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Safflower oil (raw?, organic?)

Safflower oil is cold-pressed and can be used in cold dishes (salads), but rarely raw. The proportion of oleic acid and linoleic acid can vary. Organic?
Macronutrient carbohydrates 0%
Macronutrient proteins 0%
Macronutrient fats 100%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 12.7g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = !:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 12.72 g and almost no alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius). It is not always clear whether cold-pressed oil is really raw . Also available in organic quality.

Use in the kitchen

Safflower oil is golden yellow to slightly reddish in color. When cold-pressed (raw), it tastes and smells delicately nutty, similar tosunflower oil . Because of its smoke point of 150 °C, cold-pressed safflower oil is suitable for cold dishes, for refining raw vegetables or for seasoning at the end of cooking. 28 Cold-pressed safflower oil is not suitable for frying or deep-frying, as overheating can produce substances that are harmful to health. However, a safflower oil has been developed that has more oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid) than a high proportion of linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid), which means it can also be used for frying. 4 The higher content of monounsaturated fatty acids increases the smoke point. 32 The smoke point of refined safflower oil is between 230 °C (rich in linoleic acid) and 242 °C (rich in oleic acid). 31 The consistency of safflower oil remains unchanged down to -12 °C, which makes it suitable for chilled or frozen products. 7

Safflower oil, which is rich in linoleic acid, is used as a dressing in salads and goes well with vegetables such as root vegetables, kohlrabi or zucchini . It is also used to refine pasta dishes, soups or other grain dishes. It is added after the cooking time has finished. Safflower oil is also used in curries (such as peas in coconut curry ) or sauces (such as vegan makhani sauce with garam masala ). Margarine is also made from safflower oil. Safflower oil, which is rich in oleic acid, is used for processes such as cooking or frying, where the oil is heated.

The flower threads of the safflower are used as a substitute for the expensive saffron , as they are hardly distinguishable to the naked eye. The safflower is therefore also called false saffron (see alternative names).

Vegan recipe for tabbouleh with pomegranate and safflower oil

Ingredients (for 4 people): 90 g bulgur / millet (organic), 100 g cherry tomatoes (raw, organic), 1 spring onion , 4 stalks of green mint (raw, organic ) , 1 bunch of fresh parsley , 4 tbsp safflower oil, 1 organic lemon , 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds (raw, organic), salt .

Preparation: Cook the bulgur or millet in salted water according to the instructions on the packet. Chop the cherry tomatoes and spring onions. Wash and chop the mint and parsley. Put the bulgur in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Season with safflower oil, lemon juice and salt and finally garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Vegan recipes with safflower oil can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

In supermarkets (such as Coop , Migros , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa ) you can find cold-pressed safflower oil all year round, mainly in conventional quality. In organic supermarkets (such as Denn's Biomarkt and Alnatura ), drugstores (such as DM and Müller ) as well as traditional oil mills (such as Schalk Mühle ) and in online shops, it is available all year round in organic quality. Smaller supermarket chains such as Denner and Volg offer the oil as part of selected promotions.

The taste of cold-pressed, virgin safflower oil can be perceived as scratchy, which is why some people prefer partially refined oil. However, (partial) refining not only changes the taste, it also reduces the content of healthy ingredients in the safflower oil. 14

The availability of safflower oil varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. Our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries can be found above under the ingredient image - and by clicking you can see their development at various suppliers.

Cold-pressed oils (laws)

In Switzerland, an oil is considered cold-pressed if the oilseed was not heated, the pressing temperature did not exceed 50 °C and no problematic post-treatment was carried out. According to the Federal Department of Home Affairs ( EDI ), an edible oil is considered cold-pressed (or may contain synonyms such as (extra) virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed or natural) if it is obtained by pressing or centrifuging from previously unheated raw materials, the temperature during pressing did not exceed 50 °C and there was no refining, i.e. no neutralization, no treatment with adsorbents, bleaching earth and no steaming .

