Choosing between olive oil and canola oil can be perplexing, with health-conscious individuals debating the superiority of each. Some staunchly support olive oil, while others lean towards canola oil. Upon closer examination, the similarities and differences between these oils become evident. To make an informed choice, it’s crucial to understand these distinctions. Therefore, we’ve created a comparative guide to help you determine which is better: olive or canola.
Before jumping into the differences between olive oil and canola oil and concluding about which is healthier, let us know more about them.
Also Read – Expert Review: Figaro Olive Oil
About Olive Oil
Olive oil has gained higher popularity around the world than canola oil. It is a liquid fat derived from cold-pressed whole olives, the fruits of a typical Mediterranean plant, Olea Europaea. Though the composition of the golden-colored oil varies widely, it is typically very high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), especially oleic acid (83%). In addition, it contains other fatty acids in tiny amounts, such as linoleic acid (21%), palmitic acid (20%), etc. There are different types of olive oil, including virgin olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, extra light olive oil, etc. It is primarily used in cooking, soap, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
About Canola Oil
Canola oil is a vegetable oil processed from ‘canola’ at very high temperatures. Canola is the cumulative name for the seeds of certain plants from the Brassicaceae family (mostly Brassica napus, Brassica rapa, or Brassica juncea) with less than 2% erucic acid in them. The oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fatty acids. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids in a large amount. While you can use canola oil for cooking and baking, it is also widely used as a source of biodiesel.
Earlier versions of canola oil were produced from rapeseeds and loaded with toxic erucic acid, which used to cause fibrous lesions of heart. But today’s canola oil is different from regular rapeseed oil and it does not come with any toxic effect.
Olive Oil Vs. Canola Oil – The Comparison
Olive oil generally boasts a lovely golden hue, ranging from light yellow to dark green, influenced by factors like refining processes, olive varieties, and batches. Increased refinement tends to result in less color variation. The color indicates the olive types, ripeness, and harvesting time rather than the oil’s quality. In contrast, canola oil has a very light shade of yellow due to its refined nature, exhibiting a clear and consistent color.
2. Flavor And Aroma
Extra virgin olive oil has a great taste profile due to its fantastic flavor and aroma of fresh olives. However, olive oils become less aromatic and flavorful as they refine, making their taste profiles less reliable. On the other hand, Canola oil is a very mild oil with no significant flavor or aroma. Hence, its taste is also almost invisible.
Olive oil is a less-industrialized oil with various grades and many features. This premium nature makes it a more expensive choice than the premium and non-GMO versions of canola oil.
4. Health Benefits
Both olive oil and canola oil are qualitatively safe and healthy. But widely known health attributes of olive oil make it an option well-liked by fitness enthusiasts. The excellent or monounsaturated fats present are almost three times higher than canola oil. Being low in cholesterol, olive oil also helps increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in our body and reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL). However, saturated or bad fats are slightly higher than canola oil (only 6%).
On the other hand, canola oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, making it an excellent choice for our heart. In addition, the monounsaturated fat content in this oil is also much higher than olive oil. Therefore, it is effective in lowering our blood cholesterol too.
The Myth Vs. The Truth
Since canola oil made its mark in the late 1960s, it has been termed ‘toxic’ and ‘bad for health.’ It was believed to be a GMO (genetically modified organism) crop and, hence, quite detrimental to health. However, the truth is that canola oil is processed using a unique hybrid propagation technique. Therefore, it is not genetically modified as believed for long.
The widespread belief that canola oil is often used as an industrial lubricant also mars its reputation as a beneficial product. The truth is that several other vegetable oils, such as soybean, corn, and flaxseed, are also used to make products like detergents, soaps, and paints, owing to their inherent properties. This makes them no less beneficial.
The popular belief about olive oil is that it is a complete (and healthy) substitute for saturated fats like butter. However, healthcare experts warn that this is untrue!
Also Read – Review Alert: Satthwa Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo
Which Is a Healthier Alternative?
So, which is the healthier alternative – olive oil or canola oil? The fact is that olive oil has always been accorded a ‘prestigious’ status amongst edible oils, while the health benefits of other oils, such as canola oil, have been mainly ignored. However, recent studies prove that olive oil must be consumed in small proportions. Likewise, the ill effects of canola oil are also not entirely true.
The debate about canola and olive oil is old and unlikely to be resolved soon. So, as an informed consumer, which oil would you opt for?
Choosing between olive oil and canola oil can be challenging for health-conscious individuals. While olive oil is praised for its rich taste and various grades, canola oil is valued for its mildness and omega-3 fatty acids. The debate over which is healthier persists, with recent studies suggesting moderation in consumption for both oils. Olive oil’s high monounsaturated fats and canola oil’s omega-3 content make them suitable for heart health. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on individual preferences and health considerations.