Growing up, canola oil was the only oil anyone used or really knew about. Now, there are so many different kinds of oils, I can’t even keep track or try them all! Not all oil is created the same and some we should really never use.
Canola oil is a GMO, highly refined and hydrogenated oil. All the things we don’t want. It’s very high in trans fat which can be known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. I don’t and never suggest counting calories, but 1 cup of canola oil has 1927 calories and 218 grams of fat. Crazy! Now, I understand you most likely aren’t having 1 cup of oil at once but using a little here and there for cooking can add up quick. Canola oil has high levels of erucic acid which has been associated with heart damage. Due to the processing canola oil goes through and at such a high heat, the fats become oxidized, producing free radicals and inflammation and we really don’t want free radicals in our body as they can be cancer causing.
Each oil is different, and it can kind of be confusing. Some are meant for higher heat and some cannot be used with high heat or else free radicals form. Here’s a little chart on the smoke points of some popular ones:
Coconut ~425 degrees
Avocado ~500 degrees
Olive ~ 360 degrees
Grapeseed ~425 degrees
Flax - Not to be heated
Walnut ~320 degrees
What you also want to look for is organic, unrefined and cold-pressed oils. This ensures they have been minimally processed and not heated to high temperatures. You also want to buy all oils in a dark glass bottle that has been stored somewhere cool. Oils are light and heat sensitive and start to oxidize if exposed to either. Now for the fun stuff. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which can help kill bacteria, viruses and yeast. Because it is a medium chain fatty acid, it can also help burn fat. Fat is not the enemy, but that’s a whole other post. Olive oil contains oleic acid which helps fight free radical damage and keeps our heart healthy. It is also anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants known as polyphenols. Antioxidants are what help fight free radicals. Avocado oil may help in lowering blood pressure due to the monounsaturated fat content.
It's fairly easy to swap out canola oil for other alternatives. Simply starting with using avocado oil to make eggs or roast veggies and coconut oil to use in baking, it all turns out delicious and you know you're getting a lot more health benefits too!
With all the different kinds of oils out there, there really is no need to use canola or any highly refined and processed oil. Remember to always store oils away from heat and light and also purchase cold-pressed, unrefined and organic when possible!