Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil vs Canola Oil: Ancient vs Science

When it comes to versatile oils with a wide range of applications, coconut oil and canola oil stand out as popular choices in various industries. From culinary delights to cosmetics and even biofuel production, these oils have earned their place as multifunctional resources. Cited from Market Watch, the global Canola oil market size was valued at USD 29.1 billion in 2022, much larger than coconut oil market size at USD 4.9 billion.

In this article, we’re going on a journey to discover what makes coconut oil and canola oil so special. These oils are like all-around powerhouses, doing wonders not only in the kitchen but also for our skin and even in industrial settings. We’ll dive deep into their fascinating world of uses, from adding flavor to our favorite dishes to being a secret ingredient in our beauty routines.

Coconut Oil vs Canola oil: Chemical Profile & Origin

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts and has a distinctive composition that sets it apart from other oils. On the other hand, Canola oil is derived from the seeds of the canola plant (Brassica napus). The name “canola” is actually a combination of “Canada” and “ola,” which stands for “oil low acid.” Here are the difference of their fatty acid profile.

Fatty AcidCoconut Oil (%)Canola oil (%)
C6 (Caproic acid)~0.5~0.1
C8 (Caprylic acid)~7.0~0.1
C10 (Capric acid)~9.0~0.1
C12 (Lauric acid)~49.0~0.1
C14 (Myristic acid)~16.5~0.2
C16 (Palmitic acid)~8.03 – 8
C16:1 (Palmitoleic acid)~00.1 – 3.5
C18 (Stearic acid)~2.51 – 5
C18:1 (Oleic acid)~5.850 – 65
C18:2 (Linoleic acid)~1.815 – 30
C18:3 (Linolenic acid)~0.2~1.5

Coconut Oil: Saturated with saturated fat

Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, containing primarily medium-chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. The oil is well known for its antimicrobial properties.

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Coconut oil has been widely utilized in tropical regions, particularly in Southeast Asia, where the coconut palm is indigenous. Its historical use dates to 4,000 BC, when the Indus Valley civilization incorporated coconut oil into their practices. This versatile oil held significant importance for the ancient Egyptians, who not only used it for cooking but also recognized its medicinal properties. Throughout the centuries, coconut oil has remained an integral part of traditional practices in these regions, showcasing its enduring value and cultural significance.

Canola oil: Mostly Unsaturated Fat

Unlike coconut oil, canola oil is a rich source of unsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid and linoleic acid. These fatty acids are also known as omega-9 and omega-6, respectively. Canola oil also contains vitamin E and vitamin K, providing 16% and 12% of the daily recommended needs with one tablespoon.

Other examples of oleic acid rich oils are olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil and sesame oil.

coconut oil vs canola oil: ancient vs modern science

Canola oil can be coined as a “baby” oil, in a sense that it doesn’t have thousands of years of history behind it yet. In the mid-1970s in Canada, researchers and agricultural experts worked tirelessly to develop what we now know as canola oil. They wanted to create a better version of rapeseed oil, which was widely used but had some not-so-great components like erucic acid and glycosylates that weren’t very friendly to our bodies. So, they embarked on a mission to breed a new type of rapeseed with lower levels of these unwanted elements.

After years of hard work and dedication, they succeeded in creating a healthier and more mild-flavored oil that we now call canola oil. This amazing breakthrough made canola oil a hit in kitchens around the globe, becoming a top choice for cooking and finding its way into countless food products and industrial applications. It’s incredible how one simple idea and some persistent efforts could lead to such a game-changer in the world of oils!

Cooking with Coconut Oil vs Canola oil

Coconut Oil’s Smoke Point

With a high smoke point that can reach can reach 204⁰C or 400⁰F, coconut oil is ideal for low to high-heat cooking methods like sautéing, baking, and deep frying. Refined coconut oil can even be reused after frying due to its stability against oxidative destruction, although not indefinitely.

Coconut Oil’s Cooking Techniques

Refined coconut oil proves to be a highly versatile cooking oil, suitable for a wide range of culinary techniques. Thanks to its high smoke point and neutral taste, it seamlessly adapts to both savory and sweet dishes. Let’s explore some common cooking methods where refined coconut oil shines:

  1. Sautéing: Refined coconut oil works wonders for sautéing vegetables, meat, seafood, and tofu. Its high smoke point ensures a stable cooking process at medium to high heat without any unpleasant smoke.
  2. Stir-frying: With its exceptional ability to withstand high temperatures, refined coconut oil is an excellent choice for stir-frying. It imparts a delicate coconut aroma to the dish, enhancing the overall flavors harmoniously.
  3. Frying: When it comes to deep frying, like preparing crispy tempura or indulging in delectable doughnuts and desserts, refined coconut oil proves to be a reliable and delightful option.

