Indian cooking is incomplete without the use of mustard oil, most of the Indian household use mustard as the primary medium of cooking. Mustard oil also known as Sarso ka tel is extracted from the mustard seeds. It can be used in cooking as well can be applied locally on skin and hair as it has beauty benefits also.
Mustard oil should be heated to the smoking point before being used in stir frying or frying. It is known to contain healthy fats that do not accumulate in the blood vessels and is also a source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and decreases the cholesterol level. Mustard oil has an antimicrobial ingredient that provides protection from infections. The oil is also low in saturated fats in comparison with other cooking oils. It is also rich in antioxidants and has cholesterol-reducing properties.
Generally, mustard oil is regarded as healthy oil but it also contains considerable amounts of erucic acid which can be tied to health risks such as accumulation of triglycerides in the heart, development of fibrotic lesions of the heart, anaemia and lung cancer. It is also known to cause skin eruptions and Rhinitis.
Refined oils have much more harmful effects on the health than mustard oil. As it is chemically treated this makes the oil harmful. The process of refining involves nickel which has harmful effects on the skin, the respiratory system and liver. Preservatives and sodium hydroxide are also added during the processing which is harmful to the digestive system. The problem with reheating oil is that it can create free radicals which cause diseases. These free radicals can cause cancer and also atherosclerosis.
It is recommended to consume moderate amounts of mustard oil to stay healthy.