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There are several oils used for cooking, which are derived from both saturated and unsaturated sources. Rice bran oil is one such oil which is derived from the hard outer brown layer of rice called the chaff. It contains a balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, which are essentially required by the body.

Although unsaturated fatty acids are considered to be healthier than its saturated counterparts, it is ideal to moderately include both in your diet, which can be possible with the help of rice bran oil.

But, why exactly must you choose rice bran oil and what are the health benefits that you can derive from its use? You’ll only understand this once you know the nutritional composition and basics of this oil. So, let’s get started.

  1. Rice bran oil nutritional value and facts
  2. Rice bran oil benefits
  3. Rice bran oil side effects

Rice bran oil is extracted from the rice husk and has a high smoking point, which is why it is used in cooking and for frying, including deep frying and stir-frying. It is commonly used as a cooking oil in Asian countries and its use is quite popular among the Indian population.

Following is the nutritional composition of rice bran oil per 100 gram, according to USDA database:

  • Energy: 884 kcal
  • Lipid: 100 gram
  • Fatty acids: 20 gram
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids: 39.3 gram
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 35 gram
  • Vitamin E: 323.3 mg

Rice bran oil for cholesterol

Rice bran oil has made it to the list of healthiest of oils and one of its major health benefits is that it aids in the reduction of cholesterol in the body. But, why should you want to reduce cholesterol? Cholesterol is an essential fat and is a normal component of body cells, which is important for several bodily functions like the synthesis of hormones. However, an excess of cholesterol has been ascertained to be a risk factor of several cardiovascular disorders. It also increases the chances of blood clotting and its deposition within the vessel walls.

So, in order to maintain your heart health and functioning, it is important to keep cholesterol levels within the normal range. And how do you do that? Well, by including the right sources of fats in your diet and by limiting unhealthy trans fat.

Including healthy fats in your diet will promote the synthesis of high-density lipoproteins or good cholesterol in your body while lowering the amount of low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. Rice bran is one such oil that can help with these concerns and has a lipid and lipoprotein reducing effect on your body.

Studies have found that rice bran oil exerts a hypocholesterolemic activity, that is, it aids in the reduction of cholesterol levels. This effect is considered to be more pronounced than other vegetable oils. 

These properties can be attributed to the presence of components like gamma-oryzanol and tocotrienols, which help to improve the efficacy of its cholesterol-lowering effects. This study also suggests combining rice bran oil with some other healthy oils to amplify its cholesterol-lowering effect. Maybe it’s time to make a switch? Or just add it along with another oil.

Studies indicate that a combination of rice bran oil and safflower oil is found to be much more beneficial and should be used together to get the best results. This is due to the specific triglyceride structure of safflower oil, which aids this effect when combined in the correct proportion. So, consult a doctor to know the right ratio of combination.

(Read more: High cholesterol treatment)

Rice bran oil prevents hyperlipoproteinemia

Hyperlipoproteinemia inadvertently refers to an elevation in the levels of plasma lipids in the body. This condition is closely associated with a risk of ischaemic heart disease. Studies have suggested that measures which help to reduce the levels of plasma lipids in the body also help in reducing the risk of heart attack and myocardial infarction. It has been ascertained that diet is the primary approach to the management of hyperlipoproteinemia, which implies that dietary modifications have a major effect in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders too.

Researchers have found that the inclusion of rice bran oil in the diet can help to improve the plasma lipid profile of the body by not only having an effect on LDL and HDL but also on total plasma cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

Rice bran oil for heart

Rice bran oil is an excellent dietary inclusion, particularly for your heart health. Studies have found that the inclusion of rice bran oil in your diet has more positive effects than just aiding in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. But these effects are primarily due to its action on cholesterol levels. Rice bran oil significantly helps in lowering low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol, which can have harmful effects on the heart.

Due to these benefits, researchers have concluded that the inclusion of rice bran oil in your diet may aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and may even help in its control if you have already been affected. This is possible because cholesterol levels are usually controllable and high cholesterol is reversible. So, even if you already have high cholesterol levels and have faced some health effects due to the same, the inclusion of rice bran oil in your diet can prove to be beneficial.

This oil also has an inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation, that is, it prevents the aggregation of platelets in the vessels, which is a significant risk factor for several cardiovascular disorders. So, by controlling these factors, it also helps to lower the risk of heart disease.

Additionally, its cardioprotective effects can be attributed to its antioxidant properties imparted due to the presence of vitamin E in this oil. Several studies have also confirmed its antioxidant potential. What antioxidants do for your health is that they reduce oxidative stress caused due to the activity of free radicals. An increase in oxidative stress, otherwise, causes damage to the heart.

Thus, the inclusion of rice bran oil in your diet can prove to be great for your heart and can help ward off cardiac disorders. While this is likely to benefit everyone alike, an additional benefit in men is that rice bran oil raises HDL values, amplifying the cardioprotective benefits in them.

