Healthy oils are part of everyone’s diet and cooking. All of us use different oils to make our recipes and meals. But do you know which oil is good for you? Is canola oil the same as vegetable oil?
Most of us use canola oil and vegetable oil because apparently, they look the same. But when it comes to nutritional value, both are different in their composition. Before purchasing any oil, keep a few things in mind, like its smoking temperature, flavor, and fat content.
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy oil must regulate healthy body weight and heart health.
Canola is widely accepted as a healthy oil. It has a neutral taste and can be heated to a variety of temperatures. Its fat content is also low – making it the right choice by health-conscious people. Saturated fats raise the blood cholesterol level.
On the other hand, unsaturated fats are considered safe for heart health. These fats also maintain a healthy cholesterol level in the body. Canola oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
It is not extracted from a natural plant source. That is the major drawback of canola oil. It is obtained from genetically modified plants. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are not necessarily harmful – the problem is with the chemicals that are sprayed in these plants. The long-term use of these chemicals may harm humans.
However, a lot of research is required to confirm the harmful impacts of GMOs.
Just like canola oil, the taste of vegetable oil is neutral. It is a mixture of different types of oil. It is also extensively used for cooking. Vegetable oil is inexpensive and easily available.
The problem here is with the origin and preparation of oil. You are less likely to know how your oil is prepared and which type of oil is used. The fat content of vegetable oil is also unknown. You do not know the composition, so you cannot tell the exact ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats.
What is the best way to store oil?
Cooking oil must be used and stored properly to prevent it from going rancid. When cooking oil is exposed to air, oxygen immediately reacts with it. It causes the breakdown of peroxides. It results in deteriorating the taste and smell of oil.
Gradually oxygen results in the formation of free radicals. These free radicals are linked with cell damage and cause cancer. It is therefore important to store and use the cooking oil properly.
Cooking oil must be placed away from sunlight and heat sources. Keep the bottles or glass jars of cooking oil away from the windows and stoves. These jars must be covered with aluminum foil or another material to protect them from sunlight.
If you are using some kind of flavored oil containing herbs, spices, or vegetables, then make sure to refrigerate them after opening. These oils must be consumed within 4-5 days of opening, as these oils are more prone to bacterial growth.
If you use large bottles of oils – make sure to use small bottles to transfer a small portion of them. The remaining oil must be kept in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and taste.
Canola oil vs. vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is a collective term used for all plant-based oils. Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant. Oils can be made from soybeans, canola, avocado, coconut, corn, sunflower, and safflower.
Combinations of all these oils are also made and sold as vegetable oil. So if you are comparing canola oil vs. vegetable oil, you are comparing canola oil with a blend of different vegetable oils.
Canola oil contains no to a very little amount of saturated fats – while the amount of saturated fats in vegetable oil is unconfirmed due to its blending.
Generally speaking, canola is a healthier option than vegetable oil as you do not know the exact combinations of oil and fat contents in vegetable oil.
But also keep in mind canola oil comes from genetically modified plants (usually sprayed with chemicals), so their safety is also questionable.