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Canola is a vivid, yellow-flowering plant belonging to the family of Brassicaceae. Three separate species are included in this family: Brassica napus, B. Viola, and B. Yeah, Juncea.

Canola has been one of the world’s most popular oilseed crops over the past 40 years. Today, after palm and soybean oil, canola oil is the third largest vegetable oil by amount.

The use of canola oil in the meal has increased in the US and Canada for the past few decades.

History of Organic Canola Oil

A distant younger cousin of the rapeseed plant is the canola plant. In the latter half of the 20th century, the rapeseed plant was originally grown to make a meal for cows. Naturally, rapeseed plants had mid to high levels of eurcic acid, a part of each fat molecule. This eurcic acid can be readily swallowed by a ruminant cow in its 4 stomachs. However, humans cannot digest it.

Do you find yourself thinking of erucic acid because of the word “acid” as a negative thing? Many different kinds of fatty acids come with all the oils. Another name for safe monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and avocados is oleic acid.

Oil made from canola

In the ’70s, scientists and farmers worked to grow a similar plant for people to use and consume. It had much lower levels of erucic acid. This new plant with low erucic acid is known as canola oil. The acronym Canadian Oil Low Acid comes from the current name. Therefore the name: CAN-O-L-A.

The initial canola seeds that were commonly raised before genetic engineering were used in organic canola oil. These plants are not genetically engineered. Therefore, it enables their butterfly seal to be applied to this oil by the 3rd party inspector, The Non-GMO Project Verification.

Solvents like hexane are not organic and are not approved for use in the manufacture of organic oil.

Therefore, this oil is expeller pressed by physically squeezing the oil out of the seed. This avoids the use of chemical solvents to produce this oil.

Lastly, this oil does still undergo an organic version of the refining process. It is similar to the above, typically a high heat process. This makes the oil both light in color and flavor.

Nutrition Facts of Organic Canola Oil

One tablespoon (15 ml) of canola oil delivers

Calories124
Vitamin E12% of RDI
Vitamin K12% of RDI

Here is the fatty acid breakdown of canola oil:

  • Saturated fat: 7%
  • Monounsaturated fat: 64%
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 28%

21% linoleic acid, more commonly known as omega-6 fatty acid, and 11% alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid derived from plant sources, are the polyunsaturated fats in canola oil.

Bursting Myths

There is a lot of misinformation out there about canola oil. Part of the problem is that people have with canola just relate to some of the current canola oil. Many other oils that people don’t speak about as often still have the same concerns.

To understand the whole story you have to know when the statements about canola oil are true and when they are misleading.

Let’s discuss some misconceptions and truths about organic canola oil. Let’s see how they contribute to their traditional GMO vs. organic counterparts. 

Myth

Canola oil cannot be organic.

Fact

This is not real. It is one of the main common misunderstandings. Canola seeds lead to organic canola oil formation.

Farmers needed higher yields and took these seeds and engineered them genetically to make RoundUp resistant to them. Nearly all canola in the US soon became genetically modified (up to 96 percent).

There were still, however, those original seeds floating around that were developed back in the 1970s through conventional breeding. They were never touched by genetic modification. These seeds have been the key seeds used today for the production of organic canola oil.

canola
Different forms of Canola Oil

Organic and Non-GMO Canola Oils also use the original seeds from the 70s. However, traditional canola uses the newer genetically engineered versions.

Myth

Canola oil is made with hexane. It is a chemical solvent.

Fact

Conventional canola oil is the most prevalent type of canola oil. This helps in frying in restaurants, universities, and hotels across the world.

The truth is that canola seeds of any kind (GMO or non-GMO) could theoretically be expelled by solvent. The type of seeds used has nothing to do with how the seeds remove the oil. In reality, however, nearly all conventional canola oil still uses solvent expulsion because it is the cheapest option.

On the other hand, organic canola oil is made by the pressing of expellers. The oil does NOT use a solvent extraction process to be certified organic. It does not satisfy the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).

This ensures that any organic canola oil you get does not use a chemical to remove the oil, such as hexane.

Benefits of Organic Canola Oil

Canola oil is very rich in healthy unsaturated fats. Canola oil has the highest omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content of the oils commonly consumed. Including ALA in your diet is incredibly important, since your body can not do it. Studies have shown that ALA can help protect the heart through its effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation.

Consumption of canola oil can also lead to weight loss and reduce the risk of heart and other diseases.

The mild flavor of canola oil, considered to have a light texture and a neutral flavor, does not overshadow the taste of other ingredients. This makes it a perfect choice for both sautéing and baking.

Research indicates that those who have eaten canola oil for four weeks daily have decreased their belly fat by 1.6%. Canola oil also helps minimize joint stiffness and inflammation.

canola oil
Canola Oil

Besides cooking, canola oil has uses externally. Just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the canola oil and apply it as a body oil. This will help moisturize the skin and nourish it. Canola oil has 7 percent saturated fat. This helps minimize levels of cholesterol.

It is rich in E and K vitamins. It decreases skin disorders and symptoms of aging, such as acne, fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and spots.

In contrast with diets containing higher levels of saturated fatty acids, Canola oil-based diets have lowered plasma cholesterol levels. Canola oil consumption also influences biological functions which affect various other disease risk biomarkers.

Is Organic Canola Oil Bad for you?

It’s a topic that nutritionists and food producers have discussed for decades. The debate dates back to the 1970s, when rapeseed oil became a substitute. It had harmful effects.

Conclusion

Canola oil is a seed oil for cooking and food processing.

In the canola oil study, there are several contradictory and inconsistent results. It leads to better health in some studies. However, many say it induces inflammation and affects the memory and heart.

It may be best to use oils that have been proven safe, such as extra virgin olive oil.

Common Questions

Is organic canola oil good for you?

Canola oil is a safe and healthy source of fat. It decreases blood LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

What is healthier canola or vegetable oil?

Plant based fats are healthier for heart than animal fats. Canola oil is a healthier choice. It’s saturated fat is lower than vegetable oil.

Is canola oil healthier than olive oil?

As it contains many disease-fighting antioxidants, olive oil is healthier than canola and good for your core.

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