By: Priyam Patel, Managing Director, NK Proteins Pvt Ltd

Edible oils are a staple in every kitchen, forming the base of numerous dishes. The quality of the oil used can significantly impact health. High-quality oils not only enhance the taste of food but also provide essential nutrients and healthy fats vital for maintaining good health. Conversely, low-quality or adulterated oils can pose serious health risks, including heart disease, high cholesterol, and other chronic conditions.

When selecting edible oils, it is essential to read the packaging carefully. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has established stringent guidelines to ensure that consumers have access to safe and high-quality products. Key elements to look for on labels include FSSAI certification, which indicates that the oil has been tested and meets safety and quality standards. One must look for oils labeled as ‘100% pure’ or ‘refined’, as these terms indicate that the oil has undergone a refining process to remove impurities and contaminants. It is necessary to check the manufacturing and expiry dates, as using oil beyond its expiry date can result in rancidity, which can harm health. Reviewing the list of ingredients is essential to ensure there are no harmful additives or preservatives; pure edible oils should have a single ingredient – the oil itself. Paying attention to the nutritional information on the label, opting for oils with lower saturated fats and higher levels of unsaturated fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are healthier for the heart is vital. Additionally, ensuring that the packaging is intact and free from damage, as damaged packaging can lead to contamination and spoilage.

Different types of edible oils offer varied health benefits. Cottonseed oil, known for its high antioxidant content, helps reduce inflammation and boost immunity. It is also a good source of polyunsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health. Sunflower oil supports cardiovascular health by reducing bad cholesterol levels and contains vitamin E for skin and immune system benefits. Its high smoke point and neutral flavour make it perfect for cooking. Mustard oil, rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, contains omega-3 fatty acids and has antimicrobial properties, making it a healthy choice for cooking. Rice bran oil is high in antioxidants, including vitamin E and oryzanol, which help reduce cholesterol levels. It is also known for its high smoke point, making it suitable for frying and high-temperature cooking. Groundnut oil, also known as peanut oil, is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants like resveratrol, helping to maintain good cholesterol levels and support heart health. Soybean oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and support overall heart health. It is also rich in vitamin K, essential for bone health.

By carefully selecting high-quality edible oils and paying attention to the FSSAI guidelines on packaging, consumers can ensure they are providing the best for their family’s health. On this World Food Safety Day, the commitment to making informed choices and prioritizing food safety in every drop of oil used is crucial. Health is too precious to be compromised. Choosing edible oils that adhere to the highest standards of safety and quality enhances the flavour of meals and contributes to the overall well-being of loved ones.