Cottonseed Oil

Since it is a plant product, cottonseed oil comes in the vegetable oil category. This oil is hauled out from the cotton plant - precisely speaking the seeds of this plant. This oil is usually used for culinary purpose. As cottonseed oil does not need hydrogenation, compared to several other vegetable oils, it has very low cholesterol and little or no trans-fats. In fact, people who want to intake lower saturated fats through their diet prefer seed oils. Therefore, cottonseed oil is excellent for cooking healthier foods.

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Tests carried out in kitchens have shown that the performance of cottonseed oil is as good as or even better than many other oils that are used for cooking foods. In addition, this vegetable oil has the ability to bear up with high temperatures. Cottonseed oil also stores well and lasts for a prolonged period. This is owing to the elevated antioxidant content of this oil. Compared to other cooking oils, cottonseed oil gives the food fried in it a similar but lighter flavour. Even the color of the food cooked with it has a similar color and texture. Owing to the antioxidant properties of cottonseed oil, snacks and chips fried in this oil have a relatively long shelf life.

Despite offering several health properties, cottonseed oil is relatively cheaper than many other vegetable oils. As a result, this oil is quite popular among manufacturers of snack foods and restaurateur owners. Cottonseed also fulfils the highest food quality standards set by the government. Partly, this is because it is possible to clean as well as process cottonseed oil to the highest level of purity and still not deprive the users any of its nutritional value. In fact, there a very few oils which can claim of having the highest purity, full nutritional value as well as meeting the quality standards set by the government.

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Cottonseed oil is popular for its use in cooking. This vegetable oil is used for frying and baking purposes and also added to baked goods, mayonnaise, cereals and salad dressings. Since this oil has a neutral taste, it does not overpower or musk the flavours of the dishes you prepare with it. Many other oils seem to overpower the flavour of the dish. This oil is often found in French fries and potato chips, because it is excellent for frying foods. This is attributed to the oil's extremely high smoking point.

In addition, cottonseed oil is added to icings, margarines and whipped toppings owing to its exceptional potential to aid in formation of beta prime crystal - which is responsible for the consistency as well as the smooth and creamy appearance of these food products.

Apart from food products, many personal care products also include cottonseed oil. Some such products include cosmetics, soap, nail polish removers and lubricants. It is also added to some fertilizers and detergents for laundry. This vegetable oil is added to soaps that are meant for washing woollen garments. During the first part of the twentieth century, drug manufacturers used cottonseed oil in the form of an excipient (an inactive substance serving as a medium for drugs) in medications such as penicillin as well as vaccines. However, this oil was substituted by peanut oil when some people reported having allergic reactions to cottonseed oil.

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In present times, cottonseed oil is among the most often used excipients and emulsifiers that have been approved for use in a wide range of vaccines and drugs.

Health benefits

Cottonseed oil offers a number of health benefits. It possesses the ability to accelerate the healing process, as it contains high levels of antioxidants. Cottonseed oil is also loaded with vitamin E. As a result, many people apply it topically on their cuts, wounds, scratches and scrapes. Tocopherol present in this oil can stimulate healthy growth of new cells and, at the same time, protect the skin from various infections.

As mentioned above, this oil encloses elevated quantities of vitamin E, which is basically a potent antioxidant offering several proven benefits. Vitamin E is extremely beneficial for the skin and also helps to speed up healing of wounds and cuts. It has been proved that vitamin E also has a positive impact on psoriasis, skin ulcers and various skin conditions as well as injuries.

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Scientists have linked both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats to enhanced cognition, besides decreased incidences of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. Natural and unrefined cottonseed oil possesses the ability to diminish neural pathway inflammation and also put off deposition of beta-amyloid plaques. As a result, an individual using cottonseed oil can remain mentally alert and sharp even when they age.

Several animal studies have been undertaken to understand the anti-carcinogenic properties of gossypol, a toxic substance that is naturally present in cottonseed plant. Interestingly enough, gossypol has been associated with reduced growth of prostrate tissue - thereby. Obstructing the enlargement of the prostate and this, in turn, diminishes the chances of developing prostate cancer. However, the risk of developing other forms of cancer may increase depending on the variety as well as the source of cottonseed oil you may be using.

Generally, there is no controversy over the topical application of cottonseed oil since it contains significant amounts of vitamin E as well as several antioxidants that have the ability to improve the health of your skin. Moreover, topical application of cottonseed oil may help in enhancing the appearance of your skin, making you feel and look younger. It also moisturizes the skin and puts off premature aging. Cottonseed oil also helps to get rid of the skin's oxidative stress, thereby diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and lines. At the same time, it may help in eliminating scars and blemishes.

