Is olive oil healthier than good-ol’ sarson ka tel? This is what a nutritionist has to say

Let’s put an end to this never-ending tussle between mustard oil and olive oil with nutritional facts that you probably didn’t see coming.
olive oil for cooking
Olive oil is good for light cooking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Updated: 30 Jul 2020, 14:52 pm IST
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Our dadis, nanis, and mums have been cooking with mustard oil or sarson ka tel since forever. But we millennials have our heart set on olive oil, which is often propositioned as the best when it comes to weight loss. The debate over which oil is better has been going on for quite some time. And it looks like this tug of war between olive and mustard oil will never end.

But today we are here to put an end to this olive oil versus mustard oil battle, so that you can make an informed descision. And to help us out, we’ve got Amreen Shaikh, head dietician and nutritionist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai. So, let’s see what she recommends. 

How you cook matters a whole lot when it comes to choosing an oil
We’re sure when buying cooking oil, you study the content label looking for things like trans fat. But before you get to this stage, you should first be clear on how you are going to cook with this oil. Are you going to fry, saute, or grill with this oil?

Explains Ms Shaikh:

Your cooking method is THE deciding factor when it comes to choosing an oil.

Indian cooking requires a lot of sautéing and frying for which olive oil is not the right choice. According to Shaikh, the smoking point of olive oil is very low and it immediately converts into trans fats or unsaturated fats that are very bad for your overall health. Cooking with olive oil in this way can lead to weight gain. In such cases, mustard oil is what you should prefer as it has a higher smoking point than olive oil.

“But if you want to use an oil for dressing or for dips, then you can surely go for olive oil. In case you are grilling your food then extra-virgin olive oil can be used as mustard oil is not great for salad dressings as it has a pungent smell,” she suggests.

Are there any nutritional differences between olive oil and mustard oil?
MUFA, check. PUFA, check. In fact, you’ll be glad to know that both these oils have almost similar nutrient levels which help in keeping your cholesterol in check. 

“Both oils are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help in keeping many health issues at bay,” she explains.

mustard oil and olive oil
MUFA and PUFA are needed for better heart health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

That said, mustard oil has an upper hand when it comes to nutrition. This is because it has the ideal ratio of 1:2 of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as recommended by the WHO. 

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Olive oil on the other has a ratio of 12:1 according to Shaikh, which is not good for your heart health. 

The verdict?
“When it comes to olive oil many people don’t really know how to use it and at times use it as a replacement for regular refined oil which is very, very harmful. So, keeping in mind the Indian scenario i.e. the way we cook and the type of food we eat, mustard oil is the right and a much healthier choice to make. It is inexpensive and is readily available and we all know how to use it,” she concludes.

So ladies, the next time you hit the supermarket, you might want to move towards mustard oil leaving that big jar of olive oil behind.

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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