The canola plant is a modified variety of rapeseed. When Canadian farmers began growing the crop in the 1980s, it was as a biodiesel fuel. It was valued for being low in saturated fats, which gave it excellent flow properties in cold weather. Today canola is also recognized for its exemplary heart-healthy profile. It has the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids and the best omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, about 2.5:1, of all common culinary oils [source: Canola Council of Canada; NutritionData]. It's also combined with corn or soybean oil to improve the omega content in blended products.
Canola oil's versatility helped it make our list. Culinary oils each have their own smoke point -- a temperature range where they start to degrade, or break down. Degraded oils impart an unpleasant taste and shorten the shelf life of foods they're used in. They may also be harmful to your health [source: Foster].
Most unsaturated fats have a relatively low smoke point. However, the canola used for oil is specifically bred to have a high smoke point, around 435 degrees Fahrenheit (223 degrees Celsius), meaning you can use it for frying and baking as well as drizzling over your salad.