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Answer: Yes, canola oil is vegan. It is an extract from a plant from the mustard family.
More Elaborate Explanation
As a vegan, you have to look for certain products as substitutes for animal-based foods. And everything you eat needs to be cruelty-free and also healthy.
Canola oil is a vegetable oil extracted from different types of rapeseed. It has polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Canola oil has the smallest amount of saturated fat among all vegetable oils. It is handy for cooking at high heat because its smoke point is very high. You now know what canola oil is and where it comes from, but one question can be a total head-scratcher. Is canola oil vegan?
Well, you have come to the right place. This article will answer all your queries and doubts. Read on!
Canola oil first emerged in the 1970s. The plant was treated with different methods of breeding to develop better oil quality. Canola’s name refers to Canada.
Rapeseed or canola oil is used in many food industries, and the varieties of components in the oil provide many functional and health gains.
Why Is Canola Oil Vegan?
That’s easy; canola oil does not contain any ingredients or byproducts from animals. The method to process the oil during its production does not utilize any animal-related products.
The canola oil spray and margarine are also vegan-friendly. Canola oil margarine is free from milk almost all the time, but you can still get the ones that have vegan labels.
How Is Canola Oil Produced?
Canola oil is a thoroughly refined oil and may not be healthy for you. Initially, oil is 100 % fat when you extract it from its sources. The primary ways to process canola oil are:
- Pressing the seeds: Manufacturers heat and press the seeds collected from the mustard plant. This is an essential process for the canola seeds as it helps remove impurities and boosts the quality of the oil.
- Extracting the oil: They dissolve the seeds with a chemical compound to draw out the oil after pressing the seeds. They use chemical compounds like chloroform and hexane for extraction.
- Refining: After pressing and extracting the oil, they refine the canola oil to remove color, odor, taste, etc. This is also called deodorization and decoloration.
Cooking the oil at a high temperature eliminates most of the nutrients. On the other hand, cold-press method of extraction allows the oil to keep more nutrients.
Is Canola Oil Good For Your Health?
You cannot consider canola oil to be terrible for your health. There are still discussions on whether the canola oil is good or bad.
Some of the benefits of using canola oil are:
- It contains a low amount of saturated fat. Saturated fats are known for elevating LDL, which is considered harmful.
- It has a fair amount of fatty acid, known as omega-3. You can obtain these fats only through the intake of food. Omega-3 fatty acids help you lower inflammation and reduce the chances for heart-related problems, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
- It contains vitamins like K and E that help with skin problems such as blemishes, wrinkles, and acne.
- It is great for cooking since it has almost no flavors, a high smoke point, and a light texture.
However, canola oil also has its drawbacks. Here are some not-very-healthy characteristics you can keep in mind while picking this oil in stores:
- Processed oil: Since canola oil is highly processed, it lacks essential nutrients like antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins.
- Hexane: There is an everyday use of hexane as a solvent while extracting the oil. Even though the majority of hexane is removed, some amount remains. And as per studies, consumption of this solvent is unhealthy for you.
- Genetically modified (GMO): GMO food might be harmful to your health.
- Antioxidants: Producers tend to use additives like BHA, TBHQ, and BHT to keep the oil fresh. These are synthetic antioxidants that can trigger liver and stomach tumors.
- Omega-6 acids: This type of acid has unfavorable health effects, and it can minimize the advantage of omega-3 acids.
- Trans fat: These fats are harmful and may cause heart diseases.
Avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, and also coconut oil in some instances can be the right choice. However, coconut oil contains a high quantity of saturated fats, so you should be very careful with it.
- Avocado oil: Avocado oil derives from the avocado flesh, and it contains high oleic acid. The fruit has antioxidants and vitamin D, K, and A. It is suitable for frying since it has a high smoke point. What’s more, is that it is hypoallergic.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is the healthiest replacement for canola oil. It is high in antioxidants and rich in monosaturated fat. It is extracted from the fruit, so it is vegan. Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil can be considered the best choice.
- Coconut oil: It has a high level of saturated fat compared to canola oil. However, coconut also has a lot of health benefits. You can comfortably use it for baking and cooking.
- Mashed banana: As the name suggests, it is fruit oil that you can use as a substitute for canola oil in your dishes. You can use the same amount of mashed banana oil as the other oils you use in your recipes.
- Safflower oil: Safflower oil contains a fewer amount of saturated fats compared to other oils. It is ideal for cooking since it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point. There are precisely two types of safflower oil :
- The first type is useful for frying and has a high oleic percentage.
- The other type of safflower oil is better used only for salad dressing as it is high-linoleic.
These oils are best when they are cold-pressed. Remember to look for organic and non-genetically modified oil.
Canola oil is one of the most favored oils for any vegan-related dishes. It has a neutral flavor as the quantity of erucic acid and saturated fat is low. Canola oil also has a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids that are healthy.
Most plant-based food, processed food, or other food products usually contains canola oil.
Manufacturers heavily refine the canola oil, and most of the crops they use to extract the oil are genetically modified.
Therefore, canola oil may not be the best oil out in the market, but you cannot consider it the worst. You can always look for organic varieties of canola oil to stay on the safe side.