Canola oil is primarily used for cooking due to its low level of saturated fat content. The oil boasts of having an extremely low amount of saturated fat at seven per cent and a good amount of monounsaturated fat (fats that are good fats which help reduce bad cholesterol in the body) at 63 per cent.
Although canola oil is a vegetable oil derived from the canola plant, canola seed processing involves synthetic chemicals that help extract the oil. In addition, canola oil is made into margarine through hydrogenation. This process creates artificial Trans fats which differ from natural Trans fats found in foods like dairy and meat products. Artificial Trans fats are harmful to health and have been linked to heart disease. Although canola oil is a seed oil widely used in cooking and food processing. However, some studies link it to improved health but many suggest it causes harmful effects on memory and health.
Harmful effects of canola oil on health
Canola oil is not a good source of nutrients except vitamins E and K. The oil may contain Trans fats which are harmful to health.
Canola oil contains a high amount of omega-6 fats. Though omega-6 fats are required by our body, there should be a balance between the ratio of omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats. The oil is extremely high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s causing an imbalance that leads to increased inflammation and chronic conditions, such as obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
The production of this oil involves high heating and exposure to chemicals. Also, the oil goes through various harmful processes like bleaching, deodorising etc – all that involves chemical treatment which leads to the destruction of antioxidants contained in unrefined oil like extra virgin olive oil.
Several animals studies link canola oil to harmful effects on memory. It also increases body weight substantially.
There are many heat-tolerant alternative oil options to replace canola oil. They include coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil. These oils can be used for cooking while flaxseed oil, walnut oil and hemp seed oil can be used for salad dressing and in other recipes that do not involve heating. Decide wisely which oil is good for your health and which is not.