Rice bran oil for weight loss

Obesity and weight gain are common modern day problems occurring due to an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Fried foods and highly saturated oils are one of the major contributors to this concern. So, what is the alternative? For starters, you can make use of healthier cooking oil that does not contribute to an excessive weight gain. Rice bran oil is one such oil, which is considered to be a healthy inclusion to your diet and rightly so. Its effects on your body weight are excellent when combined with a low-calorie diet. Research evidence suggests that this inclusion can be helpful for individuals who are obese or overweight and have a deranged lipid profile.

This has been confirmed by a recent study, in which all the participants were given a low-calorie diet comprising of 1400 daily calories. Among the study participants, one of the groups was fed with rice bran oil while the other was given a regular low-calorie diet. It was found that the group consuming rice bran oil had more pronounced weight loss effects. In addition to a reduction in weight, waist and hip circumference, the rice bran group also had an improved cholesterol profile in just a duration of 4 weeks.

So, it can be established that rice bran oil will not only assist you in a quicker weight loss but also a better and quicker reduction in total cholesterol levels as compared to mere calorie restriction. 

(Read more: Diet chart for weight loss)

Rice bran oil for blood pressure

As you may know, high blood pressure is a risk factor for several cardiovascular disorders and can even cause a stroke. Individuals with high blood pressure are often unable to keep it in control. In such cases, the inclusion or substitution with rice bran oil in the diet can be beneficial.

According to the findings of a clinical study, along with calorie restriction, the inclusion of rice bran oil helped to lower systolic blood pressure over an 8-week period. However, no significant changes were seen in diastolic blood pressure of the participants. Changes in body fat percentage and a reduction in weight were also evident in all the individuals, which must be the mechanism responsible for reduction in blood pressure.

Rice bran oil for diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by high blood glucose levels, which can lead to several health manifestations. Since it is potentially an irreversible disorder, diabetics are often looking for ways to keep their blood glucose levels in check. Quite expectedly, diet has a marked effect on blood glucose levels and can help in its management. On the other hand, high-carbohydrate and a high-fat diet causes blood glucose levels to rise. This eventually leads to the development of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which are responsible for the development of diabetes.

It is known that a rise in blood glucose levels is observed immediately after a meal, which is also called a postprandial spike. Prolonged spike can lead to a potentially elevated blood glucose level, which can be causative of diabetes. Studies have found that rice bran oil helps in control of blood glucose levels by keeping postprandial blood glucose levels in check.

It also aids in improving insulin resistance and prevention of metabolic syndrome. This effect has been found to be more pronounced in healthy individuals with higher postprandial blood glucose levels.

So, it can be ascertained that the addition of rice bran oil to your diet can aid in the prevention of diabetes in individuals who are at risk.

Rice bran oil for the skin

Rice bran oil is rich in several types of fats, which are essential for your skin function. Fats help in keeping the skin soft and smooth and it has been recognised that the inclusion of healthy fats in your diet helps to delay early signs of skin ageing like wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.

By reducing oxidative stress, the antioxidant content of rice bran oil further enhances its skin benefits. So, don’t forget the inclusion of rice bran oil in your diet.

Rice bran oil is healthy, but after all, it is a source of fat. Overindulgence can lead to weight gain, obesity and high cholesterol, which will defeat your purpose of switching to this oil in the first place. So, while it is imperative that you eat healthy fats, it is also important that you take care of the amount and the form in which you consume.

It is advisable to add rice bran oil to your vegetables and foods in moderate amounts but it is not recommended to deep fry food items in it as frying can be harmful.

A high-fat intake also increases the risk of a fatty liver, asthma and osteoporosis among others. Also, it can lead to digestive issues. So, it is important to keep your consumption in limits.

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References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Full Report (All Nutrients): 04037, Oil, rice bran. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release; Agricultural Research Service
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  7. Zavoshy R, Noroozi M, Jahanihashemi H.Effect of low calorie diet with rice bran oil on cardiovascular risk factors in hyperlipidemic patients. 2012 Jul;17(7):626-31 PMID: 23798921
  8. Hongu N, Kitts DD, Zawistowski J, Dossett CM, Kopeć A, Pope BT, Buchowski .Pigmented Rice Bran and Plant Sterol Combination Reduces Serum Lipids in Overweight and Obese Adults. 2014;33(3):231-8. PMID: 24955613
  9. Boonloh K, Kukongviriyapan V, Kongyingyoes B, Kukongviriyapan U, Thawornchinsombut S, Pannangpetch P. Rice Bran Protein Hydrolysates Improve Insulin Resistance and Decrease Pro-inflammatory Cytokine Gene Expression in Rats Fed a High Carbohydrate-High Fat Diet. 2015 Aug 3;7(8):6313-29. PMID: 26247962
  10. Misawa K, Jokura H, Shimotoyodome A. Rice bran triterpenoids improve postprandial hyperglycemia in healthy male adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. 2018 Oct 2;62:10.29219/fnr.v62.1412. PMID: 30302087
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