Canola Oil is a unique oil that was developed from breeding the rapeseed plant. It is an incredible innovation that shows what modern science can create using ancient plant knowledge. The combination of traditional plants with modern science has had incredible benefits for humankind. If you haven’t used it before it’s a great product to give a chance.
In this article, you will learn about the history of the plant and oil, as well as how the oil is used today. There are a range of industrial and domestic uses for the oil and its health benefits could transform your life if you take the plunge.
Origins of Canola Oil
Canola Oil was developed through breeding the oily rapeseed plant. In ancient times rapeseed plants were already being commonly used for fuel because the oil they produced made them very good for burning. Although most people are not familiar with rapeseed plants, they are related to turnips, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, mustard, and many other vegetables that are probably already a regular part of your diet.
The original rapeseed oil plants were some of the very first domesticated plants. There were used in India 4,000 years ago and in China and Japan starting 2,000 years ago. Ancient people were very aware of its presence and the important role in played in their lives. By using modern canola oil you will simply be carrying on a long tradition that dates back to the beginning of civilizations.
For thousands of years it was used, but only for a few specific purposes. This all changed when steam engines were developed. Industrialists discovered that rapeseed oil did not separate from water, which made it perfect for steam washing metal surfaces. This would change the fate of the plant forever and lead to the development of the healthy and beneficial oil that you can use today.
Most rapeseed oil was produced in Asia and Europe, where the plant had originated from. It had to be imported to North America. When World War I started there was a blockade that prevented all but a small amount of rapeseed oil from reaching Canada and the United States. This would have been a problem regardless, but with Canada and the United States entering the war there was a greater demand for the oil than ever before.
Canada began to expand its rapeseed production for the very first time and many Canadian farmers began planting it. When the war ended and demand fell again farmers were desperate to find another use for all their plants. Rapeseed oil itself cannot be used in cooking or as a nutritional supplement, but researchers knew how old and special the plant was and wanted to find another use for it.
Eventually they developed canola from rapeseed in the early 1970s. Over time genetic engineering has transformed this plant into what it is today, something that people can eat and use for a variety of purposes. One of the best parts of being able to genetically engineer a plant so that it has multiple purposes for people is that it can survive droughts and is resistant to most plant related diseases. This is an extremely strong plant that you will always be able to rely on. It’s a wonderful mix of both ancient and modern.
How is Canola Oil Made
Today canola plants are grown around the world, with the majority of it produced in Europe and Canada. It grows three to five feet tall and produces small, yellow flowers. Fields of canola oil can be beautiful to the eye and help improve scenic country farm plots. It is fitting that such a healthy oil would come from such a pretty flower.
The oil is produced from heating and then crushing the seeds. The seed is about 45% oil and after it is crushed from the seed the shell is reused as animal feed. This ensures that there is very little waste from the production and even the waste from production goes back to benefiting farmers and ranchers.
Canola oil is currently used as an oil in many common foods and it is one of the most in demand oils today. If you aren’t already using it you are missing out on this awesome product! The following sections will detail the culinary, domestic, and industrial uses of the oil and its overall health benefits.
Culinary Uses of Canola Oil
Many oils that people used to use in cooking were not very healthy. Canola oil changed all of that and today it is one of the healthiest cooking oils on the planet. It is so amazing that it has actually become the standard recommend oil for cooking. If you haven’t used it yet you should give it a try.
Why should you be using Canola Oil in your cooking? Here are the facts:
- Canola oil has very little saturated fat, the smallest amount of any cooking oil! Saturated fat can be very bad for your health. If you are commonly using other oils in your cooking you are likely consuming far too much saturated fat. A report by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim that only 1 ½ teaspoons of canola oil every day can help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when it is used in place of saturated fat.
- Canola oil is high in monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is a beneficial type of fat that can actually help to lower your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and also helps to control your blood sugar.
- Canola oil is high in omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, and actually has the highest amount of omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid compared with all other cooking oils. This can help reduced inflammation and can even improve the health of your heart! Just one serving of canola oil will give an adult 81 percent of the daily recommended intake of omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. This is amazing, especially because a person’s body cannot make this fatty acid. Take advantage of canola oil and improve your fatty acid intake!
- Canola oil is high in omega 6 fatty acid linoleic acid. This is an essential substance that is important for the brain and for the growth and development of infants.
- Canola oil has NO trans fat or cholesterol. You have heard of all the studies showing the dangerous of trans fats. Here is something to cook work that is entirely free of trans fats and will help protect your health from such a dangerous substance. Unlike saturated fat, trans fats lowered your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and increase your ‘bad’’ HDL cholesterol. It can also increase your rise of developing heart disease.
- Canola oil is an excellent source of Vitamin E and only one serving of canola oil will give you 16% of the recommend daily intake of vitamin E for an adult. This vitamin is critical as an antioxidant that can help to protect your body’s fats and proteins from the damage of cancer causing free radicals. It make also be linked to a reduction in heart disease. Many adults do not consume enough Vitamin E, this is a simple and easy way to increase it in your diet while also receiving a number of other health benefits!
- Canola oil is an excellent source of vitamin K. This vitamin helps to maintain normal blood flow and by taking just once serving on canola oil you will receive 20 percent of the recommend daily intake for an adult.
