Safflower oil can regulate blood sugar levels, lower LDL cholesterol, and promote skin health. We show you other benefits and possible adverse effects.
Safflower is an oily plant, i.e. oil is extracted from its seeds or fruits. Safflower oil has several gastronomic and industrial uses.
Although initially used as a dye, spice, or substitute for aniline, the practice of extracting oil from its seeds has spread since the 1950s.
Both edible and essential oils bring interesting benefits. While the former is a source of unsaturated fatty acids, the latter helps treat various skin ailments, such as acne and eczema.
Nutritional characteristics of safflower oil
There are 2 types of safflower oil: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Each contains active compounds that give it specific nutritional characteristics. Let’s see them in detail.
Monounsaturated safflower oil
It is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid of the omega 9 series resistant to high temperatures without losing its nutrients.
The smoke point of monounsaturated safflower oil differs from other more popular ones, such as that of corn, olive, or canola, making it a healthier substitute.
Likewise, there are those who argue that it may be better to cook, as its taste, color, and smell are neutral.
Polyunsaturated safflower oil
This oil is also rich in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid of the omega 6 series which is more sensitive than the previous one and, therefore, must not be exposed to high temperatures.
In this case, if you want to avoid oxidation, you must store it in cold places such as the refrigerator and avoid exposure to light. Generally, polyunsaturated safflower oil is sold as a nutritional supplement, as its linoleic acid levels are high.
Keep in mind that Omega 6 is essential for the proper functioning of the body and due to our inability to produce it, it is necessary to take it through food.
What are the uses of safflower oil?
Safflower oil can be used to make white oil paint and other light tones. But there are many other uses, including those related to medicine. Find out more about this substance.
On the skin
Because it is credited with potential skin health benefits, safflower oil is on the ingredient list of a variety of cosmetics. If you intend to use them, you just have to follow the instructions.
However, in its pure, edible, and body versions, it can be applied directly to the skin. If it is essential oil it must be diluted before being used. How to do it? Adding a few drops of carrier oil. Jojoba and grape seeds are recommended for their effectiveness on oily skin.
Finally, thanks to the fact that it is considered a safe oil, it can be applied every day.Also remember that essential oils are more potent, as their use is in the short term.
In the kitchen
Monounsaturated safflower oil has a smoke point of approximately 232 degrees Celsius, which makes it resistant to oxidation. It is therefore an excellent option for cooking at high temperatures, i.e. for frying, grilling, or roasting. Likewise, it stands out because it changes the flavor and aroma of food and prevents the formation of free radicals.
On the other hand, polyunsaturated safflower oil is used for dressing salads and other raw dishes, as well as for simmering. In the latter case, you have to be careful, as it oxidizes quickly.
Health benefits of safflower oil
So far we have listed some of the benefits of safflower oil. Below we present the ones proven by science:
1. Source of fatty acids
Safflower oil is a source of unsaturated fatty acids (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) that play a vital role in the functioning of the body.
This type of good fats are involved in hormonal regulation, memory processes, and the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Furthermore, they are capable of leaving a greater feeling of satiety.
On the other hand, safflower oil also contains saturated fat, often considered unhealthy or bad. However, its levels are much lower than those of other popular oils, such as olive, avocado, and sunflower oils.
Therefore, a diet high in good fats and low in bad fats is the key to achieving numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation and a healthier heart.
2. Stabilizes blood sugar levels
A study published in the journal PLoS Medicine showed that a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids helps keep glucose levels in check.
According to the study, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones (especially polyunsaturated fatty acids) significantly improved blood sugar levels, insulin secretion, and resistance.
Similarly, a study published in Clinical Nutrition found that consuming 8 grams of safflower oil for 4 months can reduce inflammation and improve glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
For this reason, researchers have found that combining a diet high in good fats with diabetes treatments is an effective way to reduce the typical complications of the condition.
3. Lowers cholesterol levels and promotes heart health
The same study published in Clinical Nutrition found that using safflower oil for 4 months helped reduce cholesterol levels. This certifies that unsaturated fats can reduce LDL or bad cholesterol.
Without a doubt, this is not the only form in which this substance can aid heart health. The unsaturated fatty acids present in safflower oil prevent the plaques from clumping, thus preventing the formation of clots that can put you at risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
4. Natural anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation can cause heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer. Thankfully, there is scientific evidence that safflower oil has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce important markers associated with cellular hyperactivity reactions.
5. Improve skin health
Since it can moisturize and soothe itching, as well as other dry skin symptoms, it is a popular ingredient in skincare products.
It contains anti-inflammatory properties and is a source of vitamin E. A nutrient that, according to a study published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, can help treat skin infections such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, as well as scarring of the wounds.
Side effects of safflower oil
Safflower oil is always sure that the recommended doses are not exceeded. In an adult they are:
- Women aged 19 to 30: 6 tsp.
- Men aged 19 to 30: 7 tsp.
- Men over 30: 6 tsp.
On the other hand, people with bleeding disorders and close to surgery should avoid using this oil, as it can impact clotting and increase the risk of suffering from bleeding.
As for topical use, it is recommended to do a test to determine the reaction on the skin.To do this, a small amount is applied to the forearm and waits for 24 to 48 hours. In case no rash or irritation occurs then it can be applied.
Safflower oil: an important source of unsaturated fats
Traditionally, this plant was grown to be used as a dye. However, currently, the importance is given to its seeds, which allow obtaining a highly sought-after oil.
The reason? It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and can be found in 2 forms: monounsaturated (capable of withstanding high temperatures without losing nutrients) and polyunsaturated (the oil with the highest source of linoleic acid on the market).
These unsaturated fats, along with other compounds, are responsible for benefits such as controlling blood sugar levels, lowering LDL cholesterol, and healthier skin.
As for its contradictions, it must be consumed respecting the margin of the recommended doses and the patch-test must be done before topical use. People with bleeding problems and who need to undergo surgery will need to avoid this.