I’ve been asked “how much cholesterol does coconut oil contain?” countless times. And I repeat here – there is no cholesterol in coconut oil. There’s no cholesterol in fresh coconut, dry coconut, tender coconut or any other coconut product! However, coconut oil has been maligned in the coronary circles because of its saturated fat content.
The latest thinking is that trans fats do more damage to the heart and blood vessels than saturated fat. Also, nutrition science has always allowed small amounts of saturated fat in the diet and perhaps this is one of the reasons why the usage of coconut oil has not completely died down in India.
On the positive side, coconut oil contains a type of fat that is found to be beneficial, particularly for those who cannot digest fats easily. Blenderised feeds given to patients in hospitals often use coconut oil because it can be digested and assimilated easily without causing any damage to health. Also for those who require high calories, coconut oil is a good source. Coconut oil oxidises slowly compared to the high PUFA oils. This results in lesser amount of free radicals.
Despite its positive effects, if you decide to switch to coconut oil for cooking, restrict the quantity. Remember that all oils must be taken in limited quantities.
Virgin coconut oil is now available in the market. A young Bangalorean, Kaavya Nag, has started to make 100% virgin coconut oil without using any enzymes, chemicals or heat. Completely natural, Coconess (that’s the brand name) coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconut milk in the traditional manner. Check it out if you wish.
Try to use coconut oil in your cooking once in a while……you might end up loving it!
A relative of mine was recently diagnosed of breast cancer. Apart from obesity, there were no known risk factors. While discussing her illness with an oncologist friend of mine, I was shocked to hear that this oncologist sees about 30 new cases of cancer every month! Can you imagine the number of cancer cases in Bangalore and India each year?
According to statistics, one out of every 20 women in India is likely to develop breast cancer. This is more prevalent in urban women than rural women. Risks for breast cancer include gender (women), age over 40, family history, early puberty or late menopause, prolonged use of contraceptives or hormone therapies, excess weight, high fat diet and less physical activity.
The good news is that if detected early, the chances of cure are higher. Self breast examination plays a very important role in early detection. Examine your breasts every month, and get them clinically examined by your gynaecologist at least once every 3 years.
You can get more details on breast cancer on this website – www.breastcancerindia.net
Sorry folks. I haven’t written in a while because I was buried under work after my return from vacation. I’ll start writing regularly again.
During my recent holiday, I came across ‘flax milk’ made from flaxseed. Over the years during my foreign travels, I had tasted rice milk, peanut milk, soy milk and almond milk. This was the first time I saw flax milk. Tasted it and loved it, although no one else in the family thought it was good.
The highlight of flax milk is its omega 3 content. A glass of flax milk has 1200 mg of omega 3 fatty acids and much lesser amounts of omega 6 and omega 9. For those who are lactose-intolerant, this is useful because it contains no lactose. Needless to say that there’s no cholesterol because it’s a plant product.
If you’re wondering how to get good amounts of omega 3 in your diet with no access to flax milk, then include flaxseed powder or fish in your meals regularly. Omega 3 fatty acids are useful for brain function, to possibly reduce the risk of inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and many other modern day health problems.
Feels good to take a break from routine. I’m back from a fabulous, fun-filled vacation and will resume writing from today. If you have anything interesting to say, please do write.
Not sure if any of you read my articles on ‘Lactose Intolerance’ and ‘Ragi’ in The Times of India. If you did, comments are welcome.
I came across an article in Reuters which said there is no scientific evidence to support blood-type diets. I felt good after reading it. Nutritionists and dietitians have been saying over and over again that fad diets for weight loss are just that – fads – and no matter what fad diet you try, it doesn’t work in the long run. The best and healthiest way to lose weight is to eat sensibly and exercise regularly. So, if you’re planning to go on a weight loss program, please do so with the help of a qualified dietitian, and do not fall for advertisements which promise quick weight loss.
There has been a lot of debate on whether to use plastic containers / wrappers, for food or not. There’s still no uniform ban on storing food in plastics but I don’t think many researchers are encouraging it either.
All of us know that plastics contain chemicals. There’s no knowing the long term effects of chemicals on food consumed by humans. Some say that BPA (bisphenol A) which is used in making plastics and resins (water bottles, food containers, food cans, bottle tops, etc) can seep into the food or beverage that it carries and may affect brain or prostate of infants and children. However, US FDA says its safe. Some others say that phthalate chemicals used to make soft plastics and also used in cosmetics, can increase blood pressure and cause artery wall damage in children.
While the debate is still on, here are a few steps you can take to reduce plastic use for food –
I’m off on a vacation for 5 weeks and will resume blogging after my return, unless I have something interesting to share during my vacation!
Take care and wish you good health!