Canola Oil vs Olive Oil: Which is Healthier

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Choosing between canola oil vs olive oil can be a tough choice, but there are some clear qualities of these oils that should make the choice an easy one.

Canola Oil vs Olive Oil

Canola and olive oils are two of the most popular oils in the kitchen, and while they do share some qualities, a deeper investigation is certainly warranted.

Canola Oil

  • This vegetable oil is made from a variety of the rapeseed plant, and typically undergoes extensive chemical processing, and is often done at high temperatures, including the addition of the hexane chemical.
  • Canola oil is also deodorized and bleached, all of which can damage the nutrient content of the oil, despite the benefits of improving the flavor and removing excess toxins. [1]
  • Canola oil is known to be quite good for heart health and has approximately 120 calories in each tablespoon, a number that is quite similar to olive oil.
  • There is a good amount of fat found in canola oil, but there is a limited amount of saturated fats. However, this oil has a good amount of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are known to improve heart health and act as an antioxidant in the body, lowering the risk of chronic disease. Canola has only 7% saturated fat, 31% polyunsaturated fat, and roughly 62% monounsaturated fat. [2]
  • The smoke point of canola oil is approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and due to its mild, almost neutral flavor, it is often preferred as a cooking oil.
Canola oil vs olive oil

Canola oil can be used for stir-frying and olive oil can be used for deep-frying. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Olive Oil

  • Olive oil is a globally beloved oil made by pressing olives, and there is a range of olive oil varieties, from highly refined olive oil to extra virgin olive oil.
  • The more highly refined olive oils will have undergone more chemical processing and will similarly lose much of its nutrient content, such as polyphenols and other omega-3 fatty acids. [3]
  • Extra virgin and virgin olive oil are widely considered healthier than canola oil.
  • Olive oil does contain more saturated fat than canola oil, but the higher concentration of polyphenolic compounds and the good amount of monounsaturated fats does help to balance out this difference.
  • The health benefits of olive oil exceed those of canola oil, as it has been directly linked to regulating diabetic symptoms in the body, thanks to its stimulation of adiponectin production. Furthermore, olive oil has legendary anti-inflammatory effects, which can help those with arthritis, as well as those with chronic inflammation, who are at such high risk of chronic disease. [4]
  • Olive oil is also popularly applied to the hair and topically to the skin for its health benefits and rich vitamin E content.
  • In terms of the taste of olive oil, it is a bit more reminiscent of olives, particularly the healthier extra virgin varieties. For that reason, olive oil is also seen as a better oil for dressing or to be included in sauces, rather than as a cooking oil.
  • The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is also 375 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly lower than canola oil. [5] Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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