10 Spices, Spreads and Oils for Your Healthy Kitchen

Canola Oil
Canola oil might not have much flavor, but it's got plenty of healthful benefits.
Canola oil might not have much flavor, but it's got plenty of healthful benefits.
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Everyone knows that saturated and trans fats are bad for you. They work tirelessly to expand your waistline, clog your arteries and raise your cholesterol, all of which can be very damaging to your heart. However, there are heart-healthy unsaturated fats out there, and you don't have to dine exclusively on nuts and seeds to get to them. One great way to increase your intake of healthy unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids is to use canola oil when you cook.

Canola oil is virtually tasteless and only contains 7 percent saturated fat, which is the lowest saturated fat content of any commonly consumed cooking oil in the United States. Even more impressively, it's loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, and many of them, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, are essential to heart health but aren't produced by the body naturally. In fact, there's evidence that suggests consuming 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil per day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease [source: WebMD]. Canola oil may also help lower your blood pressure.

Don't be deterred from eating canola oil because you've heard rumors that it's derived from the rapeseed plant. The rapeseed plant contains excessive amounts of erucic acid, which is toxic to humans. The truth of the matter is that canola oil is made from the seeds of the canola plant, which does contain trace amounts of erucic acid, but not nearly enough to hurt anyone [source: WebMD].

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