Health Benefits of Soybean Oil
Some of the health benefits of soybean oil include its ability to manage your heart health, lower your cholesterol, improve your immune system, reduce cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, prevent osteoporosis, and improves growth, while also boosting eye and skin health.
Soybean oil is the vegetable oil that is extracted from soybeans, which are scientifically known as Glycine max. It is one of the most widely used vegetable oils in the world, possibly because soybeans are some of the most widely cultivated and utilized plants, particularly in recent decades. Soybeans are native to East Asia and is considered a legume. However, despite its limited origin, it is highly prized for its edible legume, which is also one of the sources from which you can extract soybean oil. Most soybean oil is refined, blended, and sometimes hydrogenated. Then, it can be graded into different levels and strengths of soybean oil depending on the desired application.
Soybean oil is considered healthier than most other vegetable oils due to its good variety of essential fatty acids that the body needs to remain healthy. There are also a number of plant sterols in soybean oil, which can have a wide variety of health benefits on people who regularly include soybean oil in their diet. The vitamin and mineral content of soybean rounds out the healthy aspects of this delicious and widely useful legume. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of soybean oil.
Health Benefits of Soybean Oil
Cholesterol Control: As mentioned above, the good balance of fatty acids contained in soybean oil means that the body can get the important and necessary fatty acids in their diet, including those which regulate cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce dangerous cholesterol levels and counteract the negative types. Furthermore, the other fatty acids like stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid are also found in balanced quantities. The fatty acid composition of soybean oil, as well as the powerful plant sterols, such as β-sitosterol can actually cause a reduction in cholesterol storage in the gut by 10-15% – not what you normally expect to hear from a “fatty” acid! Basically, soybean oil can seriously decrease you chance of atherosclerosis and other heart conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Cognitive Impact: Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible affliction that affects millions of people around the world. It results in the cognitive deterioration of a person’s brain as neural connection fail and die, thereby making everything from remembering the past to performing simple tasks a challenge. However, soybean oil has an impressively high level of vitamin K, which has been consistently connected with improving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and even reversing the effects in some cases. The vitamin K acts as an antioxidant against free radicals, keeping them from damaging the neural cells.
Bone Health: Another important function of vitamin K is its osteotrophic potential, which means that it can stimulate the regrowth or increased healing of bone. While this is often associated with calcium, vitamin K, of which soybeans has a lot, can also stimulate bone development in a very positive way, so make sure to switch to soybean oil if you want to prevent certain conditions like osteoporosis, which is often a natural result of the aging process.
Eye and Skin Health: Omega-3 fatty acids, which make up 7% of the total fatty acid content in soybean oil, are integral to protecting the cardiovascular system in the role of scraping our “bad” cholesterol, but it also protects cell membranes. This includes the very fragile and dangerous areas of the skin and eyes, both of which are common entrance points for bacteria and other foreign materials. These omega-3s also promote healthier vision by acting as antioxidants and neutralizing free radicals that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts.
Antioxidant Potential: The high vitamin E content in soybean oil also acts as a powerful antioxidant while similarly protecting the skin from the damage of fre radicals. Vitamin E is directly associated with improving the appearance of blemishes, reducing acne scarring, protecting the skin against sunburn, and stimulating the regrowth of new skin cells to promote healing. Vitamin E is also associated with general antioxidant activity in the rest of the body, which boosts the immune system and helps to eliminate free radicals that cause certain conditions like cancer, premature aging, cognitive disorders, and heart diseases.
A Final Word of Caution: Remember, it may be a healthier form of vegetable oil, but it is still somewhat high in omega-6 fatty acids. Although this is “essential”, it is still a problem if it is not evenly balanced with more foods with omega-3 fatty acid content. There are still calories involved if you are worried about obesity. Furthermore, soybeans are closely related to peanuts, so with the increasing numbers of peanut allergies around the world, be careful about anyone with peanut allergies before cooking with soybean oil. Besides that, enjoy and happy cooking!