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SAFFLOWER OIL (Linoleic) – The linolenic acid, an Omega-6 compound present in safflower oil is one of the most heavily contributing factors to its health benefits, particularly in the case of cholesterol and blood sugar. A study conducted by them on overweight women, which involved them consuming just over 1.5 tsp. of safflower oil saw significant positive changes in their cholesterol and blood sugar levels (fasting).
These changes were brought on without making any other changes in their dietary or lifestyle habits. The study claimed that since cholesterol and blood sugar can be controlled by the regular intake of safflower oil, it can be of great help to people with diabetes, heart problems and by extension, obesity.
Safflower oil contains both, MUFA and PUFA: the good fats that can help maintain cholesterol levels and reduce weight. People who are looking for ways to lose weight as well as maintain their weight can include as little as a tsp. of safflower oil a day in regular diet. Plus, the presence of Omega-6 acid in the oil helps reduce belly fat, if consumed regularly. This was also the finding of the study at Ohio State University mentioned above. The results of the study have been debated with regards to the number of people used as subjects, their constitution, etc. Hence, while they may have found it to be true for their candidates, there may be variations depending on various factors.
Safflower oil is also considered very helpful in curbing the discomfort caused by PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). Prostaglandins, hormone-like substances, cause uncomfortable bloating and tenderness in breasts prior to a woman's menses. These prostaglandins are controlled and regulated by linolenic acid present in safflower oil. Consuming safflower oil instead of hormonal drugs also helps in regularizing menstrual cycles.
Safflower oil is one of the best oils to use to get healthy hair. It is light, odorless, and mild, and the scalp absorbs it easily. The oil is extremely rich in oleic acid and hence, does not leave your hair sticky and feeling heavy. Application of safflower oil on the scalp improves circulation. This stimulates hair follicles and enhances hair growth. The oil also provides much-needed protection against the elements and pollution. Along with protection, it nourishes dry hair with its PUFA-enabled moisturizing properties. Nourished and well-protected hair is obviously strong and healthy. Safflower oil is also touted to be one of the best oils to soothe hair that has endured damage from chemical treatments like coloring, perming, etc.
Apart from being good for hair, safflower oil benefits the skin in more ways than one. Dry skin can be easily combated with this oil. This is because of the high content of linolenic acid in it. Because of its light and non greasy texture, the oil is easily absorbed by the skin, making it soft, smooth, and supple. The use of safflower oil is also recommended for treating acne, because the linolenic acid combined with sebum in the skin can help to unclog pores, and thus reduce acne and blackheads. Safflower oil also helps in getting rid of other skin problems like scars, wrinkles and extremely dry and flaky skin. All these benefits have led to safflower oil being very widely used as an ingredient in skincare products.
Safflower oil has the highest source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) than that found in any other type of vegetable oil: almost 79 percent PUFA (linoleic acid). It also contains 13 percent of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (oleic acid) and only 8 percent of saturated fatty acids. The other essential nutrients present in safflower oil are Omega-6 fatty acids, cis-linoleic acid, vitamin E and vitamin K. It also contains a small amount of Choline.
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