Safflower Oil is a popular multi-purpose oil present in many Indian households, used commonly in cooking as well as for skin moisturization and massages. Extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant, it has several health benefits and applications. In this article, we will explore the various uses and the benefits of Safflower Oil.
Uses of Safflower Oil:
Historically, Safflower has been used in Ancient Egypt to make colour dyes and garlands. They’ve also been used as an alternative to Saffron in New Mexican cuisine. Kautilya’s Arthashastra (300 BC) also talks about the use of safflower in the country.
For the past five decades or so, safflower seeds have been primarily used for the extraction of oil. Safflower oil is traditionally extracted using the wooden cold press method, wherein dried safflower seeds are pressed in a wood churner to extract pure cold pressed oil.
- Cooking: Since Safflower oil has a high smoking point, it is a great choice for cooking at higher temperatures. The oil’s neutral flavour and odourless nature make it suitable for pan frying, deep frying, baking, sautéing, and salad dressing.
- Skin: Safflower oil acts as a moisturizer for your body and can treat inflammation on the skin. It’s also a remedy for itching and acne.
- Cosmetics: As safflower oil is colourless and odourless, it is used in the preparation of cosmetic products.
- Painting: Apart from using dried safflower to create natural dyes, safflower oil is also used in painting. As the oil itself does not have any tint of its own, the shade of the colour remains the same.
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Health Benefits of Safflower Oil
Safflower Oil offers a wide variety of health benefits and is considered to be a heart-healthy oil.
It is loaded with Healthy Fats:
There are two different varieties of safflower oil – high oleic and high linoleic. Both have an abundance of unsaturated fatty acids, including monounsaturated (13%) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (77%). These are regarded to be good fats, making safflower oil a healthy addition to your diet.
It is a rich source of Vitamin E and Antioxidants.
Safflower Oil is rich in Vitamin E as well as antioxidants. It is helpful in preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and premature aging. It also strengthens your guts and offers relief from constipation. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
It helps control blood sugar levels.
Scientists have found that safflower oil helps increase the production of the hormone called adiponectin. This hormone helps control the blood sugar level and lowers insulin levels. This makes safflower oil a safe choice for diabetics.
It is a heart-healthy oil.
The unsaturated fatty acids present in safflower oil lower the level of bad cholesterol in your body. Safflower oil also prevents blood clots, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Overall, it is a very heart-healthy oil.
It is good for your skin.
Safflower oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces inflammation and moisturizes your skin. As safflower oil is non-comedogenic and does not clog your pores, it can be used to treat acne and pimples on your face.
It assists in weight loss.
A research study was conducted at Ohio State University, USA, with a group of diabetic menopausal women who consumed a small amount of safflower oil daily.
They discovered that most of them lost weight, especially belly fat, and their blood sugar levels were brought down as well.
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Safflower Oil offers a multitude of health benefits. However, it is better to use cold pressed safflower oil compared to refined oil since cold pressed oil retains the natural goodness and nutritional value of safflower, which is otherwise destroyed in the refining process.