Rapeseed oil: healthy vegetable oil

Rapeseed oil, like olive oil, sunflower oil or coconut oil, is derived from vegetable products and therefore belongs to the group of vegetable oils. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and also has a particularly favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. That's why rapeseed oil is considered extremely healthy. In the kitchen it can be used both for roasting and for baking.

Rapeseed oil - a vegetable oil

Rapeseed oil is mainly derived from rapeseed. However, only a small portion of the seeds are used for the production of cooking oil. The vast majority is needed for the production of biofuels. The rape seeds are processed into vegetable oil fuel, but significantly more often to biodiesel.

In addition to biofuels, rapeseed oil is still included in many other products: Among other things, it is in

  • Pesticides
  • feed
  • Engine and lubricating oils
  • solvents
  • Paints and colors

In addition, it is used in the medical industry for the production of ointments.

Refined and cold-pressed oil

Rapeseed oil can be obtained by two different methods: firstly by hot pressing (refining) and secondly by cold pressing. For the production of the oil only the yellow kernels of the fruit are used. The black shell is removed so that no bitter substances can get into the oil.

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil has the advantage over refined varieties that it contains more vitamins, carotenoids and other fat accompanying substances. These fatty compounds prevent the formation of harmful fat loss products by inhibiting the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids.

Is rapeseed oil healthy?

Originally rapeseed oil was used only for technical purposes. Only after rape varieties with a lower bitter content were grown, the oil could be used for the production of edible oils and edible fats.

Today it is known that rapeseed oil is nutritionally extremely valuable, because it has many unsaturated fatty acids and hardly contains cholesterol. In this point, the vegetable oil is significantly different from animal fats like butter. These usually contain many saturated fatty acids and are also less cholesterol.

In addition to unsaturated fatty acids, rapeseed oil is also rich in vitamin E and carotenoids. Vitamin E is an important radical scavenger that protects our cells from free radical damage. Carotenoids also act as antioxidants in the body and trap free radicals. As a result, aging processes can be slowed down and cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.

Why is rapeseed oil harmful?

Despite all the positive effects, rapeseed oil may also have harmful effects on health. A study from 2017 indicates that rapeseed oil could have a negative impact on memory performance. In an animal study, the memory of mice under a rapeseed oil diet decreased significantly.

In the brain of the animals, the researchers also found an increased number of peptides, which are suspected to promote the development of Alzheimer's.

Unsaturated fatty acids are valuable

Rapeseed oil consists of 50 to 60 percent of monounsaturated and 25 to 30 percent of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Although it provides less monounsaturated fatty acids than olive oil, it contains a higher percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids are hardly contained in rapeseed oil - in contrast to animal fats.

Unsaturated fatty acids are very important to the human body: they lower the level of unfavorable LDL cholesterol in the blood and have a positive effect on our cardiovascular system. Some polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential to the body, meaning they can not be made by themselves, but must be ingested through the diet.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

The essential polyunsaturated fatty acids include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For us humans, above all, the ratio in which the two fatty acids stand together is crucial. For if we take too many Omega-6 fatty acids, this can have a negative effect on the cholesterol level. A ratio of 2: 1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids - as in rapeseed oil - is ideal for humans.

The distribution of the fatty acids is extremely favorable in both cold-pressed and refined rapeseed oil. For example, one teaspoon of the oil can already cover a large part of the daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, fish species such as mackerel, salmon or herring are good omega-3 fatty acid suppliers. That's why fish should be on your menu once or twice a week if possible.

Rapeseed oil for frying and baking

Rapeseed oil is highly recommended for use in the kitchen due to its valuable ingredients. Depending on the purpose, you can either use cold-pressed or refined oil. For baking and roasting refined rape oil is used more often because it has almost no taste in itself and is very heat stable.

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, on the other hand, is more suitable for preparing salads or dips - provided that you like the characteristic nutty-seedy taste of the oil.

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, on the other hand, is less suitable for heating because the polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in the oil can be decomposed. Due to their double bonds, these are sensitive to oxygen and high temperatures. By decomposing, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids not only lose their healthy effects, they also risk developing potentially harmful trans fatty acids.

Rapeseed oil can be stored for a relatively long time, after the onset you can usually use it for several months. In order to extend the shelf life, you should store the oil as dark and cool as possible.

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