Edible oils are a fundamental component of a diet; the variety and consumption of these oils depend on the availability in each country and region. So much so that there are oils extracted from corn, sunflower, olive, canola, coconut, and soybean oil, among many others.
The application of these oils accounts for the high demand and consumption in different countries, be it for seasoning food or industrial and domestic frying processes or their numerous applications in confectionery.
The Production of Corn Oil
Corn oil comes from the milling of this grain, which is of American origin and one of the main crops worldwide. It was the first cereal to undergo rapid and important technological transformations in the way people grow it. This is because it adapted to a wide variety of environments.
The process of obtaining this oil comes from wet milling, which separates the different components of the grain in an aqueous medium. These are:
To do so, the corn kernel goes through a maceration process in hot sulfur water to soften the kernel before entering the mill. The soft pieces then go to the mills and separators, where they separate the germ and extract the oil from it.
It’s important to mention that the corn kernel has between 3 and 5% of oil, of which 25-30% is present in the germ.
In general, corn oil is made of 98% unsaturated fatty acids and low levels of saturated fatty acids. It also contains large amounts of vitamin E, which gives it antioxidant properties.
These are the main unsaturated fats:
- Linoleic (LA)
- Alpha-linolenic (ALA)
The oleic and linoleic ones belong to the omega 3 families and are the ones found in a majority, 24% and 62% respectively. These are the ones with the most benefits.
Is Corn Oil Healthy?
This kind of oil offers many health benefits thanks to its high levels of vitamin E. This vitamin confers stability by preventing rancidity and protects the other components of the oil. It’s also a source of essential fatty acids for the body and contains low levels of saturated fatty acids and high levels of natural antioxidants.
Health Properties Associated to Corn Oil
The high content of linoleic acid provides great advantages as it’s necessary for many functions such as:
- Skin health.
- The integrity of cell membranes.
- The immune system.
- Synthesis of icosanoids, required for cardiovascular and renal functions and the prevention of certain diseases.
Furthermore, according to a study published in Venezuela in 2010, corn oil in the diet increases the absorption of other fatty acids, and also of fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A and D.
As if this wasn’t enough, several studies demonstrated the effects of corn oil in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Bad cholesterol in particular. In addition, there’s proof of its importance in children’s growth and neurological development.
In addition to its benefits, people widely accept and appreciate this oil for its mild flavor and high smoke point. This is why it’s perfect for frying. Moreover, it’s inexpensive in some high-production countries, like the USA and Argentina.
In addition, there are many genetic modifications that contribute to improving the corn grain nowadays. It allows you to obtain a better oil. These properties are present as long as people don’t overheat the oil during the production process. This is because overly high temperatures could alter its composition.
Summary, is Corn Oil Healthy option?
Finally, as we’ve mentioned above, corn oil contains many nutrients that contribute to improving health in several aspects thanks to the high contribution of vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids.
However, we mustn’t forget that the consumption of oil in excess isn’t recommended. This is because it has a high caloric intake. Because of this, you must consume it in moderation.