Safflower was abundantly used by the ancient Egyptians for both medical and cosmetic purposes. The dried petals of this orange coloured flower are sold as inexpensive saffron, the exotic spice that adds colour and flavour to food. The petals of the flower are not packed with the pungent flavour present in real saffron, but the seed of this plant certainly is a powerhouse of nutrients. The safflower oil is extracted from the plant’s seeds. There are two main varieties of safflower oil- high-oleic oil and high-linoleic oil. High-oleic safflower oil contains monosaturated fats which are suitable for frying foods and high-linoleic is rich in polyunsaturated fat that can be used as salad dressing.
is still on to find out the health benefits of safflower oil and a 2009 test proves that this oil is rich in antioxidants. This oil has little taste and can be heated to a higher temperature than other cooking mediums like butter and hydrogenated oils.
Safflower oil plays a positive role in keeping your cholesterol in check. You can use it to make French fries or sweet potato fries. This oil is rich in monosaturated fats that can make your stir-fries, sautés, oven-fried chicken and eggs both tasty and yummy. You can use safflower oil as shortening agent instead of other unhealthy fats while baking pies and cakes. Safflower oil maybe rich in healthy fats but it is advised you use it sparingly like any other edible oil.
Here is why safflower is becoming popular for its several health benefits:
- Doctors across the globe state that cholesterol management is essential for maintaining cardiovascular health. Safflower oil will actually help to reduce the LDL (low-density lipoprotein or ‘bad’ cholesterol) thus preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. When this plaque breaks off it creates a blood clot which becomes the main cause of a heart attack. Safflower oil is rich in monosaturated fats and this helps to protect you against any deadly cardiovascular disease like atherosclerosis and strokes.
- Safflower oil is rich in vitamin E and each tablespoon provides 4.6mg of this anti-oxidant. Vitamin E helps the body from free radical damage caused by the Sun, pollution and smoking cigarettes. This vitamin also boosts the immune system and improves cell signaling.
- A study published in the journal ‘Clinical Nutrition’ in 2011 reveals that safflower oil is the right choice for diabetics. This study was conducted on obese and diabetic women who were administered eight grams of safflower oil. The result after 16 weeks showed safflower oil actually helped to reduce glucose levels and inflammatory triggers and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Safflower oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and it helps the body to burn fat. Cooking with safflower oil definitely helps obese persons to ward off deadly diseases.
- Good news ladies safflower oil is here to rescue you from painful periods! The linoleic acid in safflower oil helps to regulate prostaglandins in the body which triggers sudden hormonal fluctuations during the menstruation cycle. Hormonal supplements have side effects, safflower functions similarly to reduce the effects of pre-menstrual syndrome naturally.
- Safflower oil can be consumed as a health supplement to promote muscle growth.
- Safflower oil was used in Chinese medicine to invigorate blood and reduce pain caused by inflammation and other injuries.
- Research shows that consuming safflower oil for three months can reduce the effects of nausea, bloating, vomiting in patients already suffering from Hepatitis C.
- Those suffering from constipation can use safflower oil as a laxative.
- If you are suffering from bouts of cold then safflower can come to your rescue. It functions like a natural expectorate that will help to clear your blocked nose, sinus and chest of phlegm. Safflower oil can also cure breathing problems like blockage of bronchial tubes.
If you are fond of teas you can steep safflower petals in boiling water and then strain it. The goodness of safflower will help you to relax after a stressful day at work. It will also soothe your coughs and itchy throat in this approaching winter. So become winter ready with power of safflower!
Research reveals that 1 ¾ tablespoons of safflower oil is enough to control health issues like obesity, diabetes, abdominal fat, PMS and inflammation. Regular intake ensures improvement in the levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol), insulin sensitivity and of course it will give you a toned fit body you always desired. Those who suffer from high cholesterol should consume safflower as dietary supplements and stay away from deep fried foods.
