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Friday, May 24, 2013

What's the deal with safflower oil?

Not gonna lie here, I was a little surprised by this one.

So, okay, safflower oil.  It's all the rage, right?  You already know of the horrors of canola (con-ola) oil, but what's the deal with safflower?  Sounds pretty innocent.  Right?  Isn't it?  OH PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME THERE IS SOMETHING OUT THERE THAT IS OKAY TO EAT!

Yeaaaah, well, put safflower oil down into the "probs not" category.

So, this all started when my mother-in-law called me from the store.  The conversation started out with, "You are always telling me that pretty much every oil is straight up poison, I'm in the store, I have safflower oil in my hand, is it okay or is it poison too?"  (You may or may not be surprised that these kinds of calls are somewhat a regular occurence in my house - not from her only, but from whole bunches of people, actually.)  I'm the poison siren.  It's an unofficial job title, but that doesn't mean I'm not above going out to make myself a cool looking plastic name tag about it.

But I digress.  Yes, the poison.  Or not.  Which one?

I have to admit, I had to do a quick run over to look it up.  It was not something I had studied extensively.  But here's what I found out:

1.  Safflower oil is a polyunsaturated oil.  Because of this, it is highly reactive and form free radicals when exposed to heat or oxygen (don't know how you're going to get around THAT one).  And I don't have to tell you that free radicals are wild cards, known to be the cause of heart disease and cancer.  Mmm, lemme think about that, no thanks, don't want those.

2.  Safflower oil has a high concentration of omega-6's.  When your body goes out of balance with omega-6, researchers have found that you're destined for adult-onset diabetes.  (Want more on that one?  Research the Ottobonis report.)

3.  Safflower oil has a high positive association to women developing breast cancer.  A Swedish (Sweeeeedish - Emelie) study tracked 61,500 women from the ages of 40-76 over four years and found those who consumed high levels of polyunsaturated fats (that's what safflower oil is), had a higher risk of breast cancer.  (No pink ribbons on those bottles, eh!)

4.  Safflowers and safflower oil is UNSAFE during PREGNANCY.  In itty bitty print, I found something that said it could "contribute to fetal death" and pregnant and nursing women should not consume it as it's flower is POISONOUS.  Don't you think you should perhaps PUT THAT ON THE LABEL?  People MIGHT want to know that.  

5.  Safflower oil may contribute to hyperthermia - where the temperature of your body raises above appropriate norms and you may have a medical emergency.  I didn't find that on the bottle, either.

6.  Cooking with safflower oil can lead to severe chest pain and heart problems.

7.  Thrombocytopenia - safflower oil is a blood thinner and reduces your platelets.

8.  Liver complications.  If your liver is already messed up, this oil messes it up more.

9.  It also enhances (great word) bleeding disorders.  If you've got an ulcer or another bleeding disorder, you'll want to avoid this puppy.  

10.  Safflower is in the daisy/ragweed/marigold/chrysanthemum family.  If you're allergic to any of those, avoid safflower, too.

So actually, there are more reasons, but I wanted to just pop up the ten I thought were pretty much the most dramatic and wild to point out that unfortunately, it really ISN'T as benign as we thought it to be.  But it sounds so PRETTY!  Argh.

I asked her what application she was planning on using an oil for, she said she was looking for something to bake with.  I asked her if she was opposed to using coconut oil or butter.  She was irritated because those are not liquids and it's easier to use a liquid oil for baking.

Coconut oil is a liquid above 76 degrees F, so if you want to use it in liquid form, it takes about eleven seconds in a warm pot to get there.  Butter doesn't take much longer.

I know that it is a bit more of a step for you to heat up butter, lard or coconut oil to get it to liquid, but I don't want any of you to have to suffer through heart disease, cancer, or any of those other wild possibilities listed above.  Sometimes what is easy is not always good.  Sometimes what is good is not always easy.  Be the advocate for your own health and do what ought to be done.

Better than baking up heart disease and cancer.

Peace, love and just another reason to give your butter a big kiss,
Ms. Daisy


  1. Good old butter. :)

    Something that's OK to eat? Pretty much anything that comes from a garden to which no poisons have been applied. :)

  2. Absolutely! Amazing that as a society we've sunk to this lowest common denominator and most people don't know what actual food is and it's rather special and hoitey-toitey if you prefer your food without poison.

    Wait, why is everyone sick?

    Nah, can't be related. Never mind.

    Keep on keeping your garden (farm) clean and bringing health to the land!
    Ms. Daisy