Canola Oil Facts, Interesting and Delicious Information About Food:

Canola is a a low-acid cultivar of rapeseed. As a term "canola" may refer to both an edible oil (also known as canola oil) produced from the seed of any of several varieties of the Brassicaceae family of plants, and to those plants, namely a cultivar of Brassica napus L., Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera, syn. B. campestris L. or Brassica juncea. To be called canola, it must contain less than 2% erucic acid and less than 30 micromoles glucosinolates.

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Health benefits of canola oil Canola oil possesses unique health benefits than many other vegetable-oils and fast emerging as one of the healthiest oils in tandem with olive oil.

Like olive oil, canola also has very low saturated fats. It contains linoleic (omega-6) and a-linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids at 2:1 ratio, marking it as one of the healthiest cooking oils.

It has highest levels of plant sterols, especially B-sitosterol and campesterols. The US FDA has approved the following claim for phytosterols: "Foods containing at least 0.4 gram per serving of plant sterols, eaten 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, may reduce the risk of heart disease." Phyto-sterols competitively inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut and thereby can reduce cholesterol levels by 10% to 15%.

Canola oil is high in calories. However, its high-calorie content comes from better fats. It is especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid (18:1) which constitutes about 61% of total fats. MUFA helps in lowering LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increase HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.

It contains valuable amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin E, particularly gamma-tocopherol. 100 g fresh oil has 27.34 μg of a-tocopherol and 17.46 μg of alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Being a vegetable source, it has very high levels of plant sterols, especially -sito terol. The FDA has observed the following claim for phytosterols: "Foods containing at least 0.4 gram per serving of plant sterols, eaten 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, may reduce the risk of heart disease." Phyto-sterols competitively inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut and thereby can reduce cholesterol levels by 10% to 15%.

Canola oil has the highest smoke point oil is also an ideal choice for deep frying because it can be heated to a higher temperature (smoke point -450 F). This results in lower oil retention in the fried foods.