An Examination of Rapeseed Oil: Nutritional Profile, Health Benefits, and More

rape plant

We’ve all heard about sunflower oil, right? It’s in every kitchen, but did you know there’s a healthier alternative out there? Meet rapeseed oil! It’s a little less known but packs quite a punch when it comes to its nutrition and health benefits. Plus, it’s pretty tough when faced with high heat, making it a great option for cooking. So, if you’re still using sunflower oil, let’s explore why switching to rapeseed oil might be a good move for you.

Different kinds of rapeseed oil

Before we dive in, it’s worth mentioning that not all rapeseed oils are created equal. Some are heated and refined, while others are cold-pressed and generally healthier.

In the U.S., rapeseed oil is also known as canola oil, which has gotten some flak due to its highly processed nature and some questions around how it’s made. Plus, lots of the rapeseed used in the U.S. is genetically modified (GM), which raises even more eyebrows.

Across the pond in the U.K., rapeseed oil is usually made from non-GM crops, as the U.K. doesn’t commercially grow GM crops. But you’ve got to be a label detective, as some companies might get their oilseed rape (the plant used to make rapeseed oil) from other countries.

Is rapeseed oil actually good for you?

Let’s start with the heated and refined rapeseed oil. It’s chemically treated to make it look and smell nice, but this process messes with its fats and takes out many of the nutrients. It also doesn’t stay fresh for long, and when it goes bad, it’s really bad for you.

On the flip side, cold-pressed rapeseed oil is way healthier, as it doesn’t go through all this heavy-duty processing. It might cost a little more, but if you care about your health, it’s worth every penny.

Just keep in mind to avoid rapeseed oil made from GM crops. GM foods are a hot topic these days with safety and health effects still under debate, so it might be a good idea to steer clear of them for now.

The nutritional scoop on cold-pressed rapeseed oil

In a nutshell, cold-pressed rapeseed oil is:

  • Packed with essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6) – just what your body needs and nothing it doesn’t
  • A solid source of vitamin E
  • Super versatile: you can cook with it, drizzle it on salads, and use it in so many 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: a showdown

When you put rapeseed oil up against olive oil, rapeseed oil has way more omega-3 fatty acids (ten times more!). But don’t chuck out your olive oil just yet. Both oils have their own places in your kitchen.

Olive oil is perfect for dressings and drizzling on food, while rapeseed oil is great for roasting, frying, and baking. Plus, rapeseed oil has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil and more Vitamin E. So, they both bring something unique to the table.

The health benefits of rapeseed oil

Low in bad fats and high in good ones, rapeseed oil is a healthy powerhouse. It’s especially good for anyone keeping an eye on their cholesterol levels. It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy and lower inflammation in your body.

Plus, it’s a good source of vitamin E, a big-time antioxidant that helps slow down processes that can damage cells. One spoonful of cold-pressed rapeseed oil will give you almost a quarter of your daily recommended amount of vitamin E. Need any more reasons to start using this oil?

Where can you buy cold-pressed rapeseed oil?

Nowadays, you can find cold-pressed rapeseed oil in most big supermarkets, and of course, online. If you use a lot of it, buying in bulk can save you some money. Just remember to store it properly, so it doesn’t go bad.