- Canola oil is an excellent source of plant sterols. This is a substance that can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Canola oil is the second highest in plant sterols out of all vegetable oils.
Where Can I Get It
Interested in taking advantage of all of these health benefits? Canola oil is readily accessible and can be purchased in many different stores. You won’t find yourself breaking the bank when you use it. It can be used in a wide range of cooking and baking. You will find it easy to begin using it and taking the daily recommended dose even when mixing it with other foods. There are probably unhealthy oils in your cabinet that you are currently using instead. Get rid of these and embrace canola oil as a replacement.
But wait? Will it make food taste bad? How will it impact cooking? Luckily this isn’t a problem at all, in fact canola oil is easy to use and won’t impact foods you already know and love. It has a light flavor that won’t overpower other foods and a smooth texture. It also has a high smoke point, which means that you can heat it to high temperatures while cooking and it won’t burn. Easy enough for the most limited cook to use! Use it to sauté a stir fry, grill meats and vegetables, or even just to grease a baking pan.
Even if you had not been aware of canola oil before it is probably part of your diet already. Because so many companies have rushed to embrace its many uses, it is a common ingredient in foods such as mayonnaise, margarine, and salad dressing. Check out the ingredients of items on your shelf at home, you will probably see canola oil listed.
Use of Canola Oil in the Home
Although canola oil will probably be spending most of its time sitting in your pantry, you might also find yourself unscrewing the bottle for other uses around your house. Do you have a zipper that is stuck or an annoying sticky label that just won’t peel off correctly? Canola oil can be used to solve both these problems. It can be used as a cleaner and polisher for surfaces that are coated in dust, pollen, dirt, or anything else you don’t want in your spotless home. Even clean off your grandma’s pearls in canola oil!
Have an ant problem and don’t want to use harm chemicals in your house. Turn to canola oil, it will poison the ants! In the summer use it as a chemical free insect repellent that you won’t be worried to use around young children or take it on your next camping trip.
Industrial Uses of Canola Oil
The future of power is alternative and sustainable energy. Oil is a limited resource and it is important now more than ever to find different types of energy to help keep our planet moving. Surprisingly, canola oil might well be one of the successful alternatives.
As mentioned earlier, canola originated from rapeseed plants, which were originally used for fuel in ancient cultures. This means that modern canola oil can be used biodiesel! Not only could it fuel our cars and factories, it would be far better than many other most forms of energy that we are currently using. That’s because nothing goes to waste, every part of the plant plays a role in the energy process and there are not giant problems that come from production like in more other forms of energy. The little that is left behind from production is used in skin creams, soaps, and other hygiene related products.
Canola oil is also successful as an alternative fuel because it is a highly renewable resource. Coal comes from ancient fossils, it will eventually disappear and if we don’t create something that will last long term we will be in trouble. Because canola is a plant that is planted and harvested every year it is sustainable. On top of that its genetic engineering means that it is very unlikely to fall victim to diseases that other plants often suffer from.
Canola plants can be grown almost anywhere and are planted worldwide. No longer would other countries be subjected to the political maneuvers of oil producing states. Instead, they could reliably produce their own fuel source and develop a more independent economy. It benefits farmers especially, a segment of the population that often struggles to support itself among lowering food prices and potential damage and disease to crops.
In Canada, the first country to widely produce canola plants, it has become a regular feature in the alternative energy industry. Two percent of all diesel fuel sold in Canada must contain biodiesel and canola oil is an excellent source for that biofuel.
Under current rulings by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, canola oil meets the 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction requirement. The European Union has also passed regulations on canola oil and worked to increases its production and use as an alternative energy source.
Unsurprisingly, canola oil also has a range of other industrial uses. It can be used to create lubricants, soaps, ink and other oils. It might even be in the make-up that it on your face right now. Not content to just be an independent biofuel, it is also a key ingredient (along with wheat) in producing ethanol. It can also be combined with soybean oil to create an incredibly effective pesticide. It helps keep mosquitos and other insects at bay, improving the lives of people and lowering the risk of crop destruction.
Potential Health Risks of Canola Oil
Although monosaturated fat is much better for you than trans-fat or saturated fat, it still should only be used in moderation.
If you are planning to use canola oil as a health remedy consult your doctor to make sure that using canola oil will not interfere with any other medications or health conditions you may have.
Canola plants have only existed for a few decades and it’s been a remarkable journey for such a new species. It is a fascinating blend of traditional ancient uses and modern genetics. Who could have predicted that canola oil would grow to have so many different uses? Perhaps we have not even found them all yet! Next time you drive past a beautiful field of yellow floors, wave to the beautiful plant that has had such an impact on the world.
With everything going on with canola oil now is the perfect time to start using it regularly in your food and your diet. If you are concerned about heart help, getting enough vitamins in your diet, and increasing your levels of fatty acids, this is the perfect substitute for many of the oils that are probably on your cooking shelf at home. Embracing canola oil means the start to embracing a healthier diet. You will find it to be versatile and easy to use.
If you work in industry and/or alternative fuels canola oil is also incredibly important. The use that this oil has for allowing people to move away from gasoline is monumental and might only increase in the years to come. Environmentalists might be interested in looking into biofuels containing canola oil as well as supporting the growth and production of canola oil by adding it into their own diets.
Try out canola oil and begin reaping the benefits.