Rice Bran Oil
Rice bran oil is derived from the inner husk and germ of the rice bran and has a slightly buttery taste to it. Rice bran oil functions very well under high temperatures, making it ideal for sautéing, wok cooking and deep-frying. Japanese and Chinese cooking has long used rice bran oil for cooking because of these reasons. Furthermore, rice bran oil imparts a light and pleasant flavor without overpowering the food when used for cooking, leaving no unpleasant aftertaste. The balanced flavors of the oil makes it valuable in both Chinese and Japanese cuisine, making it a common cooking oil in their countries.
Uses of Rice Bran Oil
In addition to being one of the prime oils used in wok cooking and tempura frying, rice bran oil also makes a very appetizing salad dressing. When combined with a blend of spices and vinegar, the easily blended rice bran oil leaves behind a nearly imperceptible flavor. For this same reason, many chefs prefer to use this oil when coating baking sheets and cake pans. This helps them easily remove cakes, cookies or pastries without sticking too much, with very little flavor imparted.
Rice bran oil is usually used in food made for human consumption. However, it can sometimes be used as food supplement for pets. Rice bran is a common additive to animal feed, because of its high fat content. Animals that have trouble keeping their weight on, such as racehorses and zoo animals can benefit from a rice bran oil supplement because of its high fat and calorically dense nutritional profile. Horses and other animals receiving a rice bran oil supplement are also believed to have much healthier, shinier coats.
Another great way that rice bran oil is used is in the production of soaps and body creams. Like many other oils, the fat content and high levels of Vitamin E in rice bran oil make it ideal for skin application. It easily blends in with other products without coagulating or separating into multiple layers. As a result, rice bran oil has become a favorite ingredient for soap manufacturers worldwide.
The Effects of Rice bran Oil on Cholesterol
Studies recently done have shown a positive correlation between the consumption of rice bran oil and lower levels of cholesterol. During these studies, the total cholesterol levels in rat test subjects were lowered by 42%, with LDL (bad cholesterol) dropping by up to 62%. The specific compound attributed to this change is Vitamin E. Rice bran contains very high levels of tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF), which has long been studied for its use as a cancer treatment and for anti-inflammatory creams. One of the most effective forms of TRF has been found in rice bran and of course, its constituent oil.
Although rice bran oil was traditionally used and manufactured in East Asia, it is now produced by multiple companies in the United States. Because of an increasing demand of the rice bran oil, attributed to immigration and an increase in Chinese and Japanese restaurants worldwide, the production of rice bran oil is on a steady increase. Considering its ease of use and pleasant flavor, this is truly no surprise.