The Covid-19 pandemic brought the importance of healthy living to the forefront. People today are more conscious than ever of the food they eat to help them fight different diseases and viruses known and unknown in their environment.
Health experts are unanimous in stating that homemade healthy meals made of light-heart friendly oil prevail over fast food. It is therefore always advisable to cook something good in some gut-happy oil.
However, some people wonder which oil is healthier for them to cook food. Is it Canola oil or Olive oil?
Olive oil is known as liquid gold in the wellness world; its health halo is definite. Canola oil, on the other hand, is not usually given the same praise, and is cheaper and used in more foodstuffs. The most popular oils in the kitchen are canola oil and olive oil-but is the latter superior?
To crack the canola oil debate against olive oil in terms of being the most nutrient-rich, Gurpreet Singh, Managing Director, JIVO Wellness Pvt. Ltd. unpacks the health benefits of each oil, the optimal ways to use it both of them, and the decision on which one takes the crown.
First, let’s discuss canola oil, which appears to be the most confused about the two. “It is from Brassicaceae plant, which grows in Canada; this plant grows in areas where the temperatures are low such as Canada or some areas of Europe. It is a variety of rapeseed from which we take out mustard in India. There is only one difference between mustard and canola oil, mustard has 47% erucic acid. Canadians worked on it and through hybrid controlled the erucic acid in it; canola means Canadian Low Erucic Acid Oil. To be précised, mustard minus 47% erucic acid is Canola Oil.” says Singh.
“Vested interests are not promoting canola much, but it is the third most consumed oil in the world. In India mustard is number one; Canola is at number one or two in countries such as Canada, America, Japan, Australia, and Mexico,” he informs.
Mustard minus 47% Erucic acid is Canola Oil
“We brought it to India looking at the health need. Mustard is traditionally used in India and it is the best, but it has erucic acid. The Pusa Institute has made a variety of zero erucic acid mustard oil but they are not getting adequate support to promote it. So, we have to import it out of compulsion as we are importing 70%,” explains Singh.
Singh says that “It is the healthiest oil known to mankind. The new-age generation is very health conscious and avoids oily food because it has fat; canola is the only oil that has the least saturated fat of about 7 per cent. It has 93 per cent unsaturated fats such as Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. Unsaturated are mono and polyunsaturated fats; mono is Omega 9 and poly is Omega 3 & 6. The latest researches found out that most of the diseases in our body are because of an increased ratio of Omega 3 & 6. Heart diseases are because of Omega 3 & 6, it is good for the heart to have a low ratio of these unsaturated fats.”
He further says, “Heart specialists say that Canola is best for the heart. The brands promoting that their oils are best for the heart, all those oils are blends of rice bran.”
Canola oil vs. olive oil: which one is healthier?
Canola oil and olive oil are two of the most popular cooking oils worldwide. Olive oil is more common in almost all parts of the world as opposed to canola oil. This oil is obtained from the olive fruit, which is abundant in the Mediterranean region. They are both promoted as heart-healthy and share similar uses.
“Canola is better as even Olive has more saturated fat and does not have Omega 3 & 6. Canola is the lightest oil; you will feel hungry after some time even after having heavy food. Canola has less saturated fat compared to Olive oil,” says Singh.
“Canola’s molecular structure is good for arteries; it clears the arteries and keeps the heart-healthy. Canola oil will not solidify even when put in a refrigerator,” he adds.
According to Dr Anoop Misra, Director & HOD Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases, Fortis, New Delhi, “keeping your gut and heart-healthy is very important and therefore one must keep in mind that high-fat oils can raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the body and turn to increase the risk of heart diseases and a stroke.”
“When it comes to comparing the benefits of canola oil and olive oil, you need to consider certain aspects. Both these oils are mainly qualitatively safe. Compared to other oils, such as coconut oil or mustard oil, they both make healthier choices but the canola has the best mixture of good fats as compared to olive oil,” Dr Anoop further adds.