Canola oil is a seed oil made from the seed of any of the several kinds of rape plants belonging to the mustard family. Olive oil, as the names clearly suggest, is the extract from olives — the fruit of the olive tree - and is considered a fruit oil. Olive oil is usually pressed cold to retain the natural nutrients in the extract (and thereby has some excellent health benefits), while canola oil is processed and refined at high temperatures, often involving hexane and other chemicals.
edit Effect on Health
Olive oil helps build immunity and can fight diseases like heart disease, cancer, blood pressure and obesity. Olive oil is also used in the popular Mediterranean diet which is recognized as one of the healthiest diets in the world.
Although canola oil claims to and have many health benefits and ward off heart diseases, it has recently come under a lot of flak for being grown from genetically modified crops and undergoing a manufacturing process of high heat, mechanical pressing and solvent extraction. It further goes through a chemically involved process of bleaching and degumming. Taking this into consideration, olive oil is a healthier alternative to canola oil.
Canola oil is primarily used for cooking due to its low saturated fat content and as an environmental friendly fuel in the form of biodiesel.
Olive oil is used for cooking and dipping on account of its high monounsaturated content and is very popular in skincare related products.
edit Saturated Fats
Foods high in saturated fats have been linked to Coronary heart disease. Canola Oil boasts of having extremely low amounts of saturated fat at 7% but Olive Oil had a saturated fat content of 14% which is double that of Canola Oil.
edit Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats are good fats which reduces bad cholesterol in the body. Canola Oil has 63% of monounsaturated fat while Olive Oil has a higher rate of monounsaturated fat at 72 %.
edit Trans Fats and Cholesterol
Both Canola Oil and Olive Oil do not contain Trans fat and cholesterol. This might not be always true because the FDA allows products which have less than 0.5 grams of trans fat to be labeled as zero trans fat.
edit How it's Made
Canola oil and olive oil are have very different manufacturing processes. Olive oil is considered a fruit oil as it's made from the fruit of the olive tree. Ripe olives are crushed and pressed, generally at cold temperatures to maintain the nutritional integrity. The extraction constitutes olive oil. Oil extraction from the very first press is called extra virgin olive oil; that of the next extraction is virgin olive oil, and all subsequent presses constitute light or "pure" olive oil - the light and pure versions actually undergo more processing and refining.
Unlike olive oil, canola oil is manufactured at high temperatures using a mechanical process that may involve toxic chemicals. Canola oil is degummed, deodorized, bleached and further refined at high temperatures, which can change the omega-3 content of the oil and can significantly raise its concentrations of trans fatty acids and saturated fats.
edit Non-food Uses
Olive Oil is used as a skin moisturizer, exfoliator and in nail care. It is also used in hair products and beauty applications.
Canola is also used to make alternative environmental friendly fuel which can be used in place of diesel.
The word “Canola” comes from the word Canada and Ola (Oil).The Canola Plant was cultivated as a naturally bred variation of the rapeseed plant by Canadian scientists in the early 1970’s. The Olive tree and Olives are debated to be as old as 6000 years. References to Olive Oil can be found in ancient mythology and religious ceremonies. Most of the world’s Olive Oil production takes place in the Mediterranean region.