High in "good fats"
Fats are made up of smaller units called fatty acids. Canola oil is rich in two fatty acids that are essential in your diet because your body can't make them:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid. It protects against heart attacks and strokes by helping to lower bad cholesterol.
- Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential omega-6 fatty acid. It's important for the brain and for the growth and development of infants.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in canola oil is 2:1, which is nutritionally ideal. Both of these fatty acids are polyunsaturated.
Canola oil also contains very high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and help control blood glucose.
Canola's heart-health claims are backed up by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Lowest in "bad fats"
Compared to all other vegetable oils the market, canola oil has the lowest levels of the fats that are "bad" for human health:
- Saturated fats raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and have been linked to coronary heart disease. Canola oil has the lowest saturated fat level of all vegetable oils. Olive oil contains twice as much saturated fat as canola oil.
- Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol (HDL). While all processed oils contain very small levels of trans fatty acids, canola oil is defined as zero trans fat by government regulatory authorities in North America.
Transfats can be increased when vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated to make them more solid. Be wise: Choose canola oil and non-hydrogenated soft margarines instead of solid fats, such as partially-hydrogenated margarine, shortening, lard and butter. High-oleic canola provides additional opportunities to choose products that are free oftrans fat.
Canola is free of cholesterol - a soft, waxy substance present in all parts of your body. Too much LDL or "bad" cholesterol can clog arteries and increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
Good source of vitamin E
One serving of canola oil each day will deliver about a quarter of all the vitamin E you need. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your body's fats and proteins from free radical damage. It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and memory loss.