Olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil from peanuts, sunflower oil from sunflowers … but where does canola oil come from?
Canola is an engineered plant developed in Canada, thus the name. It comes from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants, and was primarily used as an insecticide. Before the rapeseed was genetically engineered, about two-thirds of the monounsaturated fatty acids were erucic acid. Erucic acid was associated with Keshan’s disease, a condition which is characterized by fibrous lesions of the heart. In the late 1970s, Canadian plant breeders were able to create a variety of rapeseed which produced a monounsaturated oil which was much lower in erucic acid.
Canola oil became popular and is marketed as an oil very low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat. In the 1980’s, diets high in saturated fats were blamed for the increase in heart disease. Now, we know that it wasn’t “fat”, it is processed foods, sugar, artificial ingredients.
When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soy oils), oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system. As the oil is heated and mixed with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil and should NOT be consumed. Besides causing mental fog, low energy, dehydrated skin, it leads to vascular issues and free radical damage.
Foods to be cautious of at the store that may contain Canola oil
- Salad dressings and sauces (even if it says with olive oil, check for the hidden canola oil)
- Frozen foods or packaged meals
- Marinated vegetables
Please share in the comments below other foods items that you are aware of that contain canola oil or other oils that are less supportive.
Please purchase all of your oils in glass jars, and buy the smaller jars so you have fresh oil more often vs it being in your pantry for a year. Choose these oils that can tolerate a higher heat point to cook with:
- Coconut oil (and to use on your skin)
- Rice bran oil
- Grape seed oil
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Red palm oil
Oils we recommend to add to salads:
- Olive oil (extra virgin)
- Avocado oil
- Sesame seed oil
- Flax oil