Soybean oil is an essential vegetable oil extracted from soybeans (scientifically termed as Glycine Max). As such, soybean oil is one of the most preferred vegetable oils(1) on the planet, perhaps because soybean is one of the most widely grown and used plants in the world, during recent decades.
A native of East Asia, soybean is regarded as a legume; but, irrespective of its limited origin; soybean is highly treasured for its nutritious value and edibility. Typically, most of the soybean oil is refined, blended, and occasionally hydrogenated and it may well be graded into multiple strengths and levels based upon its desired application.
The first use of soybean for domestic application draws way back to the 11th century BC in North China’s eastern half. In China, soybean production expanded drastically by 1895 when Japan started importing as a fertilizer. As of 2016, people in the US were consuming over 28bn pounds of edible oils each year, with soybean oil accounting for around 80% of that number.
Soybean Oil: An Overview
Soybean oil is regarded as healthier than most other vegetable oils, thanks to the presence of a wide range of essential fatty acids the body requires to stay healthy.
Also, soybean oil consists of various plant sterols that provide vast health benefits for individuals who consume soybean oil regularly. The mineral and vitamin content in soybean oil provides this widely-useful and ultra-delicious legume its fame.
Soybean oil offers a wide range of health benefits such as improving heart health (2), lowering cholesterol level, reducing cognitive disorders, improving the immune system, preventing osteoporosis, and enhancing overall growth, along with boosting skin and eye health.
Soybean Oil Nutrition Facts
Per 100-gram of soybean oil contains 16 grams of saturated fat, 58 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 23 grams of monounsaturated fat. The primary unsaturated fatty acids available in soybean oil are the monounsaturated oleic acid (23%) and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid (51%) and alpha-linolenic acid (7% to 10%).
Also, soybean oil consists of the saturated fatty acids palmitic acid (10%) and stearic acid (4%). A high amount of linolenic acid is undesirable in cooking oils and, therefore, soybean oil undergoes a process known as hydrogenation to bring down the linolenic acid unsaturation. The oil received after hydrogenation is known as hydrogenated soybean oil. If hydrogenation of soybean oil is partly complete, the oil is likely to consist of small amounts of trans fat.
What are the Incredible Soybean Oil Benefits?
While soybean is packed with diverse and dense nutritional constituents that offer numerous health benefits, the following ten health benefits of soybean oil make it more popular amongst health-conscious individuals around the world.
1. Regulates Cholesterol Levels
Soybean oil significantly reduces your risk of several critical heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes, along with several other crucial health conditions such as atherosclerosis. Soybean oil contains the right balance of good essential fatty acids that help control your cholesterol levels.
2. Treats Alzheimer’s
Soybean oil is an excellent source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient that is known to improve the symptoms of the cognitive disorder known as Alzheimer’s. Also, it even has the potential to reverse some of its significant effects. Also, vitamin K is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that are known to cause several chronic diseases.
3. Enhances Vision
Soybean oil consists of 7% of omega-3 fatty acids, a good fatty acid known to protect the cell membranes, along with the dangerous and delicate areas of your skin and the eyes, both of which can serve as a standard entry point for deadly bacteria and several other foreign intruders.
4. Prevents Cancer
Soybean oil contains the right number of antioxidants that help combat free radicals that can cause cancer growth and tumor in your body. Also, soybean is rich in dietary fiber that has tremendous potential to reduce the risk of colorectal and colon cancer by enhancing the digestive system.
5. Relieves Menopause Symptoms
Soybean is rich in isoflavone, a significant component of the female reproductive system. During menopause, there is a rapid reduction in estrogen levels. However, isoflavones combine with estrogen receptor cells to ensure the body doesn’t feel as if it’s undergoing a drastic change. As a result, there is an improvement of various symptoms associated with menopause such as hunger pangs, mood swings, and hot flashes.
6. Prevents Birth Defects
Soybean oil is rich in folic acid and vitamin B complex, which proves vital for expectant women. Folic acid ensures neural tube defect prevention in the unborn children and, therefore, helps the baby maintain good health.
7. Controls Diabetes
This oil comes in handy in preventing and controlling diabetes, thanks to its ability to surge insulin inceptors, thus facilitating easy management of the disease. Regular intake of soybean oil is also known to prevent the risk of diabetes.
8. Relieves Sleep Disorders
The magnesium content in soybean is widely known to improve the quality of sleep, restfulness, as well as the duration of the rest. As a result, this oil proves efficient in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia.
9. Supports Digestive Health
Soybean contains enough dietary fiber that acts as a laxative to relieve constipation, adds bulk to the stools, along with soothing the muscles by reducing any inflammation in the digestive tract. It also promotes regular bowel movement.
One of the fantastic benefits of soybean oil for skin is that it prevents you from sunburns. Soybean oil is rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals that lead to premature aging. Also, it helps reduce scars and prevents sunburns, thus makes your skin stay fresh, attractive, and free of disorders.
What are the Different Ways in Which You Can Use Soybean Oil?
Though soybean oil is extensively useful in various industrial products for manufacturing lubricants, cosmetics, soaps, resins, and several other merchandises. It is also extensively used in culinary. Due to numerous health benefits that soybean oil offers in culinary, it is widely used as:
- In mayonnaise and barbecue sauces
- Cooking oil
- Oil in salad dressing
- As an agent in fillings and icings
- Tenderness agent in baked goods and margarine
- Emulsifying agent
- A constituent of crispy crusts, bread, wafers, crackers, etc.
Is Soybean Oil Safe for Use?
Beware of various allergies soybean can cause, especially when fed to infants or people who are sensitive to oils.
Most infants outgrow this problem as they grow older; however, it can last until they become an adult. Common symptoms include:
- Swelling of the throat, tongue, lips, or other body parts
- Abdominal pain
- Skin redness
Also, high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids present in soybean oil can multiply your risk of suffering from different types of inflammations in your body, which can result in several other health issues as well.
Soybean oil contains numerous anti-thyroid elements that can interrupt with the activity of your thyroid gland and can, therefore, lead to goiters.
Also, soybean consists of estrogen-mimicking elements, which can lead to a hormonal imbalance in males in case of being over-consumed. Also, excessive use of soybean oil can result in low sperm count, infertility, sexual dysfunction, as well as an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers.
We can safely conclude that Soybean oil offers a wide range of nutritional benefits that are just inspiring and outstanding for vegans and vegetarians. However, individuals who have a medical history associated with obesity or cardiovascular disease must exercise caution before using soybean oil regularly.
Soybean oil is one of the most preferred vegetable oils in the US and is prepared from soybeans. It is widely considered healthier than most vegetable fats because of its different and dense nutritional value.
It contains an ideal combination of edible fatty acids that are necessary for the body to stay healthy. Moreover, soybean oil has several other benefits.
If you are not sure about switching to soybean oil, consult a registered medical practitioner or dietician to discuss your chances and scope.