An oil can be called gently steamed if the refining process was limited to steaming and did not exceed 130 °C . 23

In the EU and the USA, there does not appear to be a generally applicable temperature limit set by law for cold-pressed oils. In Germany, similar values apply to those in the EDI regulation in Switzerland. However, the guidelines in Germany do not specify a permissible maximum temperature for general cold pressing. They only refer to products whose labelling and composition are not conclusively set by law (eg not for olive oil, spreadable fats). 24

However, both the EU directives and the amendment to the EDI regulation on edible oil provide for special rules for the labelling of olive oils . 25,26

The terms "raw food" and "raw" are not state-protected terms, such as "organic". Although the pressing temperatures in purely mechanical cold pressing do not usually exceed 40 °C, one should not naively assume that edible oils are raw food quality. There is a suspicion that the measuring method used does not indicate the temperature in the press cylinder, where the heating is highest. In addition, the pressing pressure, the pressing speed and the moisture content of the oilseed influence the pressing temperature. If the moisture content is too low, the temperature rises during pressing and can even exceed the maximum limit of 50 °C.

With water-cooled olive oil presses (so-called "water-cooled 37°" oil presses), it is probably not even possible to say with any certainty what the exact temperature is inside the press cylinder, because the entire press cylinder is surrounded by cooling sleeves. 27

Storage tips

In cold-pressed oils, such as safflower oil, the unsaturated fatty acids contained react with oxygen (air) and thereby reduce the shelf life. 1 It is therefore best to store it in a well-sealed container. In addition to oxygen, temperature also influences the shelf life of safflower oil, which is why it is best to store it in a cool, dark place. 19 If unopened, the oil will last for around a year if stored in a cool, dark place. Opened bottles should be used within nine months, otherwise the oil will become rancid. 1

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

Safflower oil contains 884 kcal per 100 g, which come exclusively from fats. Carbohydrates and protein are not found in the oil. Of 100 g of fat, 7.5 g are saturated fatty acids , which corresponds to 37.7% of the daily requirement. A portion size of 10 g results in 88.4 kcal. 2

What types of safflower oil are there? There are basically two types of safflower oil: the traditional one with a high content of linoleic acid (polyunsaturated) and the one with a high content of oleic acid (monounsaturated, MUFA). Commercial safflower oil, which is rich in linoleic acid, consists of 72-78% linoleic acid and 15-20% oleic acid. After safflower seeds were found in India, which have a higher oleic acid value, safflower oil with 77-81% oleic acid and 10-15% linoleic acid is now also produced. 4 This affects the properties of the oil. (See also Use in the kitchen, Effects on health).

Safflower oil rich in oleic acid contains 13 g of linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) per 100 g, which corresponds to 127% of the daily requirement. Avocado oil and white almond butter contain a comparable amount. Both also contain 13 g of linoleic acid (LA) per 100 g. Grape seed oil contains 70 g/100g, more than five times as much LA. 2 These values were measured for a safflower oil that has a high oleic acid content. If we assume that a safflower oil is rich in LA, it is the oil with the highest linoleic acid content (72-78% = 72-78 g per 100 g). 3,4

In contrast to linoleic acid, the proportion of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid) is low at 0.1 g/100g, which covers 5% of the daily requirement. Grape seed oil and oat flakes (raw, organic) also contain 0.1 g of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) per 100g. Linseed oil has 530 times as much at 53 g/100g. This results in an LA:ALA ratio of around 130:1 in safflower oil. 2 Ideally, you should aim for a ratio of 1:1 or 2-4:1 in your diet to protect your health. 10 A better ratio is therefore found in cold-pressed linseed oil (1:4), cold-pressed rapeseed oil (2:1) or hemp oil (4:1), which is why these oils are also preferable. 2

Safflower oil contains 34 mg of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) per 100 g. This is 284% of the daily requirement. This content is comparable tosunflower oil (41 mg/100g) and grape seed oil (29 mg/100g). Hazelnut oil contains 47 mg/100g, almost 1.5 times as much vitamin E. 2

The vitamin K content of safflower oil is 7.1 µg/100g, which corresponds to 9% of the daily requirement. Palm oil has a similar value at 8 µg/100g and linseed oil at 9.3 µg/100g. In contrast, cold-pressed rapeseed oil has 10 times more vitamin K at 71 µg/100g. Foods that provide the most vitamin K are often spices or herbs (eg dried basil : 1714 µg/100g). However, only small amounts of these are consumed. 2

