Month: May 2017

The oil-free way to good health

IFB Health Chef

The oil-free way to good health

Eating isn’t just about munching on delicious food. We need to ensure our bodies also receive the right nutrients in a balanced amount to live a healthy life. For this, one must master the art of using ingredients in ways that make the dish both wholesome and tasty. Using too much of any one ingredient can ruin a dish – an excess of spices will make it bitter, or overuse of oil can cause indigestion.

The world today is becoming increasingly health conscious owing to the rise of lifestyle-related diseases. We know that excessive use of oil leaves us with weight problems and skin disorders. Yet, we use copious amounts when cooking, assuming it will contribute to the flavour of the dish.

It is important to understand that most oils are high in fat, sodium and calories. A single gram of fat contains 9 kilo calories, more than double that of carbohydrates and protein. Most oils also add no flavour to food. Opting for a minimal or oil-free diet means your food will not only taste better but also be healthier to consume.

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It might seem baffling to think of cooking with minimal or no oil, but this has its benefits. Begin by opting for other cooking mediums such as water or broth or alternative techniques including grilling, steaming or baking.
The market today is flooded with kitchen appliances that can help you with your new method of cooking while simultaneously preserving the nutritional value of your dish. IFB has introduced its Health Chef Ovens that can even fry your food with little or no oil, while also providing you options to bake, toast and grill dishes in the same appliance. They are simple to use and incorporate a variety of functions in the same oven to help you cook nutritious, oil-free meals that make you feel good.


So how do we move to oil-free cooking? Here’s a 3-step guide to help you:

1. Understand the enemy: Oil is 100% processed fat that is unhealthy in large amounts. It consists of unsaturated, saturated and trans fats. Unsaturated fats are considered healthiest, and come in two forms – monounsaturated (such as oils made from olives, sesame seeds, canola, avocado and nuts) and polyunsaturated (such as oils from sunflower, fish, cottonseed, flaxseed, soybean and safflower). Saturated fats are considered bad for the body and tend to be higher in calories. They come from oils made from palm, coconut, dairy products and meat. The most harmful category is Trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated oils.

Cholesterol, also found in oil, has developed a bad reputation. While good cholesterol or high density lipoprotein (HDL) helps the body, bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein (LDL) promotes health issues. Trans fats are responsible for greatly raising LDL levels in the body while reducing HDL levels. So consider the amount of excess fat we eat per meal when using oil in our cooking.

Research has also shown that repeatedly heating oil also changes its properties in a way that is hazardous for vital organs and increases associated risks of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular issues.

Oil Free Dishes

2. Take baby steps: It is important to be patient and gradually reduce the use of excess oil and fat. Old habits die hard, but they can eventually be changed. Check ingredient labels for partially hydrogenated oils and stop buying those products. Avoid eating too much processed meats like sausages and salami, and slowly cut down the amount of oil used when cooking – say from three tablespoons per dish to one. It’s even possible to fry an egg in water by adding just a drop of oil in it. When making chicken gravy, remember that the meat itself releases ample amounts of fat which is enough to make a tasty dish. Considering this, we do not need an external source of oil.
Look at saving calories by eliminating oil – instead of vegetable oil which contains 135 calories including 15g of total fat, try a cup of vegetable broth which is just 15-20 calories. Or simply use water.

3. Learn the art of substitution: Look for healthy substitutes to your favourite foods. To bulk up your meals, add nuts which are packed with heart-healthy nutrients and boost physical and mental performance. Rich in vitamins and minerals, coconut is anti-inflammatory, regulates your body’s vital processes and improves the immune system. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and essential fats, while avocado has heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre. Soybeans are another great source of fats and proteins.

Meat lovers can opt for white or oily fish such as goldfish, whiting, red bream, hake and cod for omega-3 fatty acids and phosphorous. Clams, lobster, oyster, squid and spider crab are low in fat and carbohydrates, and rich in protein, iodine and zinc.

When making salads, substitute fatty dressings like mayonnaise with balsamic vinegar, salsa and lemon juice. Steam or grill vegetables, or sauté them using water, vegetable broth or vinegar instead of oils. Tomatoes and onions browned in the oven add excellent flavour over oil when cooking. Junk food like fries and nachos can be baked.
When baking, substitute half the amount of oil with curd, almond meal, mashed bananas or potatoes or avocado, puréed plums or tofu, flaxseed paste or buttermilk. You’ll soon discover umpteen ways to minimise the use of oil when cooking.

How cooking oil makes us unhealthy

IFB Health Chef

How cooking oil makes us unhealthy

Food may be necessary for survival, but what we put into our bodies has a profound effect on our well-being. For a healthy body, it is important to eat the right amount of food, that has been cooked the right way and at the right time.

Our hurried lives today make us vulnerable to bad eating habits, far from the path nature intended. In the wild, animals eat instinctively and mostly enjoy complete lives with no cholesterol problems whatsoever. Humans, on the other hand, suffer a vast number of lifestyle-related diseases.

To be healthy, we need to eat a balanced diet, of which fats play an important role. Cooking oil is one of the ways in which we consume fats, and it’s important to understand how it affects our health.

Oil & its composition

No oil by itself is good or bad. It is actually the composition of the oil – which changes during cooking – that converts it into unhealthy fats. Oils are made of a number of fatty acids, consisting of saturated fats and unsaturated fats – polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and trans fats.

Trans fats, which occur in very small quantities naturally but are widely present in processed foods, are bad for our health. They increase the chances of early heart attacks or strokes by clogging your arteries at a much faster pace than normal.

Heat can change an oil’s composition to create these trans fats. Although cooking methods like deep frying lend food that delicious taste we know so well, it also causes oil to lose a lot of its nutritional value.

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Oil & temperature

A process known as oxidisation occurs when oil is exposed to temperature, air, moisture, metals and even light. Temperature is the biggest contributing factor to oxidisation, which degrades the quality of oil to cause health problems. Different oils have varying temperatures at which their composition changes. This is called smoking point, and it helps to remember that the higher the smoking point of the oil, the better it is for cooking. Oils made from avocado, mustard, palm, groundnut, rice bran, sunflower and coconut have higher smoking points.

Oils that are healthy at room temperature can quickly become bad for us after they’ve been heated, depending on their smoking point. Generally, the more saturated fatty acid an oil contains, the more stable it is during cooking. Many people believe that saturated oils cause heart attacks and unsaturated oils are good for health, but when heating oil for cooking, the opposite is true.

All oils respond to heat, light and oxygen. Oxygen breaks down the oil, potentially producing harmful components particularly when heated. How resistant an oil is to oxygen is known as its oxidative stability. Oils from almonds, avocado, canola, coconut, palm, sesame and extra virgin olive oil have high oxidative stability and are therefore healthier to use during cooking.

Even the methods used to extract oils can affect their nutritional values. Oils are extracted using chemical solvents, decanter centrifuges or through pressing at high or low temperatures. Sometimes, all these methods are combined. The healthiest oils come from those pressed at cold temperatures which prevent them from heating.

Kitchen Care Tips

Oil-free cooking

Whichever way you look at it, the use of oils in cooking is not the natural way of consuming food. The ideal and healthiest way to eat it is with little to no oil. Cooking methods like boiling, grilling, baking and roasting involve very little or no oil altogether.

IFB’s Health Chef Oven is capable of frying with little to no oil in addition to baking, grilling and toasting. These ovens, make cooking healthier dishes easy through the use of little to no oil. These are easy to use and offer a combination of cooking functions in a single appliance, all for delicious but healthy, oil-free meals.