Cottonseed Oil – Benefits, Contents, Uses, Side Effects

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What is Cottonseed Oil?

As the name suggests cottonseed oil is a cooking oil made from the seeds of a cotton plant. It is produced in high quantities in various countries including the United States. One cottonseed contains around 15-20 percent oil.

Cottonseed oil can be easily oxidized when exposed to heat, light, and air. It is refined in order to remove gossypol. Gossypol is a naturally occurring toxin that gives a yellow color to the oil and protects the plant from insects. Cottonseed oil is used in cooking, home remedies for certain skin issues, and sometimes even as a pesticide.

What is the nutritional value of cottonseed oil?

According to USDA, the following is the nutritional value for one tablespoon (15ml) of Cottonseed oil:-
• Calories- 120
• Fats- 14g
• Sodium-0mg
• Carbohydrates -0g
• Fiber-0g
• Sugars-0g
• Protein 0g

What is the Composition of Cottonseed Oil?

Cottonseed contains about 50% poly-unsaturated fatty acid. Apart from this, it also contains:-
• Palmitic Acid- 22-28%
• Linoleic Acid- 49-58%
• Oileic Acid- 15-20%
• Arachidic acid/ bechic acid-20%
• Lignoceric acid- 10%

It also contains other micronutrients such as Vitamin E (32%)and Vitamin K (4%).

What types of Fats are present in Cottonseed Oil?

There are three different types of fats present in cottonseed oil

1) Saturated fat

They are considered to be less healthy fat that may even lead to cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to choose an oil that has less than 4gm of saturated fat per tablespoon but cottonseed oil provides just 4gm of saturated fats.

2) Polyunsaturated Fats

1 tablespoon of cottonseed oil contains 7gm of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature and are known to boost your heart health when you use them.

However, there are two different kinds of polyunsaturated fatty acids:-
• alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fatty acids (2%)
• Omega-6 fatty acids (58%)-Responsible for reducing inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, improve brain function, and boost immunity.

3) Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)

These fats primarily come from plant sources, like nuts or seeds. They are believed to raise the “good cholesterol” (HDL Cholesterol).

What are the Benefits of Cottonseed Oil?

There are various benefits of cottonseed oil. A few of them are listed below:-

1) Cottonseed Oil improves the Skin Quality

Good for skin

Cottonseed oil is rich in Vitamin E and other antioxidants that have many benefits on your skin including moisturizing, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore the topical use of this oil improves the appearance of the skin, moisturizes dry skin, and prevents premature aging.

The Linoleic acid present in it is a common ingredient in various skin care products. This oil even has the power to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles and help to get rid of blemishes and scars.

2) Cottonseed Oil shows Anti-Cancer Effects

Gossypol is a naturally occurring toxin in cottonseed oil. There have been several studies on animals regarding the anti-cancer properties of gossypol.

It was found that gossypol may lower the levels of prostate cancer. According to a 2018 study, gossypol reduced tumor growth and slowed or killed three prostate cancer cells. It was also found that cottonseed oil may suppress cancer cells.

3) Cottonseed oil Lowers Inflammation

It was found that monounsaturated fats which are present in cottonseed oil can reduce inflammation, whether consumed or topically applied. Regular use of this oil can relieve chronic symptoms such as arthritis, gout, headaches, joint disorders, and even heart attack.

Cottonseed oil contains 18% of monounsaturated Fats, which have the power to even cure arthritis. But when it is partially hydrogenated, the quantity of the oil increases to 50%, and with hydrogenation, it also rises the unsaturated fat percentage, which is bad for your health. Therefore the Arthritis Foundation recommends other oil with anti-inflammatory properties such as:-
• Olive Oil
• Grapeseed Oil
• Canola Oil
• Avocado Oil
• Walnut Oil

Not even this, the cottonseed oil may also improve your Cognitive Health. The mono- and poly-unsaturated fats present in cottonseed oil increase cognition and a reduction in neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. The cottonseed oil is known to reduce inflammation even from the neural pathways and keep you sharp as you age!