Cold-pressed safflower oil contains phenols such as apigenin and luteolin. Other biologically active components of the oil are phytosterols such as campesterol. Carotenoids such as lutein or zeaxanthin can also be found in small quantities. Depending on the production process, cold-pressed safflower oil also contains other secondary plant substances. 14

The complete ingredients of safflower oil, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health effects

Safflower oil, which is rich in linoleic acid, has a positive effect on LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. 3 ,6 It is hepatoprotective and appears to improve blood sugar levels, inflammation and blood lipids in a diabetic diet. 6 As a result, the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced. 3 Safflower oil is said to have a positive effect on meningitis symptoms and acne. 6 It also helps in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, cancer and mineral metabolism. 7 Due to the phenolic compounds (see ingredients) and the high vitamin E (tocopherol) content, safflower oil has antioxidant properties. 14

High-oleic safflower oil is believed to improve liver and pancreatic secretion activity and reduce the risk of stomach and duodenal ulcers. Oleic acid also plays an important role in maintaining normal blood pressure. 7 Studies have also shown that high-oleic safflower oil, when used as a substitute for oils high in saturated fat (such as coconut oil ), lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. 8

These results are partly based on animal studies, which is why they cannot be transferred 1:1 to humans. Further research is necessary.

Safflower oil is a good source of oleic acid and linoleic acid. However, you should make sure to include oils, nuts or seeds in your diet that are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (linseed oil, walnuts, etc.), as these are the only ones our body synthesizes DHA and EPA from. 5 This also helps you achieve the desired LA:ALA ratio (see ingredients). Increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) is suspected of promoting inflammation in the body, among other things. 9 Unlike LA or ALA, oleic acid is not essential because our body produces it itself.

In general, unprocessed foods such as nuts or seeds should be preferred as a source of fat instead of oil. Some authors even go so far as to reject oil in principle and instead cite nuts and seeds as the fat requirement. Doctors Dean Ornish, T. Colin Campbell, John A. McDougall, Michael Klaper, Caldwell Esselstyn, Michael Greger, Joel Fuhrman, and Neal D. Barnard claim that high animal fat and protein diets, such as the standard American diet, are detrimental to health. You can find details in the article Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional errors .

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

Safflower oil is considered non-allergenic. It has been tested due to the relationship between safflower and ragweed, which is a common allergen. 11 However, safflower injections, which are made from safflower flowers, can cause allergic reactions. 17 In China and Taiwan, these injections are considered to be helpful in treating cardiovascular diseases, among other things. 18 Symptoms of the allergy include allergic reactions of the skin, respiratory tract and cardiac arrhythmias, although it cannot be ruled out that the undesirable effects are due to the quality standards of the injections. 17,18

Folk medicine - natural medicine

In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine ( TCM ), safflower is said to have a circulation-stimulating effect, which relieves blood congestion and pain and promotes menstruation. 12 It is also considered useful for stomach tumors and internal or external wounds. In India, safflower is traditionally used for scabies, arthritis and mastalgia. In other cultures, it is also used for skin spots, baldness, colic, diabetes, melancholy and dropsy, or for abortions. A water extract from safflower appears to help with painful menstruation, as a laxative and as an anti-inflammatory agent. The dried flower is used for coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, gynecological diseases, stroke and high blood pressure. Safflower oil itself is traditionally used in Persia for rheumatological diseases and paralysis. 13

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

Safflower oil has a CO 2 footprint of around 2.3 kg CO 2 eq/kg. The CO 2 caused by transport amounts to around 0.3 kg CO 2 eq/kg. With these values, safflower oil has a better ecological footprint than olive oil (4.4 kg CO 2 eq/kg) orsunflower oil (2.7 kg CO 2 eq/kg). 20 In the production of safflower oil, there is an increasing focus on more climate-friendly alternatives and methods that increase efficiency, such as supercritical fluid extraction (SFE). 6

The water footprint of safflower seeds is 7221 L per kg. 15 This varies for safflower oil depending on further processing, transport, packaging and cultivation style. Safflower oil that has been produced regionally from local seeds is preferable.

Due to their root system, safflowers are highly resistant to drought and heat (see cultivation-harvest), which is an advantage in view of the advancing climate change. However, due to their low yield, their thorns and their susceptibility to disease, they have not been used to their full extent. 21 As described under Occurrence - Cultivation, there has been a trend in recent years to grow safflowers more and to exploit the full potential of the plant.

