If you haven't heard much about cottonseed oil benefits yet, expect that to change very soon. Recent research shows this cooking oil — extracted from the seeds of cotton plants of various species — might be linked to lower cholesterol and burning fat.
The November 2018 study published in Nutrition Research analyzed 15 healthy men to test the effects of high-fat diets enriched with either cottonseed oil or olive oil. Specifically, researchers wanted to see whether those oils would help improve these participants' cholesterol profiles while they ate high-fat meals for five days. Results showed that the cottonseed oil trial showed significant reductions in cholesterol, when compared to the minimal changes on the olive oil experiment.
"One of the reasons these results were so surprising is because of the magnitude of change observed with the cottonseed oil diet," said corresponding author Jamie Cooper, PhD, in a press release. "To see this amount of change in such a short period of time is exciting."
The folks who followed this "cottonseed oil diet" showed an average decrease of 8 percent in total cholesterol. They also saw a 15 percent decrease in low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). It's also worth mentioning that they saw an 8 percent increase in high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol).
Researchers suggested that cottonseed oil has a unique fatty acid called dihydrosterculic acid, which might actually help prevent the accumulation of a type of fat in the body called triglycerides.
"By doing that, it pushes the body to burn more of that fat because it can't store it properly, so you have less lipid and cholesterol accumulation," Dr. Cooper said.
It's worth keeping in mind that this was a small study, and researchers are still planning to analyze older adults with high cholesterol to see if this diet might help them, too. So don't rush to throw away all your olive oil just yet — olive oil boasts many benefits as well.
That said, if you're interested in adding a new cooking oil to your kitchen regimen, you can find many cottonseed oils on Amazon, such as Gefen Pure Cottonseed Oil ($10.99, Amazon). Your delicious and nutritious meals await!