7 Amazing Benefits of Safflower Oil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of its plant, which is an annual, thistle-like plant with many branches and little-known use, except for its oil. The health benefits of safflower oil include its ability to lower cholesterol levels, help manage blood sugar, boost hair care and skin quality, and is thought to reduce the symptoms of PMS.

What is Safflower Oil?

In the past, safflower seeds were typically used for dyes, but they have had a range of uses throughout history. It has been an important plant for cultures dating back to the Greeks and Egyptians.

There are approximately 60 countries around the world that cultivate this crop, but the overall yield is rather small, only about 600,000 tons per year around the world. In modern history, vegetable oil extracted from the seeds is a valuable element of the plant, and the majority of production is used for this purpose. The oil, however, is a good replacement for other, less healthy vegetable oils that are widely used, so the market continues to grow around the world.

A jar of safflower oil covered with a jute cloth and safflower flowers on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Oil, safflower, salad or cooking, high oleic (primary safflower oil of commerce)
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]0
Energy [kcal]884
Protein [g]0
Total lipid (fat) [g]100
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]0
Fiber, total dietary [g]0
Sugars, total [g]0
Calcium, Ca [mg]0
Iron, Fe [mg]0
Magnesium, Mg [mg]0
Phosphorus, P [mg]0
Potassium, K [mg]0
Sodium, Na [mg]0
Zinc, Zn [mg]0
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0
Thiamin [mg]0
Riboflavin [mg]0
Niacin [mg]0
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0
Folate, DFE [µg]0
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]0
Vitamin A, IU [IU]0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]34.1
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]7.1
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]7.54
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]75.22
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]12.82
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.1
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Health Benefits of Safflower Oil

The health benefits of this oil are significant and are outlined in detail below.

Protects Heart Health

Safflower oil has been shown to have a higher content of unsaturated fatty, a beneficial type of fatty acid that our body needs. It is otherwise known as linoleic acid. This acid is known for beneficial effects, such as reducing inflammation and improving heart health – therefore helping to decrease the chances of developing atherosclerosis, as well as other health conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

Weight Loss

Safflower oil has long been thought of as a good choice for people who are trying their best to lose weight. The omega-6 fatty acid, which safflower oil is rich in, may help the body to burn fat, rather than store it. In certain populations suffering from obesity – such as post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes, it may help increase lean muscle and lower fasting glucose levels. However, more research is needed on larger, more inclusive populations to truly establish if these positive outcomes are universal.

Hair Care

Safflower oil is also rich in oleic acid, which is thought to be moisturizing and beneficial for the scalp and hair. Oleic acid is thought to increase circulation on the scalp, stimulating hair growth and strengthening the follicles. Given these properties, it is often used in topical cosmetic applications as well as consumed as food.

Skin Care

As mentioned previously, the high content of linoleic acid in safflower oil makes it ideal for boosting the quality and appearance of your skin. The linoleic acid can combine with sebum to unclog the pores and reduce blackheads, as well as acne (a result of sebum build-up under the skin). In Folk medicine, linoleic acid is thought to help stimulate the regeneration of new skin cells that help clear up scars and other blemishes from the skin’s surface.

Blood Pressure Levels

In a human pilot study reported in the Vascular Health and Risk Management journal, it was found that the safflower seed extracts supplementation has a favorable effect on brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) in subjects with relatively high blood pressure (BP). 

Relieves PMS Symptoms

During menstruation, some women often suffer from terrible pain and discomfort. Again, the linoleic acid in safflower oil is thought to help regulate some of the hormonal fluctuations during menstruation. In turn, this may decrease the severity of some PMS symptoms.

Uses

According to a 2018 study in the Electronic Physician journal, there have been numerous uses of safflower oil, such as:

  • Safflower has been shown to be a very good analgesic and effective in reducing fever
  •  Pharmacological studies demonstrated that extracts of safflower had several physiological functions, such as anticoagulation, vasodilation, antioxidation, and antitumor activity
  • Fatty acid profiles showed a significant rise in linolenic acid under topical safflower oil treatment

Word of Caution: If you have an allergy to ragweed and others in that family, avoid safflower oil, since it is from the same botanical family and can cause allergic reactions of varying severity.

Also, if you are taking a blood-thinning medication, speak with your doctor about using safflower oil, as the combination could cause excess bleeding.

Basically, switch to safflower oil for all of your vegetable oil needs today and enjoy all the beneficial results.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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