Corn Oil

Corn oil is oil extracted from the germ of (maize). Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines.  This oil is generally less expensive than most other types of vegetables oils. One bushel of corn contains 1.55 pounds of this oil (2.8% by weight). Corn agronomists have developed high-oil varieties; however, these varieties tend to show lower field yields, so they are not universally accepted by growers.

This oil is also a feedstock used for biodiesel. Other industrial uses for this oil include soap, salve, paint, rustproofing for metal surfaces, inks, textiles, nitroglycerin, and insecticides. It is sometimes used as a carrier for drug molecules in pharmaceutical preparations.

Corn Oil

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Nutritional Facts of Corn Oil

Type of AcidPercentage of Total
Oleic Acid28%
Saturated Fatty Acid12.948%
Monounsaturated Fatty Acid27.576%
Linoleic Acid58%
Linolenic Acid1%
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid54.677%

Health Benefits of Corn

1. Cholesterol Lowering Effect
Corn oil has received much attention in the recent years for its ability to lower blood cholesterol. It is also being compared with olive oil to find out which oil performs better in terms of health benefits. Corn oil contains phytosterols in significant amount. These are sterol compounds that are derived from plant sources and are similar to cholesterol in structure. Many plant sterols have powerful ability to reduce absorption of cholesterol. Some others help the body to use more cholesterol so that there is less in the serum.

In this popular study, it was found that this oil does in fact affect absorption of cholesterol in the body. People were fed a diet rich in cholesterol. There was much higher cholesterol absorption in this oil from which sterols had been reduced. This effect was observed using 150 mg/kg of body weight this oil supplementation. This implies that using this oil in diet, like for cooking or as salad dressing should lower LDL cholesterol, unless this oil is taken in such high amounts that its saturated fat content increases cholesterol levels.

2. Heart Health
This oil is good for health of cardovascular system if taken within limits. This oil is rich in linoelic acids and other PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids). A diet which contains about 8-10 % of the total energy from PUFAs is good for heart health. Our regular diet usually contains only about 5 % even though we may be consuming lots of fats. This means that our diet should be rich in foods that contain PUFAs, like corn oil.

PUFAs also have LDL cholesterol lowering activity. This contributes to the earlier cholesterol lowering effect caused by phytosterols.

3. High Blood Pressure
Consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids lowers high blood pressure in people who are suffering from hypertension. This oil specifically is able to lower blood pressure levels by about 10%. However, as always, one should keep the consumption of fats within limits, no matter how healthy.

4. Corn Oil for Skin
One can apply this oil for skin as a massage oil. Corn oil is a nice emollient, though not as good as the well known massage oils like olive, coconut or sweet almond. Unrefined corn oil has slight corn like aroma which may be preferred by some people. It improves skin functioning because of the presence of linoleic acid and vitamin E in it. This oil is a gentle oil and one can use it as base oil for household products like lip balms, salves, creams and night oils. This oil is about 59% linoleic acid and because of it, this oil penetrates quickly into the skin.

5. Corn Oil for Hair
Corn oil is not conventionally a ‘hair oil’. One can use it as a hot oil treatment 1 – 2 times a week. It helps dry and undernourished hair. It conditions the hair and makes them smooth.

6. For Pets
Corn oil is also used for animals. It is gentle and great for their skin care. Massaging this oil on a dog’s hair makes the coat healthier. This oil is also fed to horses to treat dull coat conditions. This oil provides them with healthy fats and more energy. However, their diet should also contain something which is rich in omega-3 fatty acid to balance out excess omega-6 from this oil.

Uses of Corn oil

  • Deep frying – Corn oil is a preferred oil for cooking, especially deep frying. Its smoke point is 450 ° F, which is second only to soybean oil. That makes this oil one of the best oils for making deep fried recipes, like french fries.
  • Soap making
  • Carrier for medicines.
  • As an ingredient in insecticides
  • Preventing corrosion on iron surfaces (rustproofing).
  • Manufacture of nitroglycerin. Did you know that nitroglycerin is also used as a vasodilator in heart conditions like heart attack.
  • It is also used in biodiesel technology.

Sources of Corn Oil

Corn oil is extracted from the germ of corn. The germ is the small germinating part of the seed, which grows into a new maize plant. These germs are rich in nutrients and oils. There are various methods of extracting oil from the seed germs. However, the best oil in terms of health benefits is the cold pressed oil. The oil when extracted is dense and needs to be refined before it is used for cooking purposes. One can also use unrefined oil as it contains more of health boosting plant phytochemicals. The common process of making this oil involves expeller pressing. The oil is then treated with a solvent. After that it is refined which gets rid of free fatty acids. Finally, it is sent through steam distillation to get rid of volatile organic compounds. However, this process leads to loss of useful compounds and also leads to contamination with the solvent, although very small.

A few producers make 100 % pure unrefined this oil which is extracted using cold pressed method. This is expensive than other this oils, but it is natural and organic.