Eating Healthy: Olive Oil Is A Better Choice Than Canola Oil

Yes, olive oil is more expensive than canola oil, but once you understand how canola oil is manufactured, you may be willing to pay extra for the olive variety.

Although both types of oil contain "good" monounsaturated fats, it does not follow that canola is a healthy alternative to olive oil.

Olive Oil's Short Story

Olive oil has been made essentially the same way for centuries. Olives are grown, harvested, pressed and their oil is bottled. There are different grades of olive oil, but this is the basic process. Pure, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil is usually recommended as the best choice.

The Saga of Canola Oil

Canola oil is not derived from a naturally occurring plant. It is taken from a genetically altered rapeseed plant, part of the mustard plant family. This genetic engineering was done originally in Canada and is how Canola oil got its name: “Can” from Canada, and “ola” referring to oil.

The genetically modified rapeseed is subjected to a combination of mechanical pressing at high temperatures, and extraction using chemical solvents such as hexane. Although the oil goes through a refining process, traces of hexane can remain in the oil.

Following extraction and refining, again using high temperatures, the oil is deodorized, bleached and degummed. Processing with extreme temperatures may modify the oil’s omega-3 properties and increase its trans fat content. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow canola oil to be used in infant formulas.

The type of oil you purchase is naturally up to you. Not everyone is put off by genetically modified foods or heavy food processing. However, if this does bother you, a good brand of olive oil is the way to go.

Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil:

  • Is naturally free of trans fats, cholesterol, salt, gluten and sugar.
  • Is rich in monounsaturated fat - the good kind.
  • Protects against heart disease.
  • Promotes healthy aging.
  • Aids proper digestion.
  • Is a good energy source.
  • Has linoleic and alpha-linolenic essential fatty acids.
  • Is a carrier of vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Tasty Tip:

Pour some extra virgin olive oil into an empty margarine container or small dish, cover, and put in the refrigerator. When it becomes cold, and thick you can use it as a good-for-your-heart spread.

Source: Natural News

Photo by Giancarlo Dessi of extraction disk used in traditional olive oil extraction.

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