Understanding Soybean Oil: Its Smoke Point and Nutritional Benefits

Soybean oil is a popular cooking oil that has maintained an important place in kitchens around the world. In addition to its availability and affordable price tag, soybean oil’s high smoke point and neutral flavor make it a great option for frying or sautéing a variety of dishes. Soybean oil also comes with numerous health benefits, including its support for heart, bone, and skin health.

Below, learn more about the benefits of cooking with soybean oil.

Soybean Oil’s Smoke Point

The smoke point of any oil is the temperature at which it begins to smoke, break down, and potentially release harmful chemicals. If you’re a chef or simply a home cook, you probably consider smoke point when choosing a cooking oil. When an oil reaches its smoke point, it starts to oxidize and release free radicals—harmful compounds that cause oxidative stress in your body, which can lead to accelerated aging and various diseases.

Unrefined extra-virgin olive oil has a smoke point of about 375°F (191°C), while canola oil has a smoke point of 428–450°F (220–230°C). Unlike other oils with a lower smoke point, refined soybean oil has a smoke point of around 450°F (230°C), making it the best choice for high-temperature cooking methods like frying or sautéing. Thanks to its smoke point, soybean oil remains stable under high heat, maintains its nutritional value, and won’t compromise the flavor of your food.

Cooking with Soybean Oil: Versatile and easy to use

In addition to its ability to withstand high heat, soybean oil is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen thanks to its neutral flavor profile. While some cooking oils have a stronger flavor, soybean oil’s mild taste helps it blend seamlessly into your dish without overpowering the other ingredients. Whether you’re using it to bake a cake or sauté vegetables, soybean oil is the perfect fit for any recipe. You can even make a salad dressing out of soybean oil by simply adding vinegar and a few shakes of salt and pepper as needed.

What Is in Soybean Oil: Nutritional Benefits

Soybean oil is popular for its cooking applications and health benefits. Let’s break down the key components that make soybean oil a healthy addition to your diet:

Heart-Healthy Fats

Soybean oil is primarily made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that’s beneficial for heart health. Soybean oil also carries the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) heart health claim, as it may be able to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The claim is based on the ability of soybean oil to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Research shows that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease. In addition, a comprehensive review of eight studies found that substituting just 5% of your daily calories from saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats could decrease your risk of heart disease by 10%.

Bone Health Support

A single tablespoon (15 ml) of soybean oil provides 25 mcg of vitamin K, or 20% of your recommended Daily Value (DV). Vitamin K is important for preventing blood clots and promoting bone health. It helps your body synthesize the proteins that play a vital role in maintaining your bone mass.

While more research is needed, studies show that lower vitamin K intake is associated with reduced bone mineral density in women. In addition, a study involving 440 women over two years found that taking 5 mg of vitamin K daily significantly lowered the participant’s risk of bone fractures.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Soybean oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can be enhanced with stearidonic acid, a plant-based omega-3 that’s an alternative to fish-based omega-3s. A three-month study involving 252 people found that consuming a soybean oil capsule with 1 tablespoon of this enhanced oil daily raised omega-3 levels in the blood. Omega-3s are crucial for heart health, brain function, fetal development, and immunity. In addition, they can reduce inflammation, potentially lowering the risk of diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

However, soybean oil has a higher content of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3s. While both are necessary, the typical diet is often too rich in omega-6s and lacking in omega-3s, which may lead to inflammation and chronic diseases. Therefore, pair your soybean oil intake with other omega-3 sources, including salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts, to maintain a balanced diet.

Skin Health

Soybean oil is also a popular ingredient in skincare products, including serums, moisturizers, and facial oils. That’s because soybean oil contains skin-healthy vitamins like vitamin E, an anti-inflammatory nutrient that may help reduce acne and dermatitis.

Now that you’re aware of soybean oil’s high smoke point, neutral flavor and health and skin benefits, start incorporating this powerhouse ingredient into your diet with one of our tasty soy-based recipes.