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  1. Baking: Refined coconut oil can be a substitute for other cooking oils or butter in baking recipes. It works well in muffins, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods, adding a hint of coconut flavor.
  2. Roasting: When roasting vegetables or meats in the oven, you can use refined coconut oil to coat them before cooking. It helps enhance the flavors and adds a light coconut essence to the dish.
  3. Popcorn: Refined coconut oil can be used to pop popcorn on the stovetop. Its neutral flavor allows the popcorn’s taste to shine, and the slight coconut aroma can be a delightful addition.
  4. Pan-frying: Use refined coconut oil to pan-fry foods like pancakes, fritters, or breaded dishes. Its high smoke point ensures that the food cooks evenly without absorbing excess oil.
  5. No-bake treats: In recipes for no-bake treats like energy bars, granola bars, or raw desserts, refined coconut oil can act as a binding agent and provide a subtle coconut taste.

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Coconut Oil’s Shelf Life

Refined coconut oil has a shelf life of 2 years when stored properly. The oil can solidify in cool rooms because it has a melting point of 76 – 78°F (24 – 25°C).

Canola oil’s Smoke Point

Refined canola oil has a relatively high smoke point, typically ranging from 400°F to 450°F (204°C to 232°C). Generally, the high smoke point ensures that the oil retains its nutritional properties and mild flavor, making it ideal for preparing delicious and healthy dishes without imparting unwanted burnt flavors.

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Is Higher Smoke Point Better?

Indeed, the smoke point is just one aspect to bear in mind when using oil for high-temperature cooking. Another critical factor is the oxidative stability of the oil, which indicates how well it can withstand heat without producing harmful compounds.

When we say an oil is stable, it means it won’t undergo rapid chemical reactions that could lead to the formation of unhealthy substances. Therefore, it’s essential to consider both the smoke point and the oxidative stability of the oil to ensure safe and healthy cooking practices, especially when subjecting the oil to high temperatures.

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Fascinatingly, an Australian study found that seed oils such as canola oil, grapeseed, and sunflower oil were the least stable when heated. This is because canola oil contains mostly unsaturated fatty acid, which is less stable than saturated fatty acid, as well as less antioxidants to combat the oxidation result.

Canola oil’s Cooking Techniques

Considering what the study pointed out, it seems like using canola oil for low to medium-heat cooking methods would be a better idea. You can also drizzle it as a finishing touch in salads and other uncooked dishes, where you don’t have to worry so much about it getting oxidized. Nevertheless, cooking should still be fun and delicious, no matter which oil you choose!

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Canola oil’s Shelf Life

Refined Canola oil typically has a shelf life of 24 months when stored properly.

Health Benefits: Coconut Oil vs Canola oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a popular ingredient in health products, and its benefits are truly impressive! Packed with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) like lauric acid, it has a reputation for boosting energy levels and supporting weight management by keeping us feeling full and firing up our metabolism. Not to mention, MCTs are a quick energy source for our body and brain, easily digested and absorbed.

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But that’s not all – one of the most fascinating things about coconut oil is its potential in the form of monolaurin. When our body digests lauric acid, it can convert it into monolaurin, a powerful compound with antimicrobial properties. Monolaurin may help our body fight off harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi, making it a fantastic ally in keeping us healthy. So, as we enjoy coconut oil’s incredible benefits in health products, let’s also appreciate its monolaurin potential and embrace its goodness in our wellness journey! Remember to consume it in moderation, as coconut oil does contain saturated fats, and further research is needed to fully understand all the ways it can positively impact our well-being.

Canola oil

Canola oil is a popular and beloved option in health products, and for good reason! It brings a bunch of impressive benefits to the table. With its fantastic balance of fats, including both heart-friendly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, canola oil can do wonders for your cardiovascular health and may even help improve your cholesterol levels. And talk about versatile – you can use it for all sorts of cooking techniques, and its mild flavor won’t steal the show from your delicious dishes.

While it might not have the same lauric acid and monolaurin superpowers as coconut oil, canola oil has its own unique perks. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, it’s a little warrior against inflammation, keeping you feeling great overall. Of course, like any oil, don’t go overboard – it’s pretty calorie-dense, so just a little goes a long way. But adding canola oil to your health products can be a clever move to elevate your cooking and take care of your heart. And don’t forget, a balanced diet and expert advice from healthcare pros are always the recipe for success!

Skincare Uses

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has earned a well-deserved place as a prominent ingredient in skincare products due to its impressive array of benefits. Its natural emollient properties make it highly effective in moisturizing the skin, making it a valuable addition to creams, lotions, and balms, especially for combating dryness and enhancing overall hydration.

