Friday, December 24, 2010

1363 : The myth of the olive branch

My sis was suggesting that olive oil is good for kids. That confirmed what I have always seen in baby stores – an aisle dedicated to olive oil of all brands and types.

Yes…No…not quite.

I decided to read up a bit.

Turns out that in the western world – they recommend olive oil for massaging (more on that later)  and for cooking. Their view is extra virgin oil is good since its healthier than the “commercial” canola cooking oil that they usually use.

Does this apply for us Indians? You get sunflower, karadi, palm, mustard, til, coconut and the (staple) groundnut oil in any supermarket.  Wicked irony?

Okay…lets not beat around. I shall rather share the summary of my readings. The best oil for both kids (and adults too) is:
1. Single (or first) cold pressed oil – any underlying will do – as long as you can bear the basic smell of the ingredient(say til). It helps though to know that coconut oil is good for under-nourished babies, mustard/til oil is great for colder regions (read Minnesota), sunflower is a new staple, and groundnut is the cheaper healthier option.
2. Try also getting it “cold filtered”.
3. Use oil for cooking which is usually no more than 1 year old (and that include the extra virgin olive oil – which in India is imported and is usually already 6-18 months old by the time it reaches us).
4. If you plan to fry/cook for long – use standard oil – because the cold pressed oils wont stand the test of high flames.
5. Lastly, the best fat for kids is homemade ghee. Period.
6. (What I have learnt in the past few months is – fat is the most important thing the baby requires in the mom’s womb and the first 3 years. It’s the one single essential item for the neuron connections. What will especially help if you can give the mother and the kid – DHA for the first 3 years at least). Will make a big difference to how much complexity is baked structurally into the kid’s brains. Neurons feed on DHA (it’s a simplistic view….but conveys the message I hope).

I should thank my sweetie sis, at least her input made me want to understand this space for myself.

Happy blubbering Smile

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