Corn oil is extracted from the germ of corn. The germ is the small germinating part of the seed, which grows into a new maize plant. These germs are rich in nutrients and oils. There are various methods of extracting oil from the seed germs. However, the best oil in terms of health benefits is the cold pressed oil. The oil when extracted is dense and needs to be refined before it is used for cooking purposes. One can also use unrefined oil as it contains more of health boosting plant phytochemicals.
The common process of making corn oil involves expeller pressing. The oil is then treated with a solvent. After that it is refined which gets rid of free fatty acids. Finally, it is sent through steam distillation to get rid of volatile organic compounds. However, this process leads to loss of useful compounds and also leads to contamination with the solvent, although very small. A few producers make 100 % pure unrefined corn oil which is extracted using cold pressed method. This is expensive than other corn oils, but it is natural and organic.
- Anticholesterol – The most studied property of corn oil is its ability to lower LDL blood cholesterol when taken within limits.
- Emollient – It is a moisturizer for the skin.
- Hair conditioner – Corn oil makes hair more manageable, although it is not recommended to use it as hair oil.
- Immunostimulant – Corn oil provides essential fatty acids like linoleic acid ( omega – 6 ) which is required for some immune system functions.
- Tonic – Linoleic acid is required for proper functioning of kidneys, liver, heart, reproductive system and digestive system.
- Hypotensive – Like olive oil, it reduces blood pressure post consumption in hypertensive patients.
- Antioxidant – Corn oil contains Vitamin E which is an antioxidant.