Rapeseed oil: contributions, benefits, contraindications

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in collaboration with

Nathalie Negro (dietician at the Baths of Brides-les-Bains)

In the family of edible oils, make way for rapeseed oil! Rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and active antioxidants, it is the ally of our good health. What are its nutritional benefits? Who to recommend it to? How to consume it? We take stock with Nathalie Negro, Head of the Nutritional Center of the Brides-les-Bains thermal baths.

Rapeseed is a pretty bright yellow flower. From its small seeds, a golden oil is extracted by pressing. Once collected, the oil is placed in a vat and left to rest for a few days. This decantation stage lasts about ten days and allows the oil to be separated from the impurities, which will then be filtered in order to obtain a pure juice. The oil will then be bottled, to the delight of consumers because rapeseed oil (also called “canola oil”) has dethroned olive oil! According to the numbers1, on the podium of the most consumed oils, rapeseed oil comes first (54%), followed by sunflower oil (18%) and palm oil (14%). Far behind is olive oil (5% of vegetable oil consumption). The reason ? Certainly its very fruity flavor but above all its benefits on our form and our health.

Nutritional table for rapeseed oil (source: Ciqual table)

Per 100g

  • Calories: 900 Calories
  • Lipids: 100g
  • Saturated Fatty Acids (FA): 7.26 g
  • Monounsaturated FA: 59.7 g
  • AG Polyunsaturated: 26.9 g including AG Omega 3: 7.54 g
  • Vitamin E: 27.7mg
  • Vitamin K1: 71.3mg

Per 20g

  • Calories: 180 Calories
  • Lipids: 20g
  • Saturated Fatty Acids (FA): 1.45 g
  • Monounsaturated AG: 11.94 g
  • AG Polyunsaturated: 5.38 g including AG Omega 3: 1.5 g
  • Vitamin E: 5.54mg
  • Vitamin K1: 14.26mg

Nutritional analysis of rapeseed oil

With an intake of 900 Kcal/100 g, rapeseed oil is a high calorie food. “Only, it is very rare to consume 100 g (the recommended daily consumption is 2 to 4 teaspoons, or 20 g), but this oil is not more caloric than its counterparts based on olive, sunflower or even grapeseed or hemp”specifies Nathalie Negro.

The advantage of this oil? If it contains very few saturated fatty acids (some of which are involved, when consumed in excess, in health problems such as cardiovascular disorders), it is on the other hand very rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It contains 86% (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), and more particularly in so-called essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6. These lipids (including linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid) are essential for the proper functioning of our brain and our nervous system. Vegetable rapeseed oil is one of the most balanced oils in terms of unsaturated fatty acids, with a very good omega-6/omega-3 ratio, an asset for preventing the onset of certain diseases.

Rapeseed oil is also a source of active antioxidants (vitamin E, canolol, phytosterols). As for vitamins, rapeseed oil is a good source of vitamin K. This plays an important role in blood clotting and also contributes to bone formation. 20 g of rapeseed oil provide 20% of our daily requirements for this vitamin. Finally, 20 g cover half of our vitamin E needs. Antioxidant, it is essential for the protection of the membranes which surround the cells of the body, in particular the red blood cells and the white blood cells (cells of the immune system).

The benefits of rapeseed oil

With this composition, this vegetable oil has many virtues on our form and our health.

Rapeseed oil helps maintain heart health

It combines cardiovascular benefits. It is mainly composed of unsaturated fatty acids. These have the property of reducing blood lipid levels, in particular “bad cholesterol” (LDL) in favor of “good cholesterol” (HDL). But it is above all thanks to its richness in omega 3 that rapeseed oil has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. According to the Reduce-It study2, conducted in 2018 on 8,179 patients over the age of 45, their consumption significantly reduced the rate of myocardial infarction by 31%, cardiovascular mortality by 20% and the risk of stroke by 28%. In 2020, a meta-analysis conducted by English researchers showed that these essential fatty acids also reduced the risk of coronary death and coronary events.3. Their actions ? “Studies show that omega 3 fatty acids act on the reduction of triglyceride levels, and increase the fluidity of the blood, thus limiting the risk of blood clot formation. They also have an antioxidant action that protects the cardiovascular system from premature aging, thus preventing the development of ailments., explains Dr. Jean-François Renucci., vascular doctor at the CHU Timone, in Marseille. So, do not hesitate to use a fillet a day in your salads.

Rapeseed oil helps control blood sugar

Consumed as part of a low glycemic index diet, it helps people with type 2 diabetes to lower their blood sugar levels. These are the conclusions of a Canadian study presented at the 74th Congress of the American Diabetes Association and published in the journal Diabetes Care in June 20144. 141 people with this metabolic disease followed a low GI diet. Some had rapeseed oil supplementation, others did not. The results show that blood sugar levels fell by 0.47% in people supplemented with rapeseed oil, compared to 0.31% for the other group. Explanation: rapeseed oil increases sensitivity to insulin, a pancreatic hormone responsible for regulating blood glucose levels, thus normalizing blood sugar levels.

