The importance of fat in the diet has undergone a dramatic rehabilitation in recent years by nutritionists and physicians.
This research discovered evidence of the beneficial properties of specific vegetable oils, especially the health benefits of rape seed oil.
Notably nutritionally valuable
- According to nutritionists, rape seed oil is the edible oil with the most balanced ratio of saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Of all edible oils, rape seed oil has the lowest levels of saturated fatty acids which are known to increase blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart and circulatory diseases.
- Rape seed oil has the highest percentage of unsaturated fatty acids. The most significant is the single unsaturated oleic acid which has a positive influence on the blood lipid levels, protects the arteries and therefore acts against arteriosclerosis.
- Rape seed oil has an optimal percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are known as essential, i.e. the body cannot generate them itself and can only get them through foods.
- Rape seed oil has the highest content of Omega III fatty acids of all commonly used vegetable oils. Omega III fatty acids are the focus of nutritional science worldwide because they reduce the risk of heart attack.
- Rape seed oil has an extremely high content of natural vitamin E. This acts as an antioxidant and could help prevent cancer.
Nutritional assessment by Prof. Dr. Kurt Widhalm
The eating habits of Central Europe are characterised by excessive energy intake, based above all on increased fat intake but also by excessive consumption of easily digestible carbohydrates.
Through this diet and the often sedentary activity (too little physical activity), degenerative atherosclerotic diseases (calcification of the blood vessels, heart attack, stroke, blood circulation, etc.) are clearly promoted.
In particular the composition of the fats ingested with the food in turn influences the blood levels of blood lipids, which can - when displaying an unfavourable pattern in quantity and composition - promote the progression of the degenerative atherosclerotic process.
The LDL-particle (low density lipoprotein) plays a major role here as this lipoprotein is strongly influenced by nutritional factors and accelerates the degenerative process.
A healthy diet that can maintain a healthy life and counteract alterations in the blood vessels is characterised by the following criteria:
1) Moderate energy intake which is adapted to physical activity with the aim of avoiding overweight.
2) Particular low intake especially of so-called saturated fats (most commonly found in animal products) and intake of a well balanced proportion of mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
3) Relatively high intake of complex carbohydrates especially from wholemeal products, vegetables and fruit etc.
Saturated fats can significantly increase the atherogenic LDL-particle, however fats with a high content of mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids could counteract this process, i.e. can lower an elevated LDL.
A specific favourable effect in this respect is attributed to the most important representative of mono-unsaturated fatty acids; oleic: fats or oils with a high content of these acids lower LDL on the one hand and increase the HDL-particle on the other.
Due to well documented scientific studies of recent years, rape seed oil due to its high content of oleic acid has increased beneficial effects on blood lipids, in particular by lowering the LDL-particle and increasing the HDL.
Thus the use of rape seed oil in the context of a balanced healthy diet is highly important, which could contribute to achieving a favourable blood lipoprotein pattern.
This is a desirable target for both people without special risk factors and a particularly important dietary measure for those who require a special diet due to a congenital metabolic disturbance or a family-related risks.
A healthy and sustainable diet should also taste good and be enjoyable; using rape seed oil could make this goal achievable.
Univ. Prof. Dr. Kurt Widhalm
University of Vienna