RICE BRAN OIL: Indian version of Olive Oil

Rice Bran oil could be the solution to the ever increasing metabolic syndrome cases in the world. This oil is a unique edible oil; with many nutritional benefits, as compared to other edible oils. In a recent seminar organised by Nutrition Quest under the aegis of Wellness Quotient, various benefits of Rice Bran Oil and why it is rightly known as an Indian version of Olive Oil was discussed. Experts like Dr. Meena Mehta; Vice President of the Indian Dietetic Association, Mumbai Chapter highlighted the role of Rice Bran Oil in reducing cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Dr. Mehta Says “It is not just the MUFA: PUFA ratio that is important but the ratio of SFA: MUFA: PUFA that is important. And according to the latest recommendations by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)the ideal fatty acid composition is 27-33% : 33-40% : 27-33%. And the fatty acid composition of Rice bran oil comes closest to these recommendations with the percentages at 24: 42: 34.” The SFA: MUFA: PUFA ratios of various oils were discussed and it concluded with the fact that Rice Bran Oil indeed has the most ideal fat composition, better frying stability and offers unique health benefits due to phytosterols present in it. The other oil which has ideal fat composition is groundnut oil and almond oil. Flaxseed oil was also discussed hugely; though it is not available right now it could be again one of the best oil as it will be the richest source of omega 3.

Rice Bran Oil is relatively new oil that is extracted from rice bran and is gaining popularity in Asian countries like Japan, Korea, China and India. It is not very expensive. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and has cholesterol-lowering properties due to the presence of a component called oryzanol. It contains natural vitamin E, (tocopherol and tocotrienol) which is an antioxidant. It also contains squalene, which is good for the skin. It is the ideal cooking oil since it has good stability/high smoke point (it does not decompose at high temperatures to form toxic compounds) and is suitable for deep-frying. Studies have shown that snacks prepared in rice bran oil absorb 12-25 per cent less oil than those prepared in groundnut oil.

Dr. Mehta also stressed on the fact that oil should not be reused and nor they should be used beyond their smoke point. She mentioned that a combination of oils (premixed) is available these days with various brands but it may not help unless the smoke point of both oils is close enough or else at high temperature the oil with lower smoke point may become toxic. And toxicity of oil is still under research. And also as such no more than two oils are allowed to be mixed in India.

There are households where various oils are blended. But blending oils is not always a practical thing to do and may also alter the taste of the food cooked in it. Rotating oils every month would be a better option wherein you change the type of oil every month or two.

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