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Thanks to its abundance of medium-chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid, coconut oil possesses valuable antimicrobial attributes, making it a suitable choice for skincare products targeting acne and skin infections. However, it is crucial to exercise caution, as coconut oil may have a comedogenic effect for certain individuals, potentially leading to pore-clogging. It is advisable to carefully review product labels and consider individual skin type and sensitivity before incorporating coconut oil-based skincare products into one’s routine to ensure a positive and effective experience.

Canola oil

Canola oil is also a highly regarded ingredient in skincare products, offering a range of remarkable benefits. Its natural emollient properties make it a reliable moisturizer, making it a valuable addition to creams, lotions, and balms to combat dry skin and improve overall hydration. The favorable balance of fats in canola oil, with both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, contributes to its beneficial effects on the skin’s barrier function and may help maintain skin health.

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Additionally, canola oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, attributed to its composition of fatty acids, make it a suitable choice for products targeting skin irritations and redness. Furthermore, canola oil contains vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that aids in protecting the skin from oxidative stress and environmental damage, promoting a more youthful and radiant appearance. As with any skincare ingredient, it is essential to be mindful of individual skin type and potential sensitivities when incorporating canola oil-based products into a skincare routine to ensure optimal results and compatibility.

Haircare Benefits: Coconut Oil vs Canola oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a beloved and versatile gem in the world of haircare, bringing a wealth of benefits to our locks. Thanks to its natural emollient properties, coconut oil deeply hydrates and moisturizes our hair, making it a perfect remedy for dry, damaged, or frizzy locks. The secret lies in its lauric acid content, which forms a protective shield around our hair proteins, preventing protein loss and safeguarding our tresses from daily wear and tear. Plus, with its antimicrobial powers, coconut oil comes to the rescue against scalp issues like dandruff and fungal infections. That’s why you’ll often find coconut oil as a star ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and serums, all working their magic to give us smoother, shinier, and more manageable hair. So, if you’re looking to give your hair some extra love and care, adding coconut oil to your regular haircare routine is a fantastic choice. Embrace the natural goodness and say hello to gorgeous, healthy-looking locks!

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Canola oil

Canola oil is gaining recognition as a valuable ingredient in haircare products, offering unique benefits for hair health. Its light texture and moisturizing properties make it an excellent choice, particularly for those with fine or easily weighed-down hair. Canola oil helps nourish and condition the hair, leaving it soft and easy to manage.

Furthermore, its richness in omega-6 fatty acids contributes to the overall health of the scalp and hair follicles, supporting healthy hair growth and minimizing issues like dryness and breakage. The versatility of canola oil allows it to be used in various hair products, including shampoos, conditioners, hair oils, and leave-in treatments. As with any haircare ingredient, it’s essential to consider individual hair type and needs to determine the best-suited products containing canola oil for optimal results and hair care benefits.

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Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has garnered attention as a potential feedstock for biofuel production. As a renewable and biodegradable resource, coconut oil offers an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fossil fuels. The oil’s high saturated fat content makes it a suitable candidate for biodiesel production through a process called transesterification, where the oil is converted into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME).

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Coconut oil biodiesel exhibits good combustion characteristics and can be blended with petrodiesel or used as a standalone fuel in diesel engines. However, challenges remain, such as ensuring sustainable sourcing practices, managing competition with other industries that utilize coconut oil, and addressing concerns about land use changes. Research and development efforts are ongoing to optimize the production and utilization of coconut oil as a biofuel, contributing to the pursuit of cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions.

Canola Oil

Canola oil has emerged as a promising contender in the realm of biofuel production. Its renewable nature and low greenhouse gas emissions make it an environmentally favorable alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Canola oil can be converted into biodiesel via transesterification, where the oil is transformed into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Canola oil’s unsaturated fats are beneficial for biodiesel production as they possess better cold-flow properties and oxidative stability compared to saturated fats.

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Biodiesel derived from canola oil also exhibits good combustion properties and can be blended with regular diesel or used as a standalone fuel in diesel engines. Its widespread availability and relatively low cost also contribute to its potential as a viable biofuel source. However, like any biofuel, careful consideration must be given to sustainable sourcing practices and potential impacts on food production and land use. Continued research and development efforts are essential to optimize canola oil’s biofuel production and utilization, supporting the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions.


Both coconut oil and Canola oil offer distinct advantages and can be valuable additions to your culinary options, skin care products, as well as greener future. Coconut oil’ saturated fat is complementary to canola oil’s unsaturated fat content.

Ultimately, the choice between coconut oil and canola oil depends on specific needs and preferences in each domain. Both oils bring valuable contributions to various fields, and careful consideration of their unique advantages and limitations allows us to make informed decisions for optimal outcomes in cooking, skincare, haircare, and biofuel applications.

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