Canola oil-based diets have been shown to reduce plasma cholesterol levels in comparison with diets containing higher levels of saturated fatty acids. Consumption of canola oil also influences biological functions that affect various other biomarkers of disease risk. Previous reviews have focused on the health effects of individual components of canola oil. Here, the objective is to address the health effects of intact canola oil, as this has immediate practical implications for consumers, nutritionists, and others deciding which oil to consume or recommend. A literature search was conducted to examine the effects of canola oil consumption on coronary heart disease, insulin sensitivity, lipid peroxidation, inflammation, energy metabolism, and cancer cell growth. Data reveal substantial reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as other positive actions, including increased tocopherol levels and improved insulin sensitivity, compared with consumption of other dietary fat sources. In summary, growing scientific evidence supports the use of canola oil, beyond its beneficial actions on circulating lipid levels, as a health-promoting component of the diet.
© 2013 International Life Sciences Institute.