[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
Rice bran oil offers many benefits over the standard vegetable oils that millions of people commonly cook with. Rice is one of the most widely available foods, and this oil is extracted from its germ, as well as from the husk of the grain. The health benefits of this oil include its ability to reduce cholesterol, strengthen the immune system, prevent cancer, and improve skin health. In this guide, which aims to be as complete as possible, I take a close interest in this organic oil.
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
What is rice bran oil?
This oil is extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It has a mild flavor and is very popular in Asian cuisine, due to its suitability for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and stir-frying. They say this is the secret to good tempura.
Its smoke point is very high and it has a composition similar to peanut oil. It is mainly used in Asia, particularly in Japan and China. In recent years, it has conquered other countries, due to its relatively low price and the many health benefits.
It is widely appreciated for its vitamin E content, its ideal balance of fatty acids, its antioxidant capacity and its hypocholesterolemic power. Rice bran oil is mainly composed of monounsaturated fatty acids.
One tablespoon of this oil contains 7 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids, three grams of saturated fatty acids and five grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In comparison, one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 11 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids, two grams of saturated fatty acids and one gram of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
How do we extract it?
According to a published report, the rice bran oil extraction process involves different techniques, but hexane solvent extraction is the most common. The oil is extracted from rice bran, which is a byproduct of blanching, the process of turning brown rice into white rice.
The use of hexane has some disadvantages due to its flammability, toxicity and the high temperatures required in the process. This results in the presence of some unwanted components in the resulting oil.
Some research has suggested that using d-limonene in place of hexane could potentially eliminate safety, environmental and health concerns.
What are the characteristics of this organic oil?
The outer layer of the rice grain is called bran and oil is extracted from this brown husk. It is sweet and has a neutral taste. Its taste does not conflict with prepared foods and you can even use it in cookies and cakes. It can be used for stir-fries, grills, marinades and is very suitable for salad dressings. It is light and quite versatile.
It also contains good fats. Rice bran oil has a very balanced fatty acid composition, close to that of the oils most recommended by nutritionists. Rice bran oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and does not contain trans fatty acids.
This vegetable oil has a high smoke point (254°C), making it perfect for sautéing or frying. It can maintain its nutritional quality even at high temperatures. Additionally, it has been found that foods cooked at high temperatures absorb less oil.
Rice bran oil is low viscosity, which means it does not stick to food. It is rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant with anti-mutagenic and anti-cancer properties. Vitamin E also helps boost immunity.
What are the health benefits of this oil?
Rice bran oil has various health benefits. These benefits include:
- preventing problems related to menopause
- controlling cholesterol levels
- cancer prevention
- delaying aging
- weight loss
- stimulation of hair growth
- solving skin problems
Prevention of menopause-related problems
Research has highlighted the benefits of this organic oil on menopausal women. More than 90% of women who took a supplement with this oil reported a reduction in hot flashes and other symptoms that all women experience during menopause. These same benefits have been confirmed by women who use it to prepare their food.
Control of cholesterol levels
The World Health Organization and the American Heart Association have both stated that rice bran oil has the best possible composition of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids, compared to all other vegetable oils.
This balance reduces cholesterol levels, because fatty acids prevent bad cholesterol from binding. This can help reduce the incidence of diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
This oil is a rich source of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and oryzanol. There’s plenty of vitamin E in this oil, including both in the form of tocopherol and tocotrienol, which most vegetable oils don’t claim to have. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, meaning it neutralizes free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancer cells. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a regular flow of antioxidants in the body to reduce the risk of developing different types of cancer.
Vitamin E does more than just prevent cancer. It is directly linked to the health and well-being of the skin. Free radicals can attack skin cells and increase the signs of premature aging. Rice bran oil can increase your vitamin E levels, which can speed up wound healing, increase cell regeneration, smooth skin, reduce wrinkles, and protect against sunburn. Vitamin E also helps strengthen the protective quality of skin cells, preventing foreign toxins and pathogens from penetrating the skin.
As it has the ability to lower cholesterol levels, it can aid in weight loss. Although this vegetable oil is technically high in calories, its viscosity ensures that food only absorbs about 20% of the oil. When less oil is absorbed, the food still retains its flavor, but its total calorie intake is lower than other vegetable oils. It is therefore probably the best choice if you are worried about your weight. Likewise, it contains high levels of natural antioxidants that boost your metabolic rate and can help you lose weight.
Stimulation of hair growth
It contains inositol, a carbohydrate compound that prevents dandruff and reduces split ends. It also promotes hair health. The oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help prevent premature graying of hair. Studies show that linoleic acid and oryzanol also stimulate hair growth and strengthen your hair.
Solving skin problems
Topical oil use of this oil has its benefits. It evens out the complexion and reduces brown spots. It also helps treat bags around the eyes.
Its moisturizing properties help treat dry skin and eczema. This remedy can treat other dry skin conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea, and even rashes. This oil reduces pigmentation, evens out tones and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The oil contains oleic and linoleic acids in a balanced ratio, which can help treat acne. Indeed, acne-prone skin is generally deficient in linoleic acid. The oil also contains palmitic acid, another essential fatty acid for healthy skin.
What are the side effects of this oil?
Rice bran oil is high in fiber, which can improve digestion unless you already have a gastrointestinal problem. Fiber can further block the gastrointestinal tract, if you suffer from ulcers or any other disorder that narrows your digestive tract. Additionally, be careful about the amount of rice bran oil you consume, as it is high in calories. Use it only when you need it and in moderation!
It is safe for most people when taken by mouth. An increase in the amount in the diet can cause urgent stools, intestinal gas and stomach discomfort.
It is potentially safe for most people when added to baths, but it may cause itching and redness of the skin for some.