Rice Bran Oil is one of those ingredients that you will most likely have heard of before, you have probably seen in the ingredients of some of your favourite natural beauty products. But what is rice bran oil, what does it do and why should we be using it? Are just some of the questions that we will look to answer for you in our handy little guide.
Let's start a the beginning.
What is Rice Bran Oil?
Rice bran oil is made from what is known as rice husk. This is the outermost layer of the rice plant that is left over after the rice has been extracted. Huge amounts or rice husk are produced during the process that extracts the rice and Asia alone produces around 770 million tons annually. Finding ways to use this huge amount of husk is one of the reasons why rice bran oil was originally created. So as well as the health benefits of the oil that we will read about in this guide it's worth considering that the oil is created with the aim of recycling natural waste products and it will therefore fit perfectly with a sustainable lifestyle.
Rice bran oil is becoming an increasingly popular vegetable oil because it offers a wide range of advantages over the typical vegetable oils that most of us around the world use to cook with and it also offers a huge range of benefits to those interested in using natural products which are great for their skin.
Where is Rice Bran Oil typically used?
Rice bran oil has been common and popular in Asian cultures for a very long period of time, one of the main reasons for this is the easy availability of rice husk in this region of the world and the oil has been popular as a 'healthy oil' in Japan, India and the rest of the continent for generations.
In recent times however rice bran oil has begun to become increasingly popular all over the world as the wide range of health and skin benefits it offers are discovered and it is made available to a wider audience.
Now we understand a little more about where it comes from let's look at what the benefits of this oil actually are.
What are the health benefits of using Rice Bran Oil?
There are numerous health benefits that come from regular use of rice bran oil, we will look firstly at the benefits of using it in cooking and ingesting the oil and below we will discuss the benefits of using it on your skin. Some of the health benefits include its ability to lower your cholesterol levels, reduce the effects of the menopause, reduce your chances of getting cancer, being part of an effective weight loss regime, and reducing the likelihood of getting kidney stones.
Phew! That's a lot of benefits, we better go through those a little more slowly.
Menopausal Issues: Research has been conducted on Rice Bran Oil and the Oryzanol compounds that it contains to discover how it affects women who are going through the menopause. The results of the test were that over 90% of the women who had been taking the oil reported a significant relief from the symptoms of the menopause such as hot flashes and other irritating symptoms they had been suffering from. The tests were conducted on women who were taking the oil in the form of a supplement and those who had started using it in their preparation of food over a period of four to six weeks.
Cholesterol Control: The World Health Organisation and the American Heart Association have both confirmed that the composition of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats that are found in rice bran oil will provide a much greater range of health benefits when compared with all other vegetable oils. The balance of fatty acids which is found in rice bran means that with regular use the levels of cholesterol in your body can actually be reduced.
This is because the healthy forms of cholesterol in rice bran will actually replace the types of cholesterol that are notorious for causing blockage issues from bonding together in your body. One of the major side effects of this process is that it can help to reduce the medical condition atherosclerosis which we know better as the root cause of health issues like heart attacks and strokes.
During tests participants were encouraged to take 85 grams of rice bran in full fat form per day and over a four week period this resulted in an average lower total cholesterol level of 8% and the bad form of cholesterol, which is known as low density lipoprotein (LDL) was reduced by 14%.
If that isn't a reason to start using Rice Bran Oil I don't know what is!
Cancer Prevention: We have mentioned already that the Oryzanol compound is found in Rice Bran Oil, and there is another antioxidant which is also found in the oil and that is various forms of vitamin E which is also a rich source of antioxidants. The large amount of vitamin E in rice bran oil, which includes both Tocopherol and Tocotrienol is not found in other vegetable oils . The antioxidant effects of these components of the oil mean that free radicals which are present in the body are neutralised. Free radicals are commonly known as the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism which are known to cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells. It is with this in mind that doctors recommend keeping a steady flow of antioxidants coming into your body which will help you to reduce your chances of developing various types of cancer.
Weight Loss Efforts: Although rice bran oil is technically high in calories, when it is used for cooking due to the makeup of the oil only about 20% of the oil will be absorbed into the food. This means that your food will still retain the flavour but it will also get the health benefits of the rice bran oil, whilst also keeping your calorie count much lower than it would be using other vegetable oils. So if you're counting those calories and trying to keep the weight off rice bran oil may be one of your friends in doing so!
Reducing the risk of Kidney Stones: Another benefit of the natural compounds that make up the oil, in addition to their cholesterol benefits, are that they can decrease calcium absorption. This may not seem like such a big deal at first but reducing the amount of calcium that is absorbed into your body if one of the most effective ways of reducing your chances of getting kidney stones!
How will using Rice Bran Oil benefit my skin?
We have now seen some of the wonderful benefits of using Rice Bran Oil as part of your cooking regime or even ingesting the oil directly but the oil is also incredibly popular as part of a skin care regime and we look at some of the reasons why below.
Premature Ageing: The Vitamin E that is contained in the oil is often known for its ability to help prevent cancer, but Vitamin E and particularly tocopherol are also directly connected to the health and the wellness of your skin. The free radicals which can attack your cells to increase the rick of cancer are also well known for attacking your skin cells and increasing the signs of premature ageing.
Rice bran oil helps to fight this process by increasing the levels of vitamin E in your body, some of the effects of increased levels of the vitamin in your skin are sped up wound healing, smoother skin, a reduction of wrinkles, and enhanced protection from UV rays. Vitamin E is also known to boost the protective qualities of your skin cells which can then help to keep foreign pathogens and toxins from entering your skin in the first place.
Allergic Reactions: Rice brain oil is a hypoallergenic which is also something that no other vegetable oils can claim. This means that the oil can help to calm the allergic reaction system in your body and in turn prevent a hyper-sensitivity to other allergens that you may normally react to. Rice Bran can also be applied directly to the skin when you are having a breakout of conditions such as eczema (ectopic dermatitis) and can help to reduce irritation and itchiness. This is also true for other allergic skin rashes.
Where can I buy Rice Bran Oil?
To use Rice Bran Oil as part of your cooking routine you can normally purchase bottles at your local supermarket or if not you will most likely be able to find it in an Asian themed supermarket if you have one nearby.To use the oil as part of your skin care regime we can recommend our handmade soaps, some of which are rich in rice bran oil and are suitable to be used on a regular basis and in conjunction with a wide range of skin conditions. Our Mangosteen soap and Green Seaweed Soap are particularly suitable for those wishing to introduce the oil to their routine.
Are there any other effects of using Rice Bran Oil?
It is worth mentioning as a final word of warning that Rice bran oil is high in fibre, whilst this is generally good for aiding digestion if you are suffering from an existing gastrointestinal tract infection or condition, the extra fibre has been known to block up your tract even further. Also if you are going to use the oil as part of your cooking regime as with all oils it is high in calories so be careful about the amount of oil that you use. Try to only use it for cooking in moderation!
That's it from us on the topic of Rice Bran Oil, we hope that you now understand more about why the oil is becoming so popular, what some of the benefits of using it are and some of the options available for how you can use it.
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