour.

“The composition of soybean oil includes polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin E, which protects the body from the damage caused by free radicals, hence its recommendation in order to maintain healthy heart among the young and the old.”

Das advises that one of the ways to know good cooking oil is to recognize its chemical make-up. “With its high smoke point, soybean oil is great for frying and stir-frying. This is important because heating oil above its smoke point – the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke – produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. And the more refined the oil, the higher its smoke point. That is why soy oil is light, thus making it to retain its natural nutrient values that make it suitable for young and old,” he enthuses.

And to make your soy oil last long on the shelf and retain its nutrients, nutritionists say you must store it at room temperature, away from heat by storing it in the refrigerator or a dry, dark place. That way, they assure, your soy oil will keep for up to one year within the expiration date.

Source - The Punch

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