4) Cottonseed Oil reduces the risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Though cottonseed oil contains a notable amount of unsaturated fats it also contains mono- and poly-unsaturated fats (gamma-linolenic acid) which are believed to raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and hence improve heart health.

However, the hydrogenated form of this oil might contain a high level of unsaturated fats, which may be dangerous for your heart, especially if you have any cardiovascular disease

Oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid also improves your blood pressure, prevents type-2 diabetes and fights infections, and promotes brain function.

5) Cottonseed Oil speeds up Wound Healing

As cottonseed oil is rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants, it is believed to speed up the healing process of the wound.

It is can be directly applied to fresh wounds, cuts, scrapes, and scratches.

6) Cottonseed Oil increases the Hair Growth

4. Hair Benefits

Cottonseed oil when applied to hair provides them moisturization to the hair and scalp and helps to reduce dandruff.

It also provides shine and tames to your hair when applied before styling them.

7) Cottonseed Oil is used to make Processed Food

Cottonseed Oil is commonly used in processed food such as potato chips, mayonnaise, and cookies due to its ability to extend the shelf life.

It is also used in baking, helps in achieving the creamy consistency in icing and whipped toppings. It is even used in making fast food as it enhances its flavor and is also less expensive than other vegetable oil.

8) Cottonseed Oil improves Immune Health

The antioxidants present in the cottonseed oil reduce oxidative stress or any strain on your immune system thus protecting your body against harmful pathogens.

What are the Side Effects of Cottonseed Oil?

1) Contains Gossypol

The controversy surrounding the consumption of cottonseed oil has to do with the dangers of consuming gossypol.

According to the research published in Scientific World Journal indicates that high concentration of gossypol can lead to various medical issues, including:-
• Infertility and reduction in sperm count and motility
• Pregnancy problem
• Liver damage
• Respiratory disorder
• Anorexia

2) May Cause Skin Irritation

May Cause Skin Irritation

Before using the cottonseed Oil, try to do a patch test. Put a small amount of this oil on a patch of your skin and wait for few minutes to see if there are any negative effects.

As it is common that this oil might not suit all the skin, especially sensitive skin. Those who are allergic to this skin might face inflammation, itchiness, and skin redness, therefore it is always recommended to do a patch test before applying any oil to your face.

4) May affect Heart Health


The hydrogenated form of Cottonseed Oil might contain a high level of unsaturated fats, which may be dangerous for your heart, especially if you have any cardiovascular disease

5) May Contain Pesticides

As Cotton is not classified as a food crop, it is often grown with high levels of pesticides which means it can be high in dangerous toxins especially carcinogenic. So before buying a cottonseed product, go for an organic option and know where your cottonseed oil comes from and what methods were used to produce it.

6) Contain Too much Omega-6

Cottonseed oil contains 55% of polyunsaturated fats like linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 acid. Omega-6 fatty acids should be consumed along with omega-3 fatty acids and in limited quantity. Way too much omega-6 fatty acid can have adverse effects on your health.

How to Store Cottonseed Oil?

Cottonseed oil should be kept in an airtight container and should be stored in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

Is Cottonseed Oil Bad or Good for you?

Cottonseed Oil is not considered a healthy fat as it contains more unsaturated fat than other oils. Moreover, there are also concerns regarding the pesticides that are used in cotton farming, which may end up in oil in trace amounts.

As for cottonseed Oil is inexpensive. Many manufacturers use the hydrogenated form in the making of goods, crackers, cookies, and other food.

So, Cottonseed Oil is not Good for you.

What are the Healthy Alternatives of Cottonseed Oil?

The healthier alternatives to Cottonseed Oil include:-
• Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
• Coconut oil
• Avocado Oil


Cottonseed oil provides health benefits that are similar to other oil minus the level of unsaturated fats. Not only the kitchen use but cottonseed oil was also used to make oil lamps and candles in the 1800s. And nowadays it is used in insecticides, laundry detergents, and cosmetics.

Written by Rajnish Singh


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