27 June 2021: #HealthBytes: Here's everything you should know about canola oil
Canola is an oilseed crop that is created with the help of crossbreeding. The oil, which is extracted by crushing the seeds, is a vegetable-based oil commonly used all over the world. The crops are, in most cases, genetically modified to improve oil quality and make the plant resistant to herbicides. This article covers the potential benefits and downsides of using canola oil.
Fat: It contains just about 7% of saturated fat
Canola oil is deemed to be one of the healthiest oils because of its low amount of saturated fat at 7%. It is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which is obtained from foods and can not be synthesized by the body. These factors make this oil a good option, especially for vegans and those who follow a plant-based diet.
Nutrients: Highly refined oils will have lesser nutrients
The production of canola oil involves several rounds of refining that require high heat and exposure of the seeds to chemicals. The canola grains also undergo bleaching and deodorizing, both of which involve chemical treatment. The chemical treatment by itself can be harmful. Further, refining also decreases the levels of nutrients like essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins in the oil.
Inflammation: Canola oil may cause inflammation; other potential risks
Studies conducted on animals link canola oil to an increase in inflammatory markers and oxidative stress. A study conducted on rats also ascertained that those that consumed a diet of 10% canola oil experienced a significant decrease in antioxidants and an increase in the bad, LDL cholesterol levels. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart diseases and cancer, and hence, it should be taken seriously.
Brain function: It may not be great for memory, brain functioning
In a study conducted on 180 participants over a period of the year, one group was assigned diets that included refined oils, including canola oil. The other participants were assigned diets that used 20-30ml extra virgin olive oil every day. At the end of the study, it was noted that the group which had virgin olive oil experienced improved brain functioning than the others.
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