*Canola oil is a type of edible oil initially developed in Canada from a genetically modified variant of rapeseed plant.
*The word "canola" stands for "Canadian oil, low acid".
*The oil is also known as "LEAR" oil (for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed).
*Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, about 30-60%, which is toxic when consumed in large amounts. Erucic acid is implicated in cancer and rancidity. Glucosinolates are the other compounds that are present in rapeseed oil that are goitrogenic.
*Canola oil contains only 0.3-1% of erucic acid, which is well below the 2% limit set by the USDA.
*As canola oil has a low amount of saturated fatty acids and a very high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, about 60%, and omega-3 fatty acids, it is a healthy and safe choice of cooking oils.
*However, there is still controversy over the health benefits of canola oil due to its roots in rapeseed plant. Some people claim that it causes mad cow disease, blindness, nervous disorders, clumping of blood cells and depression of the immune system. The “undesirable effects” of canola oil are due to the imbalance of dietary fatty acids and not due to the canola oil itself, and can be mitigated by adding saturated fats to the diet.
*Canola oil is best used for moderate to low heat cooking and not deep frying or high temperature cooking.
*As with everything else, moderation is the key.
*With oils, it is always best to mix and use different types of oils to get a healthy balance of dietary fatty acids rather than using a single type of oil which has only one particular type of fatty acids, causing an imbalance of dietary fatty acids.
*Canola oil can become rancid quickly due to the high amount of PUFA. Buy in small quantities as required and store in a cool, dark place away from light and heat.
Is it raw?
No. Canola oil is heat processed and refined. Make sure you read the label.
1. Canola oil has very low to no saturated fatty acids and a very high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, about 60%, and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it is a very heart healthy oil.
2. Helps lower the LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol in the blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease and cancers.
3. Has the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, which are the precursors of prostaglandins, the hormone like substances that have a variety of functions in the human body like contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles, contraction and dilation of the blood vessels, reducing pain and inflammation etc.
4. Alpha-linolenic acid, being an omega-3 fatty acid promotes a healthy heart, reduces hypertension, reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancers, acts as a blood thinner and prevents the formation of clots and improves depression.
5. Rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to remove the harmful free radicals from the body and maintains the integrity of cell membrane.
6. Good source of phytosterols, the plant compounds which act as antioxidants along with vitamin E in fighting against free radicals.