What is Canola Oil?
Canola oil is a type of oil that comes from pressed canola seeds also known as oil rapeseeds. Rapeseeds and canola seeds both belong to a crucifer family called Brassica, the large family of plants, which also includes turnip, mustard, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. This light yellow oil comes from pressed canola seeds and is rich in energy; it is said that 100 grams of canola oil provides 884
calories. However, its high ratio of mono-unsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids makes it one of the healthy oil for consumption.
It is said that canola oil is full of good healthy fats. It contains healthy ratios of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Canola oil is a stable type of cooking oil which has a very long shelf life. All these characteristics may canola oil one of the healthiest oils available. This type of oil has various health benefits comparable to that of olive oil. Canola oil is very low in saturated fats and contains linoleic (omega-6) and ?-linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids at 2:1 making it as one of the healthiest cooking oils at a ratio even better than olive oil. It also contains high amounts of plant sterols such as ?-sitosterol and campesterols. Foods such as canola oil which contain at least 0.4 gram per serving of plant sterols should be consumed twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 gram, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. The phytosterols in canola oil can competitively inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut and thereby can reduce cholesterol levels by 10% to 15%.
Canola oil also contains many calories that can provide more energy; these calories come from healthy fats. The oil contains a lot of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid which can help lower bad cholesterol or LDL and increase good cholesterol or HDL. Diets full of monounsaturated fatty acids can help prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by creating healthy blood lipid profile.
Canola oil also contains high amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin E, particularly gamma-tocopherol. It also contains tocopherol. Vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that can dissolve fats and can maintain the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin. This vitamin can protect the cells of the body from harmful free radicals.
Canola oil also contains very high amounts of plant sterols, especially ?-sitosterol. Phytosterols have the ability to cholesterol absorption in the gut and thereby can reduce cholesterol levels by 10% to 15%. This type of oil is ideal for deep-frying because it can be heated to a higher temperature (smoke point -450 °F), thus resulting to lower oil retention in fried foods. Canola oil can be used as cooking oil and as salad dressings, margarines, shortening, deep-frying, baking, spreads, and creamers.
Canola Oil and Type 2 Diabetes
New research from St. Michael’s Hospital has revealed that canola oil may be a top oil choice for people with type 2 diabetes. This study compared people with Type 2 diabetes who ate either a low glycemic index diet that included bread made with canola oil, or a whole wheat diet known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The results which were published in the journal Diabetes Care, found that those on the canola bread diet experienced both a reduction in blood glucose levels and a significant reduction in LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. The researchers also found out that canola bread can also lower elevated blood sugar levels and can guarantee better blood glucose control.
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