Ever since I took an active interest in cooking as a serious hobby, I have trained myself to believe that extra virgin olive oil is simply the best thing to cook with. After all, a recent study showed that a diet of nuts and olive oil can help prevent dementia in older age, and I’ve never met an elderly person while visiting the Mediterranean that didn’t swear by the stuff. However, while this is all well and good, and while olive oil is indeed healthy for the mind and delicious when used as a salad dressing, when it comes to hardcore cooking as a whole, it could be doing us more harm than good.
While sunflower oil and vegetable oil were once pushed aside for healthier olive oil, these days, it is more common to find heath practitioners and dieticians pushing something called rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is made from those bright yellow flowers that you see gracing fields in the British countryside every summer. Originally grown to provide lubricants for steam engines, the rapeseed flower was eventually altered to include varieties that contained less glucosinolates (that’s the thing responsible for that bitter taste in brussel sprouts), which was the reason it wasn’t first grown for human consumption.
These days the flower makes an oil which is much more palatable than its predecessor and one which is jam packed full of health benefits. It has a much higher smoke point than olive oil, making it far more suitable for roasting and frying. Not only that, but it can pump you full of some serious vitamins AND help to lower your cholesterol!
Some of the benefits of rapeseed oil are:
- It contains the lowest saturated fat content of any oil – less than half that of Olive Oil.
- It has 10 times more Omega 3 than Olive Oil.
- It is a great source of Vitamin E.
- It is high in monounsaturated fats.
- It contains no artificial preservatives and is trans-fat and GM free.
- It is suitable for a variety of diets – vegetarian, gluten-free, Kosher and Halal.
- It is safe to cook at high temperatures with a burning point of 230c much higher than Olive Oil.
Since starting to use it about 10 months ago, I have seen a significant drop in my cholesterol level and have felt the benefit of the added Omega 3 several times over.
The price of rapeseed oil is significantly lower than that of olive oil as well, which just adds to its value. You can pick up a litre bottle in Aldi for £1.99 or a bigger bottle in Morrisons for the same price.
Next time you are buying oil at the supermarket, stop and think, can you afford NOT to try this great new alternative?