Ingredient Information

Expeller Pressed High Oleic Safflower Oil


Medical Conditions



Expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil is a highly refined edible vegetable oil where the oil has been mechanically extracted. The safflower seeds have been cultivated to yield a high oleic acid crop for increased nutritional value. The variety of seed they come from is Carthamus tinctorious, and the refined oil from this seed cannot contain any less than 70% oleic acid.

High oleic acid safflower oil is more expensive than most vegetable oils but is considered one of the more healthful oils for food. It is very stable because of the high amount of monounsaturated fat it contains and has a neutral flavor, which makes it an ideal vegetable oil for cooking. It is also deodorized and colorless.

Due to its chemical and physical properties, expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil does not lose its nutritional composition during cooking. This refined oil has a very high smoke point (the temperature at which heated fat or oil starts to break down and burn) at 450°F (232°C). It also has a density very similar to other vegetable oils, from 0.91 to 0.95 g/cm3. The oil is easily absorbed and contains a high amount of tocopherols (vitamin E). The high vitamin E content makes it less prone to oxidation, and therefore, it will have a longer shelf life.

Other Use and Industries

Paint base was one of the main functions for safflower oil prior to its common use for cooking oil. It made a strong base for premium paints because of its drying qualities and because it does not turn the traditional yellow color of oil. It is still used in varnish and paint today and is also is used as the oil ingredient in cosmetics and lubricants.

Health Effects

Oleic acid is essential to brain function. The brain contains more oleic acid (an omega 9 fatty acid) than DHA (an omega 6 fatty acid). As such, oleic acid is found in synapses (that carry nerve impulses) and myelin (found in nerve cells). Other parts of the body, including the liver, also use oleic acid. Since the brain cannot get enough oleic acid from the diet, it will synthesize oleic acid (meaning it will form the acid itself in the body by combining parts). Meanwhile, the other organs cannot synthesize oleic acid and must obtain it from the diet. High oleic acid safflower oil helps fulfill this need without providing too many saturated fats.

Since it is so low in saturated fats, high oleic acid safflower oil is considered to be one of the more healthful refined oils on the market. It is also one of the best oils for monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to decrease the chance of cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL cholesterol. Of course with all fats, moderation is the key so that no more than 35% of daily calories should come from fat. In addition, although expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil is relatively healthful, it should be consumed in moderation to avoid weight-gain, which can lead to or worsen diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Safflower is a thistle plant that grows in hot and dry areas. In the United States, it tends to flourish in the Southwest. Previously, safflower had been used for centuries beginning as a dye. The high oleic version was maintained in the second half of the 20th century by cultivation (which is not the same as genetic modification). Since then, it has gained popularity as the preferred safflower oil because of its increased stability.

Expeller pressing is used to refine oils without chemicals. There is no heat applied during pressing either, but the harder the nut or seed, the more friction and heat created. Expeller pressed oils can also be cold pressed, which involves pressing the seeds or nuts in a controlled environment that keeps the temperature below 120°F.

After the seeds have been harvested, it will be dried to a moisture content of approximately 8%. At around 8% moisture, the seeds are ready to be pressed for oil removal. Before pressing, the seeds will be crushed and heated at a low temperature to prepare them for the pressing. Next, the pressing process will begin where mechanical pressure is used to extract the oil from the seed. As such, more than one pressing step is used in order to remove as much as the oil as possible. The oil obtained from the pressings is referred to as crude oil.

Crude oil must be purified or refined in order to be used. The refining process involves either chemical extraction or water precipitation to remove the impurities. Afterwards, the oil is “bleached” by pushing it through clay that will further filter out impurities and bring about its color. The last step in processing is deodorizing, which is usually done through steam distillation.

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