What to Know about Rapeseed Oil

There are two main types of rapeseed oil: culinary and industrial. The culinary version, also known as canola oil, is used in the kitchen for cooking. Industrial rapeseed oil is mostly used in the chemical and automotive industries.

Is Rapeseed Oil Healthy?

Rapeseed oil is widely used around the world. It’s famous for its affordability and versatility as a cooking oil and is commonly found in salad dressings, fried foods, and baked goods.

Rapeseed oil is naturally low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, which is excellent for your health.

It’s an excellent source of vitamin E — a strong antioxidant, which can support eye and skin health.

Rapeseed oil is also a great source of an omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, which provides numerous heart health benefits like lower blood pressure and a decreased likelihood of heart attack.

High in omega-6 fats, rapeseed oil can also support overall health. However, an excess of omega-6 can lead to some inflammation in the body. Fortunately, you can find a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats at a 1:2 ratio in rapeseed oil, which experts believe is ideal.

Benefits of Rapeseed Oil

Versatility. You can use it for roasting, frying, deep-fat frying, baking, marinades, dipping, drizzling, and sauces.

High cooking temperature. Rapeseed oil has a high smoke point, which means it won't burn until about 400 degrees F. That makes it a good choice for frying mushrooms or roasting vegetables.

Low saturated fat. It has the lowest amount of saturated fat out of all the oils, making it a healthy option.

Vitamin E. Using rapeseed oil in cooking is a good way to get vitamin E in your diet.

Mild flavor. Because rapeseed oil is almost flavorless, you can use it in a variety of dishes. It works great in dips, salad dressings, baking, pan-frying, and deep-frying. You can serve it at room temperature or cook with it.

Affordability. You can often buy rapeseed oil for less than about half the price of olive oil.

Possible Downsides of Rapeseed Oil

Genetically modified. Most rapeseed oil sold in grocery stores is genetically modified. Growers genetically modify plants to produce higher yields and more affordable products.

There is some concern about genetically modified foods and their effect on antibiotic resistance, allergies, and cancer. However, most research does suggest that genetically modified products are generally safe.

If you want to avoid genetically modified foods, buy rapeseed oil that’s labeled as GMO-free or certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Highly processed. Rapeseed oil is heavily processed. Hexane, a chemical solvent, is added to “clean” the oil. Then, a water filtration process removes gums, free fatty acids, and unappealing colors. Although this is considered a safe process, it leads to lower contents of fatty acids and vitamin E, which may affect the health benefits of rapeseed oil.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 22, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

AGMRC: "Rapeseed."
Br J Nutr.: “Can rapeseed oil replace olive oil as part of a Mediterranean-style diet?”
European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology: “Current Research Developments on the Processing and Improvements of the Nutritional Quality of Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.).”

Exp Biol Med (Maywood): "The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases."
Journal of Food Science & Technology: "Genetically modified foods: safety, risks and public concerns—a review."

Nutr Rev.: “Evidence of health benefits of canola oil.”
Springer Link: “Minor Components in Canola Oil and Effects of Refining on These Constituents: A Review.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Diet and Fitness Tips In Your Inbox

Eat better and exercise smarter. Sign up for the Food & Fitness newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.