Canola oil, you are both healthful and useful, good for my heart and my cooking. Here are 10 reasons I love you … you are:

  1. Low in saturated fat. You have the least saturated fat of all culinary oils – less than half that of olive oil. No wonder the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim that just 1 1/2 tablespoons (14 grams) of you per day reduces the risk of heart disease when used in place of sources of saturated fat.
  2. Rich in monounsaturated fat. Canola oil, you are one of the top sources of this beneficial fat, which lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and helps control blood sugar.
  3. High in omega-3 fat. Just one serving of you provides 81 percent of the daily recommended intake of the plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Consuming this anti-inflammatory may improve heart health. It must be consumed as the body cannot make it on its own. You, canola oil, have the most ALA omega-3 of all cooking oils.
  4. Free of trans fat and cholesterol. Trans fat contributes to heart disease risk by increasing LDL cholesterol and lowering “good” HDL cholesterol. Too much dietary cholesterol also raises the risk of heart disease. Thank goodness you do not contain these harmful substances.
  5. A good source of vitamins E and K. One serving of you provides 16 and 20 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults of vitamins E and K, respectively. Vitamin E is an antioxidant may help protect the heart while vitamin K helps maintain normal blood flow.
  6. A good source of plant sterols. You are only second to corn oil in plant sterols of all edible oils. Plant sterols may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  7. Heat-tolerant. With a smoke point of 468 °F (242 °C), you can take the heat better than most cooking oils. From baking to sautéing to deep-frying, you have no limits.
  8. Neutral in flavor and light in texture. Your mild taste and lightness of being also give you versatility in the kitchen.
  9. Suitable for almost all culinary applications and cuisines. With versatility comes popularity. No wonder you are used all over the world in all types of cooking and the number three choice by volume globally (second in the United States).
  10. The best value for health and cooking. All of your above benefits cost just pennies per serving. This makes you the most affordable and wise investment in one’s health.

Angela Dansby is director of communications for the U.S. Canola Association in Washington, D.C.