‘Cooking’ and ‘oil’ go hand in hand. Derived from the flora kingdom of nature, oils play a key role in enhancing the moisture and flavor of our cooked food. There are a wide variety of oils and all of them contain fats in different amounts. Hence, it is essential to know about the types of fats your cooking oil comprise in order to make your diet a healthy one. Canola oil and vegetable oil are two such cooking options that often confuse us with their almost similar nutritional and health attributes. If you are also trying to figure out which one is good for your health – canola oil or vegetable oil, we have got you covered.
How Does Cooking Oil Impact Your Health?
The health quotient of your cooking oil entirely depends on the types of fats it comprises. There are, essentially, two types of fat – good and bad. Surprised? Yes, that’s true. Good fats are known to lower your LDL or bad cholesterol levels while boosting your HDL or good cholesterol levels. A healthy cooking oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are the ‘good fats’ effective in reducing cardiovascular mortality. When your cooking oil is high in bad fats, it increases the levels of LDL and decreases the levels of HDL in your body. These fats also add to the negative health impacts of the oils as well as interfere with the benefits offered by omega-3 fatty acids.
What Is Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable Oil is a generic oil containing pure triglycerides obtained from plants. It is basically a blend of a variety of oils with an absolutely neutral favor and different fat ratios (monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, etc.). There are various types of vegetable oils used for cooking, industrial, and medicinal purposes. Coconut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, corn oil, cashew oil, walnut oil, etc. are just to name a few. Being an inexpensive choice, most people use vegetable oils in all kinds of cooking every day. However, you are always less likely to have an idea about what exactly is included in your oil (types of plant, ways of extraction, methods of processing, etc.). As a result, you have no control over the types of fats you are consuming.
What Is Canola Oil?
Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil, which is extracted from ‘canola’ or rapeseeds containing less than 2% of erucic acid. It is essentially crossbred or produced from genetically modified (GMO) plants, which often contribute to its bad reputation. While GMOs themselves are not unhealthy, it is the chemicals sprayed on them that cause harm to us. However, canola oil is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats. This helps us take a good control over our fat consumption. It has a neutral taste and can be heated to a number of temperatures, which is also favorable to cooking.
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Which Is Healthier: Canola Oil Or Vegetable Oil?
Both canola oil and vegetable oil look and feel similar to each other. Their taste and usage are also alike. But there are certain nutritional and health differences that make one of them a bit better than the other.
Most vegetable oils are combinations of unspecified components extracted from plants by chemical processes. This definitely poses you at risk of serious health complications. It has been found that corn oil, one of the most used vegetable oils, is quite high in omega-6 fatty acids. Excessive and prolonged intake of this may result in heart ailments. But, at the same time, vegetable oil can speed up metabolism and lower the risk of breast cancer. In short, moderation is key when it comes to cooking with vegetable oil daily.
Canola oil, on the other hand, is considered to be a much healthier option due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats in its constitution. These components have been scientifically proved to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. In fact, canola oil comes third in line among heart-healthy oils right after olive oil and sunflower oil. Though canola oil also contains omega-6 fatty acids, the proportion is quite low compared to vegetable oils. It is low in unhealthy saturated fats too. However, it is advised that you consume canola oil in moderation too.
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Neither canola oil nor vegetable oil is extremely good for your health. None of them is incredibly harmful to you too. But when it comes to choosing a healthy cooking oil, varieties that come loaded with monounsaturated an polyunsaturated fats with lower levels of saturated fats are always the best.
Therefore, a great way to keep your diet healthy is to substitute vegetable oil with canola oil. It is a health-healthy oil with a better composition of fat. This can keep you away from a number of heart diseases, which is essential to stay fit in the long run. Replace margarine and butter in your recipes with a dash of canola oil, use it in salad dressings or marinades, and consider it as the perfect grease for non-stick baking. This way, you can cut down your saturated fat intake significantly and incorporate healthy fats in your diet.
However, if you are using your cooking oil for frying food ingredients, make sure that you use vegetable oil. Exposure to prolonged heat often damage the beneficial fatty acids in canola oil. This affects the safety of the oil and makes it unhealthy for you. In such situations, using vegetable oil is a wise choice, indeed.
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Did You Know?
Cooking oils go rancid if not stored the right way in the right place. Exposure to oxygen breaks down the peroxides in oils, which leads to an awkward smell and a bad taste as well. This also generates more free radicals over time, thereby damaging cells and causing cancer. Hence, you should wrap your cooking oil bottles in aluminum foils and store them in a cool, dry place.
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