CHENNAI: Would you believe that south India's favourite grain has more to offer than just deliciousness and satiety? Extracted from the outer layer or chaff of the rR crop, rice bran oil is a product of many benefits.
This slight yellowish oil, dark oil is commonly used, and even often recommended by nutritionists (in moderation), owing to its rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties.
"The oil has been provided the status of Heart oil in Japan and a Healthy food in the West. A lot of research has gone into determining this, it is not just a name. You could say this is a heart-healthy food," shares Meenakshi Bajaj, registered dietician, adding to the many other benefits that this oil has to offer
Great shelf life
This oil stays on shelves for a long time, thanks to the high quantities of y-oryzanol that helps to improve the oxidative stability that it possesses.
Rice bran oil can help improve inflammation and metabolic variables specifically fasting blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol thereby improving metabolic syndrome.
The fatty acid composition of this oil, which consists saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, is well balanced. In fact, it is even recommended by the WHO and the American Heart Association to lower blood cholesterol due to this reason, says Meenakshi. That being said, the oil is to be consumed only in moderation.
The high smoking point of this oil (2450 C) allows it to be used as healthy cooking oil for sautéing, grilling, marinades, salad dressing, stir-frying, and even deep-frying. In comparison, its counterparts may have low smoking points, the flavour and nutrient are lost and it gets converted to transfat when used for frying purpose. Furthermore, the amount of oil absorbed in the fried snack is about 15 per cent less.
Rice bran oil is a powerhouse of vitamin E, more specifically, tocopherol and tocotrienol. This gives it its anti-inflammatory properties that help with the effects of post-menopause, particularly hot flashes. It is also a source of bioactive phytonutrients like phytosterol, gamma oryzanol, and squalane.
The squalane plays an important role to keep the skin soft, smooth and supple. It is easily absorbed by the skin on consumption. The presence of these phytonutrients also helps one boost their immune system.
The combination of bioactive components possessed by rice bran oil also helps the body prevent the process of premature ageing and age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, it also improves cognitive function and interestingly, it has less allergenic in nature.
This oil can be used as a shortening while baking. Rice bran can replace edible hydrogenated fat for up to 50 per cent. "This is great, considering that baked goods are often full of trans fat. So, if you can replace it even that much, it is fairly good," explains Meenakshi.