Cottonseed oil is made from the seed of a number of different cotton plants. Cottonseed oil is considered a vegetable oil; it has many uses in cooking and baking, and in processed foods.
Cottonseed oil is not usually found in nutritional supplements. In fact, the healthfulness of cottonseed oil use is debatable.
As a fat, cottonseed oil is to be used in moderation. Some experts believe that it is a very unhealthy option. However, cottonseed oil does have attributes that make it superior to other oils for certain applications.
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How Cottonseed Oil is Made First, the seeds must be stripped from the cotton, which is achieved by the basic principles of the cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. Cotton’s Journey, a cotton industry educational site, explains the process of creating cottonseed oil. The cleaned... more
First, the seeds must be stripped from the cotton, which is achieved by the basic principles of the cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. Cotton’s Journey, a cotton industry educational site, explains the process of creating cottonseed oil.
The cleaned seeds are hulled to extract the kernel, where the oil is. The kernels are pressed flat and cooked at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The kernels are then pressed under extreme pressure, and most of the oil is removed.
Some extraction mills use solvents, or chemicals, to remove the cottonseed oil rather than pressure. This usually results in a lower quality product. Either way, the oil then undergoes further purifying, refining and deodorizing.
Cottonseed oil is commonly used in commercial deep fryers as it has a slightly nutty taste that lends itself to fried cooking. The smoke produced from frying with cottonseed oil does not have an unpleasant odor as with other oils.
Cottonseed oil also does not produce trans fats when it is used as a fry oil; trans fats are those that raise LDL, or bad cholesterol, and lower HDL, or good cholesterol. Cottonseed oil has long been the oil used to create processed foods such as potato chips and other fried snacks. Cottonseed oil does not contain cholesterol.
Cottonseed oil is used in vegetable oil blends, salad dressings, and mayonnaise. Because it is naturally hydrogenated, cottonseed oil is also used in many margarine spreads. Cottonseed oil is a main ingredient in the popular Crisco oil because of its hydrogenated state.
Because cottonseed oil is more inexpensive than other oils, it is used in many types of processed foods.
WebMD lists vitamin E as one of the ten nutrients Americans are commonly missing from their diets. An antioxidant, vitamin E prevents cell damage that causes a slew of health problems and contributes to the detrimental effects of aging.
Cottonseed oil is high in tocopherols, and is recommended by WebMD as a good source of vitamin E.
Cottonseed oil is not recommended by Dr. Weil, chiefly due to the oil's saturated fat content. North Dakota State University’s Agriculture Department, lists cottonseed oil as having a 27% saturated fat content. The only oils with more saturated fat than cottonseed oil are lard, butterfat and coconut oil.
Saturated fat is one of the causes of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. The AHA recommends a diet where saturated fat is less than 7% of the total daily calorie intake.
The Mayo Clinic also lists cottonseed oil as a fat to limit as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Gossypol is a chemical that the cotton plant creates to discourage insect predators. It is toxic to humans, decreasing potassium levels and leading to infertility in men, according to WebMD. Opponents of cottonseed oil point to the trace amounts found in cottonseed oil after it has been refined.
The National Cottonseed Products Association asserts that cottonseed oil is one of the purest food products available, and that it meets the FDA’s strict standards. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists cottonseed oil as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).
Another concern about cottonseed oil is that cotton plants are sprayed with heavy pesticides. Cottonseed oil detractors argue that the pesticides could find their way into the oil and thus be consumed by humans.
There are no commonly reported side effects associated with cottonseed oil. Anyone who is allergic to cotton, peanuts or similar products may have an allergic reaction to cottonseed oil.
Anyone experiencing severe allergic reactions such as shortness of breath, inability to swallow or dizziness should seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible.
There are no known medical interactions with cottonseed oil. If you have a heart condition or high cholesterol, you should not use oils like cottonseed oil as part of your diet. Always discuss with your doctor and pharmacist if you are on medication and plan to radically change your diet or begin taking a new supplement.
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|Contraindicated For Certain Medical Conditions|
|Cotton, Cotton Seed|
|Rich In Tocopherols|