Safflower oil is a nutrient-rich, colorless oil extracted from the safflower seed. The use of the safflower dates back as far as ancient Egypt, making it one of the oldest cultivated plants.
Some benefits of safflower oil, such as its anti-inflammatory properties, have been understood for millennia through the practice of traditional medicine in numerous South Asian civilizations.
Health Benefits of Safflower Oil
Modern research points to several other therapeutic qualities of safflower oil when added to a balanced diet, which the following slides consider in detail.
1. Improves Blood Sugar
An investigation of medieval Persian manuscripts conducted in 2013 discovered safflower oil has been used to treat age-related health problems, such as diabetes, for hundreds of years.
This use of safflower oil in traditional medicine has recently sparked an interest in finding modern therapeutic applications for the plant. Findings across hundreds of trials reveal adding safflower oil to a balanced diet improves blood sugar.
In a study conducted in 2011, individuals with type 2 diabetes improved their blood sugar levels when they consumed eight grams of safflower oil every day for four months.
Another article from 2016 strongly suggests diets high in unsaturated fats, like safflower oil, are linked to healthy glucose levels.
In this study, by replacing some carbohydrates and saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, individuals experienced improved insulin regulation and blood sugar levels.
2. Lowers Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the ‘bad’ cholesterol doctors warn their patients about. High levels of LDL cholesterol contribute to plaque build-up inside arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes in these patients.
A common misconception is a diet high in fat contributes to unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol and plaque build-up. The issue with this premise is unsaturated fat, like safflower oil, actually lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
In fact, The American Heart Association recommends regularly consuming unsaturated fats to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. With this in mind, adding safflower oil to a balanced diet is a great way to maintain heart health.
3. Alleviates Dry Skin
Safflower oil can be added to a daily skincare routine to alleviate dry skin in a number of ways. When applied directly to the skin or added to bathwater, the oil topically alleviates dry skin by locking in moisture.
Safflower oil is also one of the most potent sources of linoleic acid. The oil is composed of about seventy-five percent linoleic acid with ten grams of linoleic acid in one tablespoon.
This compound plays a central role in maintaining healthy skin by strengthening skin barriers that retain moisture. A diet sufficient in linoleic acid will ensure optimal skin health and help combat dry skin.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a common issue most individuals will face at some point in their life. It can be triggered by topical irritants, allergies, autoimmune diseases, or even food intolerance’s.
Keeping inflammation in check is an important part of maintaining a healthy body and preventing serious diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers. Safflower oil reduces inflammation when applied topically and internally.
Additionally, civilizations in South Asia have utilized the oil in traditional medicine to treat inflammation in elderly adults and menstruating women for hundreds of years.
As a time-tested remedy, oil of safflower is a useful supplement for patients experiencing acute or chronic inflammation.
5. Link to Ketogenic Diet
Many individuals have found great success in adopting a ketogenic diet to lose weight and manage diabetes. A standard ketogenic diet recommends a daily intake of seventy-five percent fat, twenty percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates.
It can be difficult to find a healthy balance between saturated and unsaturated fats when first embarking on this diet, but adding oil of safflower to a daily regimen is linked to ketogenic diet success.
Filling up with unsaturated, healthy fats, like safflower oil, helps limit saturated fat intake and maintain optimum results while on the ketogenic diet. While safflower oil is a wonderful source of healthy fats on any diet, it is important to limit consumption of this oil on a high-fat regimen like the ketogenic diet.
Safflower oil is a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential to human growth and development, but in excess, omega-6 fatty acids can contribute to digestive upsets.
For that reason, individuals should be sure to balance their intake of safflower oil with other unsaturated fats for ideal health benefits.