Safflower is considered to be one of the oldest existing crops, with roots dating back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Today, the safflower plant remains an important part of the food supply. And is often used to make safflower oil, a common cooking oil that is also used to make a variety of processed foods, skincare products, and even more.
While some argue that safflower can promote inflammation and contribute to chronic disease. Others point out that it contains several health-promoting compounds, including vitamin E, heart-healthy fats, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Safflower oil is a type of vegetable oil obtained from the seeds of the safflower plant. To extract the oil, the safflower seeds are crushed, pressed, or treated with chemical solvents.
Not only is the oil used extensively in cooking, but it is also often used to make margarine and some processed products such as salad dressings. It is also found in a variety of skincare products and cosmetics, which is due to its ability to moisturize the skin and reduce inflammation.
In addition to its mild flavor, high smoke point, and vibrant color. Safflower is also naturally non-GMO and boasts a rich nutritional profile. In fact, each serving is packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamin E.
Many people use safflower oil for skin health, thanks to its ability to soothe and hydrate dry skin. For this reason, safflower oil is commonly added to skincare products and cosmetics due to its benefits for the skin.
In addition to providing a rich dose of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, it is also rich in vitamin E.
The benefits of vitamin E for skin health are particularly widespread. Studies show that vitamin E can help treat conditions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis. And acne, and can even help improve wound healing.
Safflower oil has a smoke point of around 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it can withstand very high temperatures without breaking down or oxidizing. This makes safflower oil for cooking a great choice, especially when using high heat methods such as frying, roasting, or baking.
In addition to preventing changes in the taste and aroma of foods. Selecting cooking oils with a high smoke point for these cooking methods can also inhibit the formation of harmful compounds known as free radicals. These compounds can build up in the body. And contribute to inflammation and disease, increasing the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Safflower oil is high in unsaturated fats, which are a heart-healthy form of fat that has been linked to reduced cholesterol levels. They are particularly high in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower total and bad LDL cholesterol levels, both major risk factors for heart disease.
Additionally, according to a study published in the Clinical Nutrition diary, consuming eight grams of safflower oil each day was able to reduce inflammation markers. And raise HDL cholesterol levels, a beneficial type of cholesterol that helps remove fatty plaque from the arteries.
Some studies have found that safflower oil promotes blood sugar control and may even reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. For example, a study by Ohio State University found that consuming safflower oil every day for 16 weeks led to significant reductions in hemoglobin A1C, which is an indicator used to measure long-term blood sugar control.
Additionally, studying outside of Italy also found that swapping saturated fat for monounsaturated fat such as safflower oil could improve insulin sensitivity. Allowing the body to use insulin more efficiently to maintain levels of stable blood sugar.
Chronic inflammation is believed to be at the root of a number of different diseases, including autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and cancer. Studies have found that safflower oil may possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce several key inflammation markers.
Keep in mind that safflower oil also contains high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which can actually contribute to inflammation when consumed in high amounts. Be sure to pair safflower with a variety of other healthy fats, including plenty of omega-3 foods, to help maximize potential health benefits.
Are you wondering where to buy safflower oil and how much should you include in your diet?
Safflower oil is widely available in most grocery stores, often alongside other vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, and canola oil.
Keep in mind that safflower oil comes in refined and unrefined varieties. Although unrefined safflower is less processed, it also tends to have a lower smoke point.
Consider your personal needs and preferences when shopping for safflower oil to find the one that’s right for you.
The amount you should enjoy as part of a healthy diet can vary based on a number of different factors, including your weight, gender, and activity level.
However, as a general rule, the United States Department of Agriculture has established the following guidelines for daily oil consumption:
Keep in mind that these amounts should also include other healthy fats. Including nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butter, plant-based butter, and other types of vegetable oil.
If you are on a ketogenic diet or are very active, these amounts may be slightly higher for you.
Safflower oil is ideal for high-heat cooking methods such as roasting, baking, and frying. Due to its distinct color and aroma, it can also be used as a substitute for cheap saffron in some dishes.
For topical use, simply add a few drops of the oil to dry, rough or scaly areas of the skin. Alternatively, try mixing it with a few drops of essential oil. Such as tea tree or chamomile, and massaging it into your skin.
Safflower oil is a type of vegetable oil obtained from the safflower plant. It is commonly used for cooking and added to margarine, salad dressings, and skincare products.
Some of the potential benefits of safflower oil include better blood sugar control. Lower cholesterol levels, decreased inflammation and improved skin health.
Because it has a high smoke point, it can also be used for high heat cooking methods such as deep frying or roasting without breaking down or oxidizing.
In high quantities, it could contribute to weight gain and inflammation. It can also interfere with blood clotting for people with bleeding disorders.
To start reaping the potential benefits of safflower, try incorporating it into your natural skincare routine or swapping it for other fats in your diet.