Safflower is a blood thinner thus it is used to clot blood. If you are allergic to ragweed and daisy avoid safflower oil since it belongs to the same botanical family. The allergic reactions may vary from one person to another. Common side effects are stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Safflower causes uterine contractions in pregnant women so consulting a doctor before using it is a good idea. Safflower oil is known to induce abortion.
Medicines that slow down blood clotting known as anticoagulant interacts with safflower. If you are consuming high amounts of safflower oil along with medicines like aspirin, diclofenac, clopidogrel, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin and coumadin then it might prevent blood clotting.
Safflower oil rich in linoleic acid is actually a polyunsaturated fat turns rancid very fast and it should be stored in a dark bottle and kept away from direct sunlight. It is suggested that you keep monounsaturated safflower oil used in cooking in a cool dry place. Read the labels carefully before purchasing safflower oil, since the type of oil will be mentioned there. Safflower is expensive thus precious and should be used judiciously.
Apart from its health benefits safflower oil is used in cosmetic products like soaps and lotions for its moisturizing properties. Vitamin E and linoleic acid in safflower oil keeps the skin nourished from deep within.
Here are the benefits of safflower oil for skin:
- The linoleic acid in safflower oil works with sebum to unclog skin pores thus reducing blackheads and acne.
- Consuming safflower oil helps to fight a scaly skin condition termed phrynoderma. This oil is rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid and it is effective in removing dryness and roughness.
- Safflower oil is good for those who are suffering from irritations caused due to eczema and psoriasis.
- Safflower oil helps to lock moisture in your hair and prevent it from becoming dry and frizzy.
- Safflower has anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties that can prevent cysts from appearing on your skin surface. Its light formula keeps your skin clear and non-greasy.
- You can blend safflower oil with Thanaka powder (yellow paste used on skin in Burma) and rub it on your skin to reduce hair growth. So here is natural way to give a break from your waxing and shaving sessions.
- Clean your face and apply equal proportions of safflower oil and apricot seed oil. Massage for two minutes and rinse. This will brighten up your dry and dull face and you will not even need a moisturizer post this oil cleansing routine.
- Safflower also helps to lock moisture in your skin and this gives you an even skin tone. This oil is gentle to your skin.
- A study shows that massaging your face with safflower and visible reduce fine lines and wrinkles. If you cook food rich in B complex vitamins in safflower oil then the nutrients are well absorbed in the body. You can also have safflower as a health supplement to cure your beauty woes.
Safflower Oil Benefits for Hair:
Hair is crowning glory and it defines our face. No wonder the cosmetic industry manufactures so many beauty products to make your hair long, lustrous and strong. Most often these cosmetic products have more chemicals and very less linoleic acid and vitamin E. So it is better to use safflower oil directly on your hair as a pre-shampoo routine or as a hair serum. Here is how safflower oil will help you to make your hair strong from deep within-
- Safflower oil is light and it helps you to grow long and strong hair. This oil penetrates deep into the hair follicles and nourishes it. Blend safflower oil with few drops of rosemary essential oil and massage it to your hair.
- According to Oilypedia safflower oil is a perfect cure for baldness and hair loss.
- If you have colour treated hair that becomes dry as winter approaches you can opt for safflower oil as it is rich in polyunsaturated fats and other essential fatty acids. Now you can always flaunt your styled tresses to the world like a diva!
- This oil also prevents hair damage caused by free radicals due to exposure to sun and environmental pollution.
How to use safflower oil to nourish hair:
Add a few drops of safflower oil to your palms and rub it together. Apply it to the ends of your and gradually move towards the scalp while massaging it. Leave it on your hair and scalp for an hour before rinsing it finally. Repeat this process weekly to notice visible difference in your hair texture.
Needless to say is that you should do a patch test on your elbows with little safflower oil before using it to cleanse your face. To use it as a supplement or for other medical purpose consult your doctor before having it. Right dose is a must.
Make the right choice by purchasing organic safflower oil and refrigerate it after opening the seal. Using Safflower is also becoming fashionable today and why not when it has so many benefits packed in a small bottle. So cheers to good health and a happier you!