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Cottonseed oil contains notable amounts of antioxidants that help in reducing oxidative stress as well as strain on human immune system. In this way, this oil protects the body from the usual pathogens as well as alien bodies.

There is substantial evidence that say that diets containing elevated amounts of monounsaturated fats can help in reducing inflammation. In fact, people following the Mediterranean diet, which contains high amounts of monounsaturated fats, have found that the inflammatory chemicals in their bloodstream have lowered considerably.

What is worse is that scientists have linked inflammation to various chronic diseases, which also includes heart disease.

Originally, cottonseed oil encloses only 18 percent of monounsaturated fats. However, the monounsaturated fat content of this oil increases significantly to 50 percent when it is hydrogenated to some extent. Theoretically speaking, the anti-inflammatory effects of cottonseed oil could be similar to that of olive oil. As a result, use of this vegetable oil may help in reducing the risks of developing heart disease and, at the same time, improve the symptoms associated to various inflammatory conditions, for instance arthritis.

As mentioned above, when cottonseed oil is hydrogenated there is a significant rise in its unsaturated fat content. However, Arthritis Foundation suggests that you use other vegetable oils possessing anti-inflammatory properties, if you are suffering from this painful condition. Other vegetable oils having anti-inflammatory properties include grapeseed oil, olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil as well as walnut oil.

In addition to unsaturated oils, cottonseed oil also contains a significant amount of saturated fats. Moreover, it contains a number of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which include linolenic acid. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, especially linolenic acid, possess the ability to reduce the harmful cholesterol levels and also enhance the health of your heart. If this oil is used responsibly, it can also help to bring down high blood pressure and diminish the chances of developing heart attacks, atherosclerosis and strokes. However, if you are suffering from a heart problem, it is advisable that you check with your physician regarding the use of other vegetable oils having low content of saturated fats to help perk up your health condition.

Cottonseed oil contains linolenic acid, which stimulated hair growth. Use of this oil is also said to prevent hair loss. This vegetable oil effectively counteracts dermatitis effects that are mainly responsible for hair loss on the skin and the scalp, thereby ensuring that your hair remains healthy and beautiful. Use of this oil helps in supplying the hair with linolenic acid, which is necessary for your hair growth.

It has been found that consuming cottonseed oil facilitates weight loss since this oil does not contain trans fatty acids which is detrimental for our health. Fats present in this vegetable oil can be burnt without much difficulty, thereby helping to promote weight loss. Cottonseed oil contains high levels of beneficial dietary fats that are known to be effective in promoting weight loss. As a result, it helps it enhancing our overall health in a rational period of time.

Choline is an essential dietary nutrient which needs to be consumed by everyone in order to enhance their bodily functions. This nutrient can be easily obtained from various dietary sources like cottonseed oil. Choline is present in cottonseed oil and it aids in the metabolism of lipids in the liver, thereby preventing any damage to the liver owing to accumulation of lipids. Choline also helps us to stay away from diseases like cancer and, at the same time, it helps to reduce inflammation. Choline intake also helps to enhance one's energy levels, ensures proper development of the fetus and enhanced functioning of the brain.

When the brain functions optimally it also ensures that our bodily functions are also normal. Both are closely linked. Hence, consuming foods that contain elevated amounts monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are beneficial for enhancing the functioning of the brain and, at the same time, reducing the risks of developing neurological problems that may arise - for instance dementia. The constituents of cottonseed oil help to reduce inflammation inside the brain as well as reduce swelling in the pathways of the neurons. Moreover, these constituents - such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids - help to put off plaque build-up helping the brain to remain sharp and active. Deposition of plaques in the neurons' pathways is an indication of neurodegenerative ailment and this precedes conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Side effects and cautions

Most of the controversy over cottonseed oil consumption is related to the threats associated with the toxic substance gossypol present in cotton plant. It has been found that gossypol has many negative side effects. Some of them include liver damage, anorexia, and respiratory distress. In addition, gossypol is also known to cause infertility and lower sperm count as well as motility. This compound is also reported to cause pregnancy problems, which include early development of the embryo.

However, whether or not cottonseed oil causes allergies is not known. Some scientists have undertaken research on whether use of this oil causes hypersensitivity. Nevertheless, some older studies involving patients who visited allergy clinics reported that about 1 percent to 6 percent of them who were evaluated showed that skin tests undergone by them showed positive response to extracts of cottonseed.

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