Because nearly 20% of the soybean is comprised of oil, soybean oil is a very large byproduct of the processing of soybean. This oil contains a high amount of polyunsaturated fat and is cholesterol-free. It is cheap and easily available, has an ideally balanced level of fatty acids and a light taste. For this reason, it joins olive oil and sunflower oil to be one of the most widely used cooking oils. Soybean oil is particularly popular in the production of margarine.
Soybean oil fits all the criteria to be classified as a healthy cooking oil. It contains almost zero trans fats and “bad” cholesterols, has high vitamin content and is high in unsaturated fatty acids. In most countries, soybean oil is the main source of the important omega fatty acids. Hydrogenated soybean oil is virtually out of the market now as new strains of the soybean plant has been produced. Previously, the soybean oil was hydrogenated to saturate it and increase its stability which resulted in an undesirable byproduct – trans fats. The new strains of soybean plants currently cultivated are stable by nature and do not undergo any form of hydrogenation anymore and are both healthier and safer to consume. These new soybean oils also have a shell life of up to a year when stored at room temperature.
Use as Insect Repellent
As weird as it may sound, it is believed that soybean oil has some bug repellent properties. It is mixed in many natural insect repellents as a passive ingredient to act as the base for the mixture. By mixing soybean oil with other ingredients such as geranium oil and witch hazel, it is possible to make a very effective and non-toxic insect repellant for your plants or crops.
Nutrition in Soybean Oil
Because of its bland taste and healthy chemical makeup, soybean oil is said to make up nearly 80% of all oil use in the United States. While you may not consciously know it, it is one of the main components in many of your favorite condiments and food. You can find it, for example, in margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, non-dairy creamers and the like. Soybean oil can be found with varying levels of refinement. To obtain the most nutritional benefit, choose oil with the least level of refinement.
Due to recent studies creating possible links between soy products and certain types of cancer, there have naturally been some negative reactions to the prevalence of soybean oil in our foods. One of the main arguments against the use of soybean oil is that is usually very highly refined. This is true, as the type of soybean oil used in most highly processed foods is itself very highly processed and modified. New “trans-fat free” versions, for example, often contain chemically modified fats. Other artificially hydrogenated forms of the oil are high in trans fat, which can be linked to heart diseases, strokes and other serious conditions. The healthiest form of soybean oil comes from soybeans that have undergone the least amount of refinement. This will most commonly be denoted as being “cold-pressed” oil, and is usually kept in opaque bottles. If you are looking to maximize the health benefits of this product, this unrefined soybean oil is the way to go.