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Rapeseed is a distinctive food crop, and fields of yellow flowering rapeseed are a common sight in temperate countries. The rapeseed plant is a member of the cabbage or mustard family, and is also referred to as oilseed rape, rapa or rapaseed. Sometimes sold as "canola" oil, rapeseed is one of the world's leading vegetable-oil sources.
The USDA's National Nutrient Database indicates that low erucic acid rapeseed oil, sold as canola oil, is 100 percent fat and contains 884 calories in every 100 g. There is no carbohydrate, protein, dietary fiber or sugar present in rapeseed oil. Vitamins K and E -- as tocopherol -- are present in significant quantities, but there are no significant amounts of other major vitamins or minerals present in the oil. A 14 g tablespoon-sized serving of rapeseed oil contains 14 g of fat and 124 calories.
Of the fat present in rapeseed oil, approximately 7 percent is saturated. Some 63 percent is monounsaturated fat, and 28 percent is polyunsaturated fat. In terms of your cardiovascular and overall health, saturated fats are typically considered the least healthy of these three types, while polyunsaturated fats are usually considered the most healthy. Fat consumption -- in moderation -- is necessary in order for your body to absorb vitamins fully, according to the online medical encyclopedia MedlinePlus.
The nutritional benefits of rapeseed oil include its low saturated fat content and high unsaturated fat content. Vitamin E, present in rapeseed oil, has antioxidant properties which may help protect your body against cancer or cardiovascular disease. One tbsp. of rapeseed oil contains 2.4 mg of vitamin E, roughly 16 percent of the adult daily recommended intake. Vitamin K is important for bone health and promoting coagulation of the blood.
The nutritional disadvantages of rapeseed oil stem from its high fat content and the absence of important nutrients such as protein and vitamins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foods do not meet standards for minimum nutritional value unless they contain 5 percent of the adult daily recommended intake of eight key nutrients in every serving. These key nutrients include protein and certain vitamins which are absent from rapeseed oil. Therefore, rapeseed oil -- like most oil products -- is considered a food of minimal nutritional value. Rapeseed oil has nutritional benefits, but should not be a significant part of your overall diet. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adjusting your diet to include any substantial amount of this oil.
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