Benefits of Canola Oil
When we think of the benefits of Canola oil we often think of diet and reducing saturated and trans fats. Let's take of closer look at this oil which comes from our neighbors in Canada.
The word Canola is actually a contraction of "Canadian oil, low acid". Low acid? What? OK, let's break it down:
In the 1960s, Canadian scientists were looking for other edible oil options. They certainly had plenty of rapeseed fields that yielded biofuel during WWII, but the natural oil from rapeseed contain erucic acid and glucosinolates, both can be toxic to humans if ingested.
The trick was to find the right breeding hybrid of this plant which would reduce the erucic acid levels and make it safe for human consumption. The benefits of canola oil come from its monounsaturated fats, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and also contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). So Canola oil comes from the select breeding of rapeseed plants of the Brassica campestris family.
The benefits of Canola oil are similar to olive oil. It may aid in lowering cholesterol, help control blood glucose levels, and being a heart healthy oil may provide some protection against heart attacks and stroke.
Topically, the benefits of Canola oil are derived from its vitamin E content, and plant sterols which serve as natural anti-oxidants. It also has a very light scent which is favored by those who are fragrance sensitive.
A 1996 article published in the British Journal of Dermatology, entitled Effect of topically applied lipids on surfactant-irritated skin, evaluated Canola oil as well as hydrocortisone, petrolatum, fish oil, borage oil, sunflower oil, shea butter and fraction from canola oil. A benefit of Canola oil is that it had some of the best results in reducing sodium lauryl sulphate (yes, the same ingredient you often find in most commercial or boutique soaps and other bath products!) induced skin irritation. It also resulted in significantly lower transepidermal water loss. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8746332
The majority of Canola oil grown in the US and Canada is considered genetically modified. However, organically grown Canola oil is easily available and recommended for topical application since it is easily absorbed into the skin.