Why Choose Canola Oil – For the Health of it!

I was recently asked to provide an article for our grower newsletter that we send out to canola growers here in MB.  It made me ask myself  “if I was a grower what would I ask someone like me”?  At first, I thought about sharing updates on all of the fabulous programs and projects that we do on their behalf and then I stopped myself.  What I want to share with these growers is my passion, my heart, my reason for doing what I do.

I grew up in rural Manitoba.  Not on a farm but very much in contact with the agricultural world that surrounded my hometown of Portage la Prairie.  My grandparents lived on a farm, my father has worked is entire life in the agriculture industry and now I have spent my entire career connected to an industry that grows my soul.

I live in Winnipeg but every time I go back home, and its almost every week, I get a few miles out and a sense of calmness comes over me.  I know that rural MB lives in me.  I love peering out my car windows at the vast landscape and depending on the season seeing all the farm equipment and families on the land, living their passion and feeding our world.  It truly is magical.

I get to spend my days sharing with folks all over the province the passion of the canola industry.  The most frequently discussed topic is Why Choose Canola Oil?!?  There are numerous reasons why you should choose canola oil; from health to smoke point and functionality, to flavour, cost and of course it’s our local oil.  The list can go on and on.

In my debut article I chose to highlight – For the Health of It!

For the Health of It!
With the lowest amount of saturated fat (bad fat) of any leading oil in your supermarket it also contains a high amount of heart healthy monounsaturated fat and is high in omega-3 fatty acid making it an excellent choice for a healthy kitchen.  Check out the fat comparison chart below to see how canola oil shapes up when compared to other leading oils.

What does this all mean to me? Find it all confusing?  Well, it is.  Let me help you so that you can make the best choice for your health.

1. Low in Saturated Fat – We want to keep our saturated fat low.  Saturated fat has been linked to increased risk of heart disease by increasing your (bad) LDL cholesterol.  This is shown in by the red bar in the above chart.  As you can see, canola oil has only 7% saturated fat and is the lowest of all leading oils (even lower than olive oil).

2. High in Monounsaturated Fat – We want to have the monounsaturated fat be high.  Monounsaturated fat may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering (bad) LDL cholesterol and controlling blood sugar. This is the yellow bar in the above chart.  Canola oil is 61% monounsaturated fat and in the top 3 of the oils in the chart.

3. A good source of Omega-3 FatAlpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) must be consumed because the body cannot make it on its own. Omega-3 fat is anti-inflammatory and may help protect against heart attacks and strokes. The average person does not get enough omega-3 in their diet and we should be looking to include this whenever possible from natural food sources.  Canola oil can help you do this.  Canola oil is second only to Flax oil as shown by the orange bar in the chart.  Canola oil is 11% omega-3.

4. A source of omega-6 Fat – Linoleic acid (omega-6) is also essential in the diet because the body cannot produce it. Omega-6 fat is essential for human growth and development as well as for skin health. This is represented by the blue bar in the chart above.  Canola oil is 21% omega-6 fat.

5. Free of trans fat and cholesterol Trans fat increases the risk of heart disease in two ways: it raises “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowers “good” HDL cholesterol.  Canola oil is naturally cholesterol free because it comes from a plant.

For me, canola oil is a well balanced, cost effective choice.  It is versatile and in my home it is our only oil.  I bake and cook exclusivley with canola oil.  So far, there isn’t a task it can’t do…ok, there’s one, my Grandma’s whipped shortbread but I haven’t given up on that yet either.  That’s for another post!

We all have one thing in common, we want to feel great!  When we feel great we make better food and lifestyle choices.  Remember, not all fats are created equally! The type of fat matters as much as the amount.  Next time you are standing in that ominous oil aisle at the grocery store what will you choose?!? I know I’ve made my choice!

Be Well…Jenn

Above health information is from “Canola Oil. Good for Every Body!” This downloadable resource is available at www.canolainfo.org, Downloads and Resources.

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