Canola Oil vs. Olive Oil: Which One Is Better for Your Health?

By , Category : Food and Nutrition

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Canola Oil vs. Olive OilWe recently discussed the differences between canola oil and vegetable oil, and thought you might also like to know the differences between canola oil and olive oil.

A lot has been made about the nutritional benefits of both canola oil and olive oil. Both have been promoted to the public as healthy alternatives to other oils on the market. Although they both share similar health benefits, each of these oils have slightly different compositions and offer their own value.

Olive oil, for example, is just that. It is made out of the juices of ripe olives. Canola oil on the other hand, is a vegetable oil developed from a hybrid rapeseed plant or from canola seeds.

While the two can certainly be compared for overall health value, there are some differences in what each oil has to offer.


Differences Between Olive Oil and Canola Oil

1. Manufacturing process

One of the most significant differences between olive oil and canola oil occurs in the way each oil is manufactured. Olive oil is considered a fruit oil. This is because it is picked right from the olive tree before it is crushed and pressed for its juices.

The level of pressing determines the amount of nutrients in olive oil. The first press is what produces what we know as extra virgin olive oil. This means most nutrients are preserved in this press. Virgin olive oil is what comes out of the second press. Any further pressing is used for lighter olive oils.

2. Canola oil is not cold pressed

The opposite approach is taken when producing canola oil. It is not cold pressed like olive oil. It is developed at high heat and it incorporates a fairly complex manufacturing process that even uses some toxic chemicals. The full process has canola oil going through rounds of refinement, which includes deodorizing and bleaching.

3. Canola oil is lower in saturated fats

When comparing the different properties and health benefits of each oil, both canola oil and olive oil have their strong points. Canola oil is typically lower in saturated fats but high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are shown to have a positive effect on the heart.

4. Olive oil contains more nutrients

Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, contains more nutrients. It is antioxidant-rich and has strong levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Olive oil is considered beneficial for brain functioning along with heart health.

5. Taste

Taste is another difference that should be discussed. Olive oil has a distinct taste. This can be a positive when using it as a dressing for some salads or foods, but if you are cooking or baking, you may not want to include the taste of olive oil. Canola oil has no distinct flavour. That makes it the preferred choice for dishes where a neutral oil is needed.

Canola Oil vs. Olive Oil: Which is Healthier?

Trying to figure out whether canola oil or olive oil is healthier is slightly complicated. We’ve spoken about how both are manufactured and what each oil offers from a nutritional perspective—but which one is healthier?

  • The health benefits of canola oil: The manufacturing of canola oil leads some people to doubt its nutritional value. But canola oil is very much regulated and must comply with regulations in order to be considered safe for public distribution.
  • The health benefits of olive oil: Olive oil has a long history of use. It goes back thousands of years and has been accepted as a healthier and superior oil when compared to its other options. Olive oil is also commonly used in hair and skin care and for religious practices.
  • Olive oil can constrict blood flow: Some studies have shown that olive oil can slow or constrict blood flow; this can lead to an injury in the vessel’s lining and contribute to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries). Olive oil contains about 14% saturated fat, which is thought to be the reason why it can constrict blood flow. Canola oil, on the other hand, has a smaller concentration of saturated fats.

So, which oil is healthier: canola oil or olive oil? Overall, there really is no clear winner when it comes to which oil is healthier. The taste and natural process of creating olive oil is appealing to many people.

Others may find canola oil’s lower saturated fat levels more appealing. Both have their benefits, but keep in mind that both are oils, so essentially both need to be consumed in moderation. Whatever oil you choose depends on what you are cooking. Keep both in your cupboard and use each as needed.

Read Next:

Sources for Today’s Article:
“The Great Olive Oil Misconception — Dr. Ornish Responds,” Readers Digest web site;, last accessed December 9, 2015.
Crawford, N., “Canola Oil Compared to Olive Oil,”;, last accessed December 9, 2015.
“Olive Oil vs. Canola Oil” FitDay web site;, last accessed December 9, 2015.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »