Walnut, Canola, Macadamia, and Grapeseed

Walnut Oil

Walnuts are high in fatty acids and in particular, omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, walnut is the only nut permitted by the Food and Drug Administration to include a health claim on its label indicating that walnuts reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

Despite it FDA approval, walnut is not the healthiest nut since absolute amount of omega-3s is not the only criteria to judge an oil.

Canola oil

Canola oil (short for Canadian Oil) is extracted from the Canadian rapeseed, a biotech creation produced through genetic engineering and seed splitting.

The canola seed was bred to remove the undesirable compounds of rapeseeds, which are harmful to humans

Oils from rapeseed that contains higher erucic acid levels have industrial uses such as lubricants and rubber additives. Rapeseeds are also used in the manufacture of nylon, diesel fuels and pesticides.

 

Rape is a plant in the mustard family. Its oil is monounsaturated and contains almost 60 percent monounsaturated fatty acids (compared to about 70 percent in olive oil). Unfortunately, two-thirds of its monounsaturated fatty acids are erucic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid associated with causing fibrotic lesions of the heart.

In the late 1970s, Canadian plant breeders created a variety of rapeseed that produced a monounsaturated oil low in erucic acid. In 1985, after the Canadian government lobby spent over fifty million dollar, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted canola oil GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status for use in foods.

 When introduced, Canola oil was marketed to health-conscious consumers wanting to rid their diet of saturated fat.

 

Canola use in the kitchen is better than the other non-olive alternatives. Canola use in commercial food however is a health hazard since canola oil is more likely to be converted into trans fat during processing.

Canola resembles olive oil in composition. Canola oil contains 62% monounsaturated and only 6% saturated fats.  The seed is high in linolenic acid (omega-3s), much of which is destroyed by the heat and solvents used to extract the oil.

The seeds from the rape plant (brassica napus) contain an unusually long-chain fatty acid, erucic acid. Erucic acid is toxic to the heart and is the reason for the modification of rapeseed.

Canola oil manufacturers minimize the amount of erucic acid in the final product by high temperature extraction and excessive refinement. Cold-pressed, unrefined Canola oil is the preferred type of Canola. It is found primarily in health food stores and is very expensive.

 

Canola oil is a cheap alternative to the healthier virgin olive and grape seed oils. Canola oil is capable of withstanding high temperatures, which make them good for cooking.

Canola oil contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids. The seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are unfortunately transformed into trans-fats during the deodorization process.

Canola oil is often used in processed food.  Canola oil is hardened by the hydrogenation process and can contain up to fifty percent trans-fatty acids. The amount of trans fat in processed canola oil varies. Canola oil is mostly regarded as healthy oil with a smoke point above 400 degrees.

 

Canola oil has not lasted the test of time and is only recommended for high temperature cooking where the dangers of using polyunsaturated oils are very high. The cold-pressed unfiltered form is healthier and more expensive.

 


 

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed and linseed oils are derived from the seeds of the flax plant (linum usitatissimum). The thin fibers from the stem are woven into linen and also used to make napkins and parchment paper. Linseed oil is an industrial oil, derived from commercial pressing and extraction of flax seeds, is used to make linoleum .

The variety of the plants are different for human consumption but all contain high proportions of fatty acids.

Flaxseed is The seed are a rich source of fat and omega-3 fats.

 

Quality flaxseed oil provides omega-3 fatty acids and the less desirable linoleic or omega-6. While omega-6 oils are essential (the body can’t synthesize it), it is not a desirable one.

 

Flax seeds are small ovals that are rich in solid fat.

They are added to meal, cereals and breads for their high concentration of fat. In the plant, the fat is is used to support the developing embryo.

 

Typical flaxseed oil is highest in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Up to 60% of the total fatty acids are ALA. Yellow flax seeds, as opposed to the more common brown seeds, are lower in ALA. They are used to make Solin, an oil developed for cooking.

 

 

Flaxseed oil should never be used for cooking. Flaxseed oil turns rancid easily. The use of flax seeds themselves are preferred to the use of its oil because of its ease of chemical breakdown.

Flaxseeds contain compounds that lower the level of estrogen in post-menopausal women, which may protect them from developing breast cancer. These compounds are known as lignans. Lignans are fiber-like compounds that interact with steroid hormones and their receptors.The naturally occurring phytoestrogens molecule or lignan is believed responsible for the protective effect on health.

 

Lignans are converted by digestive bacteria into estrogen-like substances called enterodiol and enterolactone. These compounds produce anti-tumor effects via their occupation of estrogen receptors thereby preventing estrogen from exerting its harmful effects in post-menopausal women.

Lignans are also believed to lower the level of two estrogens (estrone sulfate and estradiol) in post-menopausal women by inhibiting estrogen production. Lignans also interfere with testosterone activity in men and is believed to slow the growth of prostate cells.

 

 

Flaxseed is high in lignan. Flaxseed oil has none.

 

Flaxseed oil lacks lignans, but some processors add them to their oil.

 

 


 

Manufacturers have responded to the need for healthy fats in the diet. New healthy oils for cooking are made from avocados, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, grapeseeds, macadamia nuts, peanuts and walnuts. They are in addition to olive, canola, soy, sunflower and corn that stock most supermarket shelves. These boutique oils provide unique flavor and contain a different library phytochemicals.

 

Peanut oil

Peanut oil from (Arachis hypogaea) is a premium cooking oil.  Peanut oil can withstand high temperatures without smoking. Its smoke point is above 400 degrees. Peanut oil does not absorb and retain odors.

 

 

 

Macadamia oil

Macadamia nuts diet increase the HDL or good cholesterol level and lowers the LDL or bad cholesterol.

Macadamia nut oil is a good source of palmitoleic acid (an omega-7 fatty acid). Palmitoleic acid may confer some beneficial effect on the heart.

Macadamia oil is extracted in an oxygen and light-free environment. It is processed in a low temperature environment to protect the natural phytochemicals, antioxidants and preservative of the nut. There are no chemical solvents used in this process and so the phytochemicals are retained. It is an expensive oil with a smoke point of 385 degrees.

 

 

 


 

Grapeseed oil is pressed from the seeds of grapes (vitis vinifera).

Because it has a high smoke point (420 degrees), it is useful in all types of cooking including frying and baking. It provide a nutty flavor to food and is often used in salads dressings. Grapeseed oil contains antioxidants and vitamins and thought to lower cholesterol and raise HDL levels. Grapeseed oil is often used in the cosmetic industry as a moisturizer and wrinkle remover.

 

Walnut Oil

Walnuts are high in fatty acids and in particular, omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, walnut is the only nut permitted by the Food and Drug Administration to include a health claim on its label indicating that walnuts reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

 

Despite it FDA approval, walnut is not the healthiest nut since absolute amount of omega-3s is not the only criteria to judge an oil.

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