Choosing heart-healthy oils when preparing and cooking food is essential on the South Beach Diet. Healthy oils, like canola oil, are recommended on all Phases, and there’s a good reason why. Canola oil offers many nutritional benefits and it is one of the healthiest of all commonly used cooking oils. But what exactly is canola oil and why should you use it?
The Health Benefits of Canola Oil
Monounsaturated canola oil is made from pressed canola seeds. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid that can't be made by your body. (ALA can also be found in soybeans, flaxseed, walnuts, and wheat germ.) Canola oil is also a good source of the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid, particularly important for cellular metabolism. Over the past 20 years, clinical studies have shown that consuming canola oil in place of saturated fats can help lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Canola oil is ideal for sautéing and stir-frying because it has a relatively high smoke point and its neutral flavor doesn’t overwhelm foods. It can also be used in place of olive oil in baked goods and vinaigrettes. Try our Fresh Tuna Salad with Simple Lemon Dijon recipe, which uses 2 tablespoons of canola oil as a base for a flavorful lemon and Dijon mustard dressing that’s perfect for 2 servings. And in our Pear Bran Muffins, we use it as a healthier alternative to butter.