The use of organic fertilizers as opposed to chemical fertilizers promotes a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids and a lower content of saturated fatty acids in the safflower seeds. This ultimately increases the fat quality of the safflower oil and is worthwhile. 22

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Various places are possible as the place of origin of safflower. These include Central Asia, the Middle East and Egypt, where safflower was cultivated in 2000 BC. In addition to Carthamus tinctorius, the only cultivated species of safflower, there are 15 others. 4 Over the last few years, a trend has emerged towards more safflower being cultivated. It grows in over 60 countries, with India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the USA and Argentina being the main growing areas. America and Asia together account for 93% of production. But the rest of the world (Europe, Africa or Oceania) also has the right conditions for growing safflower. Attempts are currently being made to develop new varieties that have a higher oil content in the seeds in order to ultimately maximize the oil yield. 6

Cultivation - Harvest

Safflower is grown in a variety of environments because it can withstand drought, strong winds, hailstorms and floods. It has a taproot system, which allows it to survive in dry areas and regions with seasonal rainfall. 6 Safflower is a thistle-like plant with yellow, orange, red or white flowers. Depending on the space available, it grows bushy or upright. Bushy plants produce more flowers and therefore more seeds, which ultimately leads to a higher oil yield. Harvesting of the seeds usually begins 30 days after maturity, with the desired seed moisture being a maximum of 8%. 4 The growing conditions, soil type and variety grown influence the composition of the safflower oil and change the nutritional profile. 6

Industrial production

Safflower oil can be produced using various pressing methods, solvent extractions or a combination of both. Depending on the production method, more or less oil remains in the press cake. With cold pressing, the press cake has more oil residues than with solvent extraction. 14

To carry out cold pressing , the seeds are dried after harvesting. They are then peeled and pressed without heat. The seeds must meet a high quality standard. The resulting oil is centrifuged or filtered. Refining is not necessary. This technique produces a nutrient-rich, sensorially acceptable, cold-pressed, virgin oil. 6, 14

Some people find unrefined safflower oil scratchy, which is why it is sometimes refined or partially refined after filtration. Refining neutralizes the taste and smell and extends the shelf life by removing certain components of the oil. 30 In order to increase the oil yield from safflower seeds, pretreatments are sometimes carried out before mechanical pressing. This includes treatment with enzymes, steaming or roasting. 14 During both refining and individual pretreatments, it is important to note that the properties of the oil are changed and that it is no longer cold-pressed (raw) oil.

Most safflower oils are produced by solvent extraction and/or expeller pressing . Truly cold-pressed oils are a minority. 14 Expeller pressing is similar to cold pressing. However, the seeds are heated before pressing and heat is also generated during the pressing process. Chemicals can also be used on the seeds to increase the oil yield. The heat reduces the content of important ingredients in the safflower oil. 29

Further information

Safflower oil is made from the seeds of the safflower ( Carthamus tinctorius ). This belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and the genus Carthamus . 4 The oil content of the seeds has been changed in the USA over the last few decades from 15% to 48-50%, although the trend has been increasing. To achieve this result, the shell of the seeds was reduced, among other things. 3

Alternative names

Alternative names for safflower oil are safflower oil or thistle oil. The safflower itself is also called false or wild saffron, oil thistle and in Persian Kafesheh. 13 In English the term safflower is used, the oil is called safflower oil. The Latin drug name for the oil is Carthami oleum, refined: Carthami oleum raffinatum, native: Carthami oleum virginale. Incorrect spellings of safflower oil are Färberdistel öl and Färber distelöl.

Other uses

Safflower oil is not only used in human nutrition, but also in animal feed for ruminants. It is also used in combination with other oils as biodiesel. Combined with castor oil, this produces biodiesel with low viscosity. 14 Safflower oil is also suitable in the paint industry. 16 It is also often used in skin care products and other cosmetics because it is well tolerated. The oil is said to have a growth-promoting effect on hair and is easily absorbed into the scalp. 6 The flowers of the safflower are used as a dye for clothing, food and cosmetics. 4 This property also gives the plant the nickname tinctorius.