When it’s time to get cooking, do you really know your oil? Some oils are great for high temperatures, others can’t take the heat. Some are heart-smart, while others are loaded with saturated fat.
“As a dietitian, I want an oil that’s healthy, and when I cook, I want an oil that’s versatile and performs consistently,” said Manuel Villacorta, R.D., author of “Whole Body Reboot.”
Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., nutrition columnist at “Self” and author of “Schedule Me Skinny,” echoes Villacorta, noting the ideal is an everyday cooking oil that’s low in saturated fat and high in heat tolerance.
“It’s important that people understand the differences among cooking oils as they can’t be used interchangeably in everything you cook,” she said. “With 100 percent canola oil, I know what I’m getting in the kitchen and on my plate. It’s healthy and works in everything – an ‘all in one’ cooking oil.”
Here are four reasons Villacorta and Bedwell both prefer canola oil:
1. It’s healthy. Canola oil contains the least saturated fat – about half that of olive, soybean, corn and sunflower oils – and the most plant-based omega-3 fat of all common cooking oils. Research shows that eating 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil daily in place of saturated fat can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Canola oil may also help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
2. It’s neutral. Canola oil has no taste and a light texture (unlike olive or coconut oils), which is what you want when preparing a spicy Mexican feast, tart lemon cake or an herb-laced dressing, such as Salsa Vinaigrette or Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. The flavors of your ingredients, not your oil, take center stage. Other oils have heavier textures than canola oil.
3. It can take the heat. Broil, sear or even deep-fry to your heart’s content. Canola oil has one of the highest heat tolerances of any cooking oil (smoke point of 468 F), so it’s an ideal kitchen partner.
4. It’s affordable. Canola oil costs about the same as vegetable oil, but with canola oil, you know which oil is in the bottle. Vegetable oil may actually be any number of different oils.
For more recipes and facts about canola oil, visit canolainfo.org.