Quite a few years ago I stopped using sunflower oil and replaced it with healthier rapeseed oil. That’s because I discovered that sunflower oil was pretty unhealthy actually (in my opinion) and rapeseed oil seemed like a much better option for cooking.
I remember finding a bottle of cold-pressed rapeseed oil in a supermarket and after studying its label I decided to buy it. I liked that it was suitable for high-temperature cooking and also, in terms of its nutrients and fat profile it seemed to be a better choice than highly refined sunflower oil.
If you regularly use sunflower oil in your kitchen, it’s about time you learn about rapeseed oil, its nutrition and health benefits. If you are wondering whether rapeseed oil is healthy or whether it’s good for you, read on to learn everything you need to know about it.
Types of rapeseed oil
Before you buy a rapeseed oil you need to know that not all types of rapeseed oil are created equal. If it’s called ‘rapeseed oil’, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
In general, there are two types of rapeseed oil – the one that has been heated and refined, and the one that has been cold-pressed and it’s considered to be healthier.
In the US, rapeseed oil is also known as canola oil but it has a bad reputation since it’s highly processed and comes with questionable production methods.
Rapeseed oil is made from many different types of rapeseed or canola plants, many of which have been genetically modified in the US.
In the UK, rapeseed oil is not made from GM crops since there are no commercially grown GM crops in this country but you need to check the label to see whether the seeds have been indeed grown in the UK. In some cases, companies use oilseed rape grown in other countries to produce rapeseed oil and if the label doesn’t say where it’s been grown, it’s worth checking with the producer directly. That’s to make sure the rapeseed oil you are thinking of buying is not genetically modified.
Is rapeseed oil good for you?
The heated rapeseed oil is chemically treated in order to achieve the desired refined quality (odourless, light in colour). During this process, its fat profile is changed and the final product is simply a vegetable oil which had many nutrients removed and can go rancid quite easily (rancid oils are bad for your health because they introduce cancer-causing free radicals into your body, without the benefit of including an antioxidant like vitamin E).
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, on the other hand, is a much healthier version of rapeseed oil since it’s not been heavily processed. It’s more expensive than the refined version but worth buying if you care about your health. It is good for you.
Just remember to avoid rapeseed oil produced from genetically modified crops. GMO foods are a controversial topic today and there is a question of safety and health effects when regularly consumed. The debates and research are ongoing so it’s best to avoid this type of food for now.
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil nutrition and properties
In summary, cold-pressed rapeseed oil has the following properties:
- Rich in essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6) with nothing added or taken away
- A good source of vitamin E
- Wonderfully versatile: Cook with it, drizzle it, use it every day in many different ways
- It has a high smoke point and doesn’t go toxic at high heat (unlike extra virgin olive oil)
Rapeseed oil vs. olive oil
Compared to the olive oil, rapeseed oil contains more omega 3 fatty acids than olive oil (10 times more actually). This doesn’t mean you should now stop using olive oil and use rapeseed oil instead, not at all. Each of the oils has its place in cooking and food preparation.
Extra virgin olive oil is especially great in salad dressings and for drizzling on top of the food – using rapeseed oil instead just wouldn’t work the same.
Rapeseed oil is good to use for things like roasting, frying and baking since extra virgin olive oil is not suitable for high-temperature cooking (high temperatures modifies its molecules and degrade its quality).
When looking at the amount of saturated fat each oil contains, we can see that rapeseed oil contains over half the amount of saturated fat of olive oil. Both oils contain Vitamin E, but it’s the rapeseed oil which contains more. They certainly both have a place in the kitchen, just use them accordingly.
Rapeseed oil health benefits
Due to the low amount of saturated (or ‘bad’) fats, rapeseed oil is one of the healthiest oils you could use in cooking and diet, especially if you need to watch your cholesterol levels. Being rich in omega 3 fatty acids it contributes to your daily intake of these ‘essential’ fats, helping you to lower your risk of heart disease and also lower inflammation in a body.
It also contributes to your daily intake of vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant helping to slow down processes which damage cells. One spoon of cold-pressed rapeseed oil will give you 24% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin E. Isn’t this enough reasons for you to start using this oil today?
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Where to buy cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Luckily, today you can buy cold-pressed rapeseed oil in all the major supermarkets, including Aldi. You can also get it from places like Whole Foods Market and Amazon, of course. Remember, if this is the kind of oil you would use a lot, it’s worth buying it in bulk to save yourself some money (but remember to store it properly so that it doesn’t get spoiled).
What oil do you use for cooking? Have you tried rapeseed oil yet?
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