I’ve always sworn by olive oil. I typically utilize it several times a day, drizzling it on nearly every vegetable I steam and using it on pretty much anything that gets put on my stovetop. Numerous studies help to back me up as I publicly declare my love of olive oil, finding that with its high levels of monounsaturated fat (the good kind), olive oil has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and various kinds of cancer. And who can’t avoid the hype this popular fat has gotten from those promoting the Mediterranean diet, one that if followed properly has time and time again shown to help keep people on the slimmer side.
While I love the deep, robust flavor of olive oil and the health benefits in which it’s able to boast, there is another oil that may even shine above olive oil when it comes to health. Welcome to the world of Canola Oil.
Like olive oil, canola oil possesses a high level of monounsaturated fats, which as we said before are the “good” fats. However, eclipsing olive oil’s health status, canola oil contains less than half the amount of saturated fat, the “bad guy” fat, that olive oil contains. Looking at the numbers, just 7% of the fat in canola oil comes from saturated fat as compared to 15% in olive oil. This is particularly of interest for those who are battling high cholesterol, which can eventually lead to coronary heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fat is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol.
Canola oil is also a rich source of essential fatty acids, the kind needed to be obtained through the diet since the human body can’t produce them on its own. Canola oil constitutes as an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids and contains the highest amount of omega-3 ALA than any other commonly used oil. That means more omega-3’s than olive oil can claim. Omega-3’s reduce inflammation and are important for brain functioning. Research has shown that they may also help to lower the risk of arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
While canola oil ranks slightly above olive oil, both oils contain a significant percentage of the good kind of fats and make excellent choices in terms of fat. Canola oil has a rather mild flavor, which lends itself to all types of cooking and works especially well in baking. When dressing food, I think I’ll probably still stick to olive oil, purely because I love it’s robust flavor. By using extra virgin olive oil, the variety that’s least processed and comes from the first pressing of the olives, you can actually cut back on the amount of oil you use because of its strong flavor. So in some cases, this might make olive oil a better choice. However, bottom line, don’t think olive oil is the one and only star in the fat kingdom…canola oil is certainly worthy of its own thrown.