Soybean oil is an edible oil obtained from soy seeds - one of the best sources of dietary protein for vegetarians and vegans. It is a vegetable oil that is used in both refined and unrefined forms. 

The mild, neutral flavour of this oil with the presence of healthy fats, makes it an excellent alternative for health enthusiasts. This oil has proven benefits in reducing high cholesterol and is said to be good for the brain and bones.

Soybean oil is used for almost everything in the kitchen ranging from baking, frying, and cooking in general. this oil is also used as a salad dressing.

Furthermore, soybean oil is used commercially for the production of paper, ink, paint, plastics and cosmetics.

  1. Soybean oil nutrition facts
  2. Health benefits of Soybean oil
  3. Soybean oil side effects
Doctors for Soybean Oil Benefits and Side Effects

Soybean oil is a reserve of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and has zero cholesterol. It also contains some amount of vitamins and minerals. Here are some nutritional facts about soybean oil as per the USDA:

Nutrient  Value per 100 g
Energy 884 Kcal
Fats (total) 100 g
Saturated fats 15.65 g
Monounsaturated fats 22.78 g
Polyunsaturated fats 57.74 g
Vitamin E 8.18 mg
Vitamin K 183.9 mcg
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Soybean oil has several benefits for health. Most of them have been attributed to the high polyunsaturated fatty acid content of the oil. So far, there is a lack of scientific evidence to prove most of the benefits of this oil. 

Also, soybean oil is said to have a high smoke point, which makes it a healthy choice for cooking. However, it is important to note that the high smoke point is mentioned in terms of refined soybean oil. All refined vegetable oils have a higher smoke point than their unrefined alternatives due to the presence of less free fatty acid. 

Smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and start producing free radicals which are harmful to the body when consumed. The smoke point of refined soybean oil is around 234 degree Celsius. Unrefined soybean oil likely has a much lower smoke point.

That said, here are some benefits of soybean oil.

Soybean oil benefits for skin

Soybean oil has several benefits when applied on the skin. Studies show that topical application of soybean oil can reduce water loss from the skin and enhance the skin barrier effects. Our skin is an important barrier to the environment. It prevents anything from going inside the body and provoking an immune response.

Black soybean oil has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties due to the presence of a compound called anthocyanin in it. Thus, it may be able to reduce the symptoms of acne and dark circles and may also be helpful in reducing skin wrinkles and fine lines. Soybean oil also has shown protective effects against UV damage.

In fact, this oil is added as an ingredient in various skincare products due to its benefits for the skin.

Soybean oil benefits for hair

The natural moisturizing properties of soybean oil can be as beneficial for your hair as for your skin. Thus, regular application of this oil may be a good option for those with dry, frizzy and damage-prone hair. Also, soybean oil contains vitamin E, which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Read more: Dry hair treatment at home

Studies show that vitamin E reduces oxidative damage to the scalp and hair and thus promote hair growth.

According to a study published in the journal PLos One, soybean oil may have the ability to modify our risk of alopecia due to its anti-inflammatory activity and the presence of phytoestrogens in it. But it’s just a hypothesis so far. No study has been done yet to prove that soybean oil can indeed reduce your increase your risk of alopecia. Alopecia is a condition that causes patchy hair loss from the scalp.

Though, overconsumption of vitamin E is actually associated with hair loss. So it is best to know your daily recommended requirements of any nutrient. The recommended daily requirement for vitamin E varies as per age. Though as per the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institute of Health, USA, anybody above the age of 14 should consume no more than 15 mg of vitamin E per day.

Soybean oil benefits for heart

Unhydrogenated soybean oil is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, it has a high amount of omega-6-fatty acids (about 55%) - particularly linoleic acid - than omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are said to be good for the heart. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart diseases. It also reduces the risk of arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Animal studies show that soybean oil intake can improve heart function.

However, linoleic acid competes with omega-3 fatty acids for metabolism to long-chain polyunsaturated fats. It has been found that omega-6-fatty acids can reduce omega-3 fatty acids in body.

Excess intake of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

A balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is needed to keep up health. Omega-3 fortified soybean oil is also available in the market.

A randomised double-blind study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that regular consumption of about 15 mL soybean oil enriched with Stearidonic Acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) increases the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in blood.

Soybean oil benefits for bones

An animal study showed that soybean oil supplementation has a protective effect on bones in case. It has phytoestrogens - a type of plant-based estrogen - that has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As per the study, both these properties reduce bone loss caused due to low estrogen levels.

Furthermore, soybean oil has good amounts of vitamin K. Studies show that vitamin K promotes bone formation and prevents bone loss. 

However, according to a study done in Malaysia, reheating soybean oil may have detrimental effects on bone health. This is because repeated heating leads to the destruction of tocopherols (vitamin E) in the oils. This, in turn, causes an increment in bone resorption and gradually leads to osteoporosis. However, more studies are needed to confirm all of these findings. But to be on the safe side, it is best to avoid frying in soybean oil or using it in any way that would involve reheating the oil.

Soybean oil benefits for brain

Since it has some amount of omega-3 fatty acids, soybean oil is said to be good for the brain. 

Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help improve both memory and cognition in both young adults and adults. Though the effects are not as apparent in children and teenagers, omega-3 fatty acids do have some benefits in reducing cognitive problems in this age group too. Omega-3 fats reduce the risk of dementia in older adults.

Read more: How to improve brain power

However, It is important to note that soybean oil does not have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, it mostly contains omega-6 fats. Some studies suggest that increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation, which can, in turn, increase your risk of brain damage.

But, none of the above-mentioned benefits has yet been proven to be associated with soybean oil consumption. Also, a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is needed to maintain optimum health. If you want to add soybean oil in your diet, it is best to talk to a dietician or a nutritionist to know the right amount that is safe for consumption.

Other benefits of soybean oil

Apart from the abovementioned benefits, here are some other benefits of soybean oil:

  • Being a source of omega-3 fatty acids, soybean oil is said to be good for dry eye. Though the fact has not been scientifically proven so far. There isn’t enough data to say that Omega-3 fats are good for dry eye either.
  • An animal study done in Korea showed that soybean oil may be effective against prostate cancer. Another study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition indicated that linoleic acid present in soybean may improve immunity when taken in small amount, though high amount of linoleic acid may be tumorigenic (may induce tumours).

The following are some of the side effects of soybean oil:

  • Soybean oil may reduce insulin sensitivity and have a negative effect on the beta-cells in the pancreas - the cells that produce insulin. Insulin sensitivity refers to the ability of your body cells to take up glucose in response to insulin. Reduces insulin sensitivity would lead to high blood glucose levels. Though there is a study that suggests that stigmasterol in soybean oil may actually be beneficial in case of type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, it is best to talk to a doctor before consuming this oil. 
  • Soybean can promote weight gain and obesity. A study done in the USA indicates that soybean oil may be more obesogenic than even coconut oil and fructose. 
  • Excess consumption of soybean oil may harm the liver due to the presence of omega-6 fatty acids, especially if you take a high cholesterol diet. Experts suggest reducing your cholesterol intake if you are taking soybean oil or a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. 
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