Safflower Oil Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Safflower oil, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
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Safflower oil is a heart-healthy oil made from the seeds of the safflower plant that can be used throughout the kitchen. It is an excellent source of poly and monounsaturated fatty acids as well as vitamin E. Safflower oil is used for high heat cooking due to its high smoking point. It has a mild flavor and is found in most grocery stores.

Aside from its use in home cooking, safflower oil is also used in the production of salad dressings, margarine and other foods. Two types of safflowers produce oil of which one contains more monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) and one is higher in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid). Most safflower oil bought in stores for food purposes is the high oleic acid type, due to its low saturated fat content.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one tablespoon (14 grams) of safflower oil.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Vitamin E: 4.6mg

Carbs

There are no carbohydrates in safflower oil as it is purely a fat source. The estimated glycemic load of safflower oil is zero.

Fats

There are three different types of fat in safflower oil. There is a very small amount of saturated fat in this oil while there are 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat in 1 tablespoon of safflower oil.

Protein

There is no protein in safflower oil.

Vitamins and Minerals

Safflower oil contributes vitamin E to your diet. There is 4.6 milligrams of vitamin E or 23% of the recommended daily intake in 1 tablespoon of safflower oil. There are other trace nutrients in 1 tablespoon of safflower oil, including choline (0.03 micrograms) and vitamin K (1 microgram).

Health experts recommend replacing less healthy fats (such as saturated fats and trans fats) with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 15% to 20% of your caloric intake comes from monounsaturated fatty acids.

Health Benefits

Safflower oil is an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids that may provide some health benefits. It is also gluten-free, vegan, and fits into many diets. Here is what you need to know about the potential health benefits of safflower oil.

May Balance Cholesterol Levels

Because monounsaturated safflower oil is high in oleic acid, it is considered to have heart-healthy benefits. Oleic acid is believed to lower LDL cholesterol (also known as "bad" cholesterol). Monounsaturated fats are believed to increase your HDL cholesterol, also known as "good" cholesterol.

May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

Oleic acid found in safflower oil also shows a strong protective relationship with breast cancer. Research confirms that oleic acid could suppress the expression of a gene involved in the development of breast cancer called Her-2/neu (erbB-2).

May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing or balancing HDL cholesterol levels reduces the risk of heart disease. Additionally, safflower oil contains omega-6 fatty acids which are inversely associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. This means that those who consume more omega-6 have a lower risk of developing the disease than those who consume less.

May Prevent Eye Disorders

Safflower oil is one of the highest sources of vitamin E available for consumption. Vitamin E intake is associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is one of the most common causes of significant vision loss in the aging population.

Research indicates that those consuming 20 milligrams of vitamin E per day have a 20% reduced risk of developing AMD. Further research that included vitamin E intake in combination with beta carotene, vitamin C, zinc, and copper confirmed these findings.

May Prevent Cognitive Decline

A diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E may help prevent cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Allergies

If you have any seed allergies, you may want to be cautious when consuming safflower oil. This oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant.

While there is very little information about specific safflower seed or safflower oil allergies available, experts at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology report that cross-reactivity with seed allergies is possible. Check food labels to indicate if the oil was manufactured in the same environment as nuts, seeds, or other allergens.

In addition, they state that even people with nut allergies may have symptoms when exposed to seeds or seed products. The medical organization recommends that you follow up with your allergist to determine if treatment is needed and discuss a care plan. They suggest that testing and potential oral challenge(s) to the seed(s) may help guide care.

Storage and Food Safety

Avoid exposing safflower oil to oxygen, heat, or light, which can lead to oxidation and turn the oil rancid. Store safflower oil in a tightly sealed container, away from heat, light, or appliances that may increase the temperature of the oil. Safflower oil may do better kept in the fridge after opening as it can easily go rancid. In the refrigerator, safflower oil can keep up to 6 months.

How to Prepare

The flashpoint, or smoking point, is the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke fumes. Safflower oil has a higher flash point than other types of healthy oil, such as canola oil or olive oil. The smoking point of safflower oil depends on how it is processed (whether refined, semi-refined, or unrefined), but it ranges from 225° to over 500°F.

You can use liquid vegetable oil, such as safflower oil, just like a solid saturated fat in the kitchen. Safflower oil also has a neutral taste, so it is easy to use in salad dressing and recipes because it won't change the taste of your dish. In addition to salad dressings, you can also use the oil in marinades, dips, sauces, and grill, sauté, or stir-fry foods.

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8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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