Rx For Readers: Yes we canola

Rapeseed oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, some of which are vital for health.

Canola Oil  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Canola Oil
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
My wife objects every time I use canola (rapeseed) oil (always in moderate amounts) in food preparation. I checked the Internet, but I can’t get a definitive answer; some experts praise it, while others condemn it. Can you help us to resolve this family dispute? Is canola oil unhealthful?
Y.F., Beit Shemesh
Health Ministry spokesman Eyal Basson, after consulting with experts, replies:
The use of canola oil has been approved and recommended by leading health organizations all around the world and in Israel, as it is rich in monounsaturated fats, some of them vital for health. The oil is produced from rapeseed (whose name is not pleasant, but it is perfectly fine). Anyone can consume it together with other beneficial oils such as olive oil as part of a healthful and balanced diet.
I read in The Jerusalem Post a recent news story about research into non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma conducted by Prof. Ora Paltiel, director of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School for Public Health and Community Medicine. It compared risks for a type of lymphoma in Jews and Palestinian Arabs and said using black hair dye is a risk factor for the disease.
I am a 62-year-old man and have been dying my hair black for a decade. How is black hair dye, which I use, different from dark-brown hair dye? Is the dangerous component in all black hair dyes or only some brands? If black is dangerous, is it worthwhile now, after 10 years of use, to change color to reduce the risk of the blood cancer?
P.T., Tel Aviv
Prof. Ora Paltiel comments:
In studies around the world, the main finding regarding black hair dye has been regarding hair dye that was in use before 1980 that had compounds in it that could cause cancer. These products are no longer on the shelf in North America and Europe.
We do not know everything about current products, including the last 10 years, but they are probably safer. Our study participants were asked about use in general, so we don’t know if they were using the old or new products.
Furthermore the finding was stronger among the Palestinians, so perhaps the products they use are more toxic.
I am three months pregnant (my first pregnancy) and received via email information about a for-pay website for pregnant women that uses “virtual rooms” for “live” group counseling by “experts” on pregnancy. Is such information enough, or should women register for a childbirth course at the hospital where she wants to deliver?
M.N., Ashdod
Wendy Blumfield, a longtime prenatal teacher and breastfeeding counselor, answers:
I think that websites like this are useful for general information that can also be obtained from up-to-date books. At one time, everyone read the big names in childbirth education like Sheila Kitzinger and Penny Simkin and, on a less academic level, books like What to Expect by qualified breastfeeding counselors and others, because they were updated and reissued every couple of years.
Those books are still useful and nice to keep on the shelf for reference. But in today’s publishing world, websites are much easier to update than the printed word, so such a site can give instant answers to questions from concerned, expectant and new parents – provided the people running it are suitably qualified.
Having said that, nothing replaces the on-site childbirth preparation course given in small groups of like-minded people by appropriately trained counselors, and nothing replaces a home visit by a qualified counselor to a new mother having problems breastfeeding.
From my experience of working with small groups for over 40 years, groups that have been specially created – for couples or for single mothers or for religious women whose husbands will not meet in a mixed forum or sometimes just one-to-one with a couple with special needs – the dynamic between the group members or between the clients and the counselor is the key to a much more thorough preparation. I can sometimes tell by people’s body language that although they seem to have absorbed a piece of information, they don’t really understand it or accept it.
Eye contact and body language are ingredients that one does not get online or for that matter in the large groups that meet for “marathon” courses in the public sector.
This is particularly relevant for the men who attend these courses, because they are less likely to search these websites and be more passive, feeling that if they actually do log on, it is only to please the partner.
In a small group, he has an opportunity to speak more frankly about his concerns.
And the other magic ingredient is the support the clients give one another.
One woman or her partner may not know how they can express concern about some issue, until somebody else brings it up – and then she is so relieved that she is not alone.
I’m probably biased in my opinion, but I do feel that the chemistry in a small group of expectant parents cannot be replaced by online programs.
Prof. Eliezer Shalev, MD, a veteran obstetrician/ gynecologist of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine in Haifa, adds:
Such an online service could help, but it doesn’t replace actually going to a course and physical contact with the counselors.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting.
Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538- 9527, or email it to jsiegel@jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.