Which oil is best for cooking?

Our market is flooded with such a large variety of oils and so many brands that it becomes difficult to choose the right kind of oil.  The choice of oils can be based on the knowledge of their content of saturated and unsaturated fats. To keep it simple, those oils which have high unsaturated fats (safflower, sesame, soy, corn, cottonseed, sunflower seed , olive, rapeseed, mustard and peanut oils) are preferred over those that have high content of saturated fats (Butter, ghee ,coconut and palm oils) .

A detailed table giving these contents is given in the section on Eating Healthy food

Some fats/oils which need to be avoided are:

  • Palm Oil or Palm Kernel Oil commonly used in packaged and processed food,
  • Animal Lard- Used in Chinese cooking and fast food industry.

Hydrogenated Fat (Vanaspathi, Dalda, Margarine) – called ‘Trans fats’ and are used in the manufacturing of foods as it helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

What changes in my lifestyle can help me prevent a stroke?

You can bring about simple, effective changes in your lifestyle to prevent strokes. These include –

•  Improving eating habits. Eat foods low in cholesterol, sodium and sugars. Reduce consumption of  foods such as papads, pickle, pizzas, sandwiches, readymade soups, potato chips and other fried items.

•   Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.

•    Be physically active. Aim for and maintain a healthy weight.

•   Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your doctor to manage it if it’s  high.

•   Take your medications for blood pressure and lipid control as directed by your treating doctor.

•   Decrease your stress level.

How do I recognise a heart attack?

More than half of the heart attacks happen to people who don’t even know that they have heart disease. Knowing the warning signs and acting quickly can save your life.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are some of the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Pain may also be experienced in the neck or jaw, shoulder tip, back or upper part of the abdominal area.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • However, some people may not have chest pain, but may have breathlessness on mild exercise or household work, sudden vomiting with sweating etc.

If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs don’t wait, get to a hospital right away. Acting quickly can save many lives.