Rapeseed oil promotes the absorption of antioxidants

An American study shows that a vinaigrette prepared with rapeseed oil improved the assimilation of certain antioxidants from foods5. To reach this conclusion, the researchers asked 29 people to eat mixed salad seasoned with rapeseed oil or corn oil. Then they analyzed the level of vitamin A present in the blood of these volunteers. The results showed that people who consumed salad dressing made from rapeseed oil had higher blood vitamin A levels. An asset when you know that it has a protective effect on our vision and especially on premature cellular aging, responsible in particular for cancer.

Rapeseed oil helps prevent Alzheimer’s

A nutritional approach would be a promising strategy to prevent cognitive decline linked to Alzheimer’s disease and depression. And again, rapeseed oil could play a role in this due to its high omega 3 content. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients in June 20226, omega 3 significantly reduces the risk of developing this degenerative disease: for 7 years, American researchers measured the effects of these fatty acids on 1,490 people aged over 65. At the end of the study, the team found that those who had a high blood level of these fatty acids (6.1%) saw the risk of developing this disease reduced by 49%. As a bonus, they have the ability to save 4.7 years of dementia-free life. According to the researchers, these essential fatty acids are naturally present in the membranes of neurons and they contribute to the good physiological functioning of the brain by ensuring a good connection between them. Also, when it is lacking, brain functions work less well. To this effect is added that intense and chronic stress is neurotoxic. Omega 3s, thanks to their anti-inflammatory actions, have the property of opposing it, thus helping to protect against cognitive decline.

Rapeseed oil takes care of the beauty of skin and hair

Like olive oil, rapeseed oil can also be used directly on skin and hair. Its richness in fatty acids intensely nourishes the hair fiber and dry epidermis, while its antioxidant content is an asset in preventing the signs of aging. To take advantage of these benefits, you can use it as soon as you remove make-up, replacing your usual product: massaged into dry skin, its fatty substances attract and trap make-up particles. When rinsed, your skin is clear. Then applied to your own epidermis, it advantageously replaces your night cream thanks to its nutritive and anti-aging actions. On your hair, you can generously apply it to your lengths and ends to repair dry and damaged hair. Leave on for 30 minutes before washing them off.

There are two rapeseed oils: refined rapeseed oil and virgin rapeseed oil. The difference lies in the mode of extraction: during the first, the seeds of the flower undergo several stages in order to remove the impurities from the oil, to also deodorize it. In particular, they undergo a heating step, which slightly reduces the omega-3 fatty acid content of the oil but stabilizes it; while conversely, virgin rapeseed oil does not undergo any treatment and does not contain any other substance. While refined oil can be stored easily and for longer, it has less taste and somewhat altered nutritional properties, whereas virgin rapeseed oil retains all of its nutritional qualities and aromas.

However, refined rapeseed oil has the advantage of being able to be used in cooking, which is not the case with virgin oil. Ideally in seasoning, opt for an organic and virgin rapeseed oil. Organic farming guarantees healthy rapeseeds that are completely free of pesticides and GMOs. Finally, favor rapeseed oils packaged in cans or opaque glass bottles, in order to preserve its nutrients from oxidation caused by light. It should also be stored in the refrigerator, to protect it from any source of heat.

How much rapeseed oil should you consume each day?

The PNNS recommends consuming vegetable oils every day, in small quantities. “On average, 4 to 6 teaspoons (i.e. between 20 and 30 ml) per day, cooking and seasoning combined, by mixing the oils (rapeseed, flax, walnut, hemp, grapeseed, olive, etc.) in order to benefit from the values nutritional values ​​of each”recommends our expert.

Can you cook rapeseed oil?

It all depends on the oil you choose. It is not recommended to use virgin rapeseed oil for cooking because its smoke point (this is the temperature at which smoke is detected in the laboratory) is quite low: it is located at 107 ° when that of extra virgin olive and sunflower oils is at 160°. In addition, heated to high temperature, it develops cabbage aromas that are not always very popular. Ideally, this virgin oil is to be reserved for your cold preparations: for making your vinaigrette sauces, your mayonnaises or added in a drizzle on a dish of grilled vegetables, fish or pasta.

In contrast, refined rapeseed oil can be heated since its smoke point is over 200°. Therefore, this oil can be used to cook vegetables, meat and fish and integrate. Your culinary preparations such as cakes, pancakes, waffles…

Once opened, rapeseed oil must be stored in the refrigerator so as not to alter its nutritional qualities. Its omega 3 fatty acids being fragile, it is better to choose an opaque container or bottle, in order to preserve it from light which could make it rancid.

What are the contraindications to the consumption of rapeseed oil?

Like all oils, it is caloric. It is therefore better to avoid having an excessive consumption because an overdose of lipids leads to overweight and obesity.

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