Unveiling the Inflammatory Effects Of Seed Oils

By Tom Seest

How Do Seed Oils Trigger Inflammation?

At SeedOilNews, we help people who are curious about seed oil by collating information and news about seed oils.

Oils are composed of fats that come in either monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) forms; the health benefits of each oil depend on its fatty acid profile, extraction method, and how you incorporate it into cooking.
Seed oils contain high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids that can damage your heart and trigger inflammation throughout the body.

How Do Seed Oils Trigger Inflammation?

How Do Seed Oils Trigger Inflammation?

Why Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Problematic?

Health experts view inflammation as one of the primary concerns, since an imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids can contribute to chronic inflammation that could potentially lead to heart disease, autoimmune conditions or other ailments.
Seed oils often boast an abundant supply of omega-3 fatty acids; however, they also contain high amounts of polyunsatured omega-6 fatty acids which have led to them being widely criticized.
Many people assume that eating seed oils is bad for you because omega-6s promote inflammation and increase the risk of diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. But this is an inaccurate impression.
Paula Doebrich, MPH, RDN of Happea Nutrition suggests the key to combatting inflammation is eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods while restricting ultra-processed ones, according to Paula.
Most seed oils undergo a refining process that removes protective compounds like vitamin E and phenols, potentially diminishing both their antioxidant activity and flavor.
There are also unrefined versions of seed oils, such as safflower oil, sunflower oil and canola oil that don’t go through this refining process and maintain higher concentrations of protective compounds. These types of products often boast greater health benefits.
Studies have demonstrated that refined soybean oil, a common seed oil found in processed food products, increases levels of inflammation-causing molecules such as C-reactive protein and TNF-alpha in the body. Therefore, it’s wise to limit your exposure to such oils.
One key issue relating to omega-6 oils is their widespread availability in processed food products, contributing significantly to an imbalanced ratio between omega-6s and omega-3s in modern diets.
Though most health experts advise consuming small amounts of seed oils as part of a balanced diet, they still often suggest including avocado or olive oils as alternatives for healthier consumption. Furthermore, supplements containing both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are available at most stores and online.

Why Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Problematic?

Why Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Problematic?

Why Are Oxidized Seed Oils Harmful?

Heating seed oils at high temperatures oxidizes unsaturated fatty acids present in them and results in their destruction, depriving us of essential antioxidants as well as producing potentially dangerous byproducts that aren’t great for our health – such as one linked with inflammation studies.
Oxidation occurs both during refining and storage processes. Therefore, only use healthy vegetable oils such as olive or canola oil when cooking – not more susceptible seed oils such as sunflower or flax seed oil that could become subject to rapid oxidation.
Most industrial seed oils are produced through a chemically-based refining process that eliminates their natural nutrients and nutrient-dense nature. First, seeds from soy, corn, cotton, safflower and rapeseed plants are collected; then heated at extremely high temperatures so unsaturated fatty acids oxidize.
Many oxidation byproducts are harmful to our health; they can contribute to inflammation diseases, heart disease and cancer as well as depleting essential vitamin E from our bodies.
Therefore, many doctors advise taking moderate doses of refined seed oils in combination with an increase in anti-inflammatory fats that contain antioxidants to protect the body against excess oxidative damage. Examples include coconut oil, butter and olive oil as healthy sources.
These foods contain high concentrations of linoleic acid, the primary omega-6 fatty acid found in the diet. Although this substance may contribute to inflammation, its role isn’t significant compared with that played by saturated and trans fats found in seed oils which have been linked to more serious responses from inflammation.
Studies have demonstrated that eating more polyunsaturated fats from seed oils can help lower blood cholesterol, yet these lipids are susceptible to oxidation and may quickly turn rancid over time, potentially leaving us without healthy options in our pantry or pans.
Nutritionists and doctors typically recommend that industrial seed oils should only be consumed as part of a balanced, healthful diet and in moderation. Their benefits should only be used sparingly.

Why Are Oxidized Seed Oils Harmful?

Why Are Oxidized Seed Oils Harmful?

What Makes Processed Foods a Ticking Time Bomb?

Health foodies will likely recognize the term “seed oil.” It refers to cooking and salad oils made from pressing seeds such as canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, soy and grapeseed; commonly referred to as the “hateful eight” because of their potential harm on health.
Seed oils contain high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflammation in the body and may contribute to chronic diseases like cardiovascular illness and cancer. This makes seed oils especially dangerous.
Seed oils do contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce inflammation and enhance cardiovascular health, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You should aim for a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats when selecting your diet plan.
However, although some individuals claim that eating too many omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation, there’s little proof to support such claims. According to studies done on seed oils containing significant quantities of linoleic acid – one of the omega-6 fats present – didn’t increase inflammatory markers in the bloodstream.
Linoleic acid converts into arachidonic acid in small quantities in our bodies; arachidonic acid has been linked with various diseases including cancer and cardiovascular conditions.
However, you can lessen the inflammatory effects by opting for healthier cooking oils such as olive or avocado oil instead of industrial seed oils. Doing this may also help limit consumption of ultra-processed foods which often contain harmful fats.
Overall, eating a diet rich in whole foods is the key to combatting inflammation. Reduce processed food consumption in favor of more nutrient-dense alternatives like legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Trying to kick industrial seed oils? Start by cleaning out your pantry. Doing this will lower consumption of these inflammatory fats, decreasing temptation to purchase them again. Also try and avoid restaurants and cafes which use these oils whenever possible.

What Makes Processed Foods a Ticking Time Bomb?

What Makes Processed Foods a Ticking Time Bomb?

Are Seed Oils Really Worth the Risk?

Seed oils such as canola, corn, cottonseed, soy, safflower, and sunflower have earned themselves a bad reputation in recent years. Some social media nutritionists falsely allege them to be toxic. Yet, in reality, these oils may actually provide healthful fats containing omega-6 fatty acids to support your well-being.
Animal fats have long been linked to inflammation and other health concerns; seed oils boast abundant polyunsaturated (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) with anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower your risk for heart disease and chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
But while MUFAs and PUFAs can be beneficial, they also present certain drawbacks; therefore, maintaining a balanced diet is of utmost importance. Achieve this balance through whole food sources like nuts, seeds, fish (such as salmon and mackerel) or tofu.
One major drawback of seed oils is their imbalanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, leading to inflammation linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancer.
However, eating healthy amounts of omega-6 fatty acids from oils such as linoleic acid has been shown to significantly reduce inflammation associated with heart disease and other forms of disease. A separate study discovered that individuals who consumed more omega-6 fatty acids had a lower chance of heart disease compared with those with lower levels.
If inflammation is an issue for you, it might be wise to reduce exposure or switch out these oils with healthier ones altogether or switch for alternative healthy oils like olive or avocado oil instead. You can do this by cutting back on processed food consumption and restaurant meals that use industrial seed oils; replacing these seed oils with healthy alternatives; or looking for organic oils which contain nutrients rich in nutrient dense organic oils instead.

Are Seed Oils Really Worth the Risk?

Are Seed Oils Really Worth the Risk?

Be sure to read our other related stories at SeedOilNews to learn more about seed oils.