Rapeseed is a plant grown to produce oil for cooking and industrial processes. In the United States, people call the edible variety canola oil. The fatty acids in the oil may benefit heart health, but it is a highly processed oil.
This article explains what rapeseed is, its nutritional profile, health benefits, and potential downsides. The article also answers some common questions about rapeseed.
Rapeseed (Brassica napus) is a bright yellow flowering plant that is part of the cabbage family. Growers produce it commercially to use as an oil and animal feed.
Due to concerns over rapeseed’s high erucic acid content, producers previously only sold the crop for nonfood use. Erucic acid
However, Canadian scientists produced an improved cultivar and registered it as canola in the
Additionally, in 1977 Europe introduced low erucic acid rapeseed oil, containing less than 5% erucic acid and low glucosinolates. Generally, when referring to edible cooking oil, Europeans use the term rapeseed oil, and Americans use canola oil.
Rapeseed oil with higher erucic acid also has industrial uses in the automotive and chemical industries, but this type of oil is unsafe for human consumption.
Farmers in Canada produce around 20 million tons of canola annually, making the country the world leader in canola exports.
Rapeseed and canola cooking oils contain fatty acids, phytosterols, and vitamin E. The following table shows the
|Nutrient||Amount per tablespoon|
|vitamin E||2.45 milligrams (mg)|
|saturated fat||1.03 g|
|monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)||8.86 g|
|polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)||3.93 g|
Rapeseed and canola oil may have several health advantages due to their beneficial compounds.
It may help reduce the risk of heart disease
Rapeseed and canola oil have a beneficial fat profile. They are low in saturated fat and higher in MUFAs and PUFAs.
A 2021 study found that replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats
Rapeseed oil can help maintain a healthy weight
As an oil low in saturated fat, rapeseed may help someone maintain a healthy weight. A
The authors suggested that the high amount of MUFAs and PUFAs are oxidized rather than stored, which may help to reduce body weight. They noted that research suggests a Mediterranean diet and olive oil high in MUFAs do not cause weight gain or obesity.
However, it is important to note it is still possible to gain weight from any oil or food if a person consumes more calories than they burn.
It contains omega-3 fatty acids that support health
Canola oil contains
Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may benefit the following:
- heart health and the risk of cardiovascular disease
- brain health and cognition
- eye health and the risk of age-related macular degeneration
- joint health and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis
- the risk of some cancers
While rapeseed oil may have some health benefits, a person may wish to consider its potential disadvantages.
As with any widely produced crop, producing rapeseed oil may have a negative environmental impact. This is mostly due to the agricultural industry using chemical fertilizers, which can contribute to the greenhouse gas effect. The production of canola oil can also increase carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
A person may be able to find rapeseed oil that has been grown without chemical fertilizers.
According to the same study, it is also important to note that rapeseed oil has the least greenhouse gas emissions per liter compared to sunflower oil and palm oil.
To discover more evidence-based information and resources for the environment and health, visit our dedicated hub.
In some cases,
Additionally, research suggests that natural antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin E protect oils such as rapeseed from oxidation. However, processing oils can
Below are some of the most common questions and answers about rapeseed oil.
What is rapeseed oil used for?
Is rapeseed oil the same as canola oil?
Rapeseed oil and canola oil
In the U.S., people use canola oil for cooking and usually refer to rapeseed oil when describing the product used in industrial processes. In Europe, people refer to rapeseed oil when describing cooking oil.
Can a person cook with rapeseed oil?
People can cook with rapeseed oil that retailers sell as cooking oil. In the U.S., this is usually called canola oil. People can use rapeseed oil for frying and roasting. Additionally, they can use cold-pressed rapeseed oil for dressing salads and vegetables.
Rapeseed is a plant that manufacturers use to make edible oil and oil for industrial processes. It is low in saturated fat and higher in MUFAs and PUFAs. Additionally, rapeseed contains omega-3 fatty acids.
People may use rapeseed or canola oil to help prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, and manage their weight. However, people should be mindful of how much fat they eat to reduce their risk of chronic diseases.