Rice Bran Oil: Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

Mehak Shah

October 12, 2022

Popularly known as heart oil or even health food in the western world, rice bran oil (RBO) is a natural source of antioxidants. The oil makes its way right from the outer layer of the endosperm of rice to your kitchen shelves. Therefore, one of the healthiest edible oil choices you can make in cooking is rice bran oil. With high availability and several health benefits, you can find rice bran oil in every household. 

Rice bran oil is nutritionally rich. The striking balance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in rice bran oil benefits the heart. It has a mild taste, and it is popular in Asian cuisine. Asians have been using it for more than 2000 years. It is also a staple for quite a large population in the world. 

Historically, rice is considered a sign of good fortune and prosperity in many cultures. And the oil extract from rice bran has countless applications. So, read the entire article to discover what life-changing benefits rice bran oil can bring.

What is Rice Bran Oil?

Rice bran oil, as the name suggests, is derived from rice. Rice has several layers, one of which is called the “Bran.” It is a brown coloured, hard and oily layer between the rice kernel and the outer husk. The rice bran oil comes from the bran. 

Primarily, rice bran oil is edible because it is not sticky, making it a suitable cooking medium. Moreover, the appropriate amount of fats in a balanced proportion makes this oil healthy for the heart. Also, its 15-20% less absorption and economical price make it an ideal edible oil.
Rice Bran Oil is an excellent source of a powerful antioxidant, Oryzanol.

A study claims that this antioxidant assists in reducing cardiovascular diseases. The oil is flavourful and has a high smoking point. It means that the oil retains its nutrition even at high temperatures, making rice bran oil meet all criteria that define a healthy edible oil for all of us. Not just this, you can use rice bran oil for nourishing, cleansing and brightening your skin.

Types of Rice Bran Oil

Refined Oil

Refined oil is purified to remove suspended particles, colour, odour, flavour component or any toxic substance. It is purified using chemicals. After purification, clear and pure oil is left behind, which you can use for various purposes.

An elaborate manufacturing process is involved here. Excessive filtration and the chemicals involved make the refined oil utterly devoid of any kind of taste or smell. The process also strips the oils’ vitamin E, minerals and beta carotene, making it less nutritious.

As a result, fewer beta carotene and vitamin E reduce the shelf life. Therefore, manufacturers add synthetic products to increase the shelf life. These synthetic products are BHA and BHT.  Dieticians recommend avoiding these ingredients because they can be harmful enough to cause cancer. 

Filtered Oil

The process includes filtering out the suspended particles. The technique used to extract the oil is the traditional cold pressing method with no processing except for filtering and bottling it.

It helps retain the flavour of the seeds. This kind of oil may retain flavour to the extent that it might as well overpower the natural flavour of the food you cook it with.

Rice Bran Oil – Nutritional Information

Cooking oil does more to you than just staying in your kitchen rack. It plays a pivotal role in regulating your health. It alters your cholesterol level, metabolism, even reduces inflammation etc.

Over the last year, the heart disease and cholesterol scare have made people conscious of which oil they pick for cooking. Gradually, people are adding rice bran oil to their health charts. Why? Let’s know in detail.

Every 13 grams of rice bran oil contains:

  • Fat: 14 g
  • Calories: 120
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fibre: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Vitamin K: 3.3 μg
  • Vitamin E: 4.4 mg
  • Phytosterols: 161 mg

Rice Bran Oil Extraction

People in various parts of the world, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions, cultivate rice. Rice flourishes when soil is heavy, high in humus and clay, with temperatures ranging from 20-40 degrees Celsius. Paddy is a grain that contains one rice kernel, and it also has several layers. The first layer is called Husk. Right under the husk lies “Bran.” The bran contains over 75% of the oil content of the grain. It is rich in fat and vitamin complexes. 

The oil is ultimately derived when bran goes through Expeller Pressing and Solvent Extraction processes. First, bran is placed in the expeller, where the barrel’s inner screw presses it until it releases the oil. It leaves a bran cake as a leftover. Next, people extract any remaining oil in the bran cake using Hexane, a food-grade solvent. The extracted oil then goes through filtering and neutralisation until it is ready for consumption.

Top Health Benefits of Rice Bran Oil

Oriza Sativa or Rice Bran oil is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential oils. The presence of Oryzanol in rice bran oil makes it a healthy food option and also makes it suitable for use in skincare formulations. 

The other advantages include its abundance in vitamin E, moisturising, hair and skin protection. Let’s take a closer look at the top health benefits in detail.

Improves Cholesterol, Blood Sugar Levels and Blood Pressure

Oryzanol (a natural antioxidant) reduces the absorption of serum (bad) cholesterol like LDL or VLDL. Rice bran oil contains Oryzanol in appropriate quantities. It is low in saturated fats, which leads to improvement in blood cholesterol levels. 

A high blood pressure research report by researchers at American Heart Association in 2012 highlights the role of rice bran oil in reducing blood pressure. The report suggests that people who consume rice bran oil as cooking oil observed a significant drop in cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

According to a study, monounsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats or good fats effectively lower cholesterol levels. Rice bran oil contains the appropriate proportion of these fats. Hence, it helps lower cholesterol levels in your body. 

Consuming rice bran oil with sesame oil or any hypertensive medication helps reduce blood pressure significantly. According to a study, systolic and diastolic blood pressures drop on the consumption of rice bran oil. 

Maintains a Healthy Heart

Consuming fatty acids in the right proportions is highly beneficial. Rice bran oil increases cholesterol elimination and decreases cholesterol absorption. It promotes overall cardiovascular health. A study claims that rice bran oil leads to a reduction in overall cholesterol levels which is beneficial for the heart.

Neutral Taste and High Smoking Point

Rice bran oil has a high smoking point. That means it is suitable for cooking in high temperatures. It does not lose its nutrition even in excessive heat or excessively high temperatures. Also, RBO is less viscous, which ensures that it does not stick to food. Interestingly the absorption of rice bran oil is way less than other oils. 

Another quality that makes it an appropriate choice for cooking is its mild flavour with a neutral taste. It is versatile and extremely light. These attributes make rice bran oil one of the best cooking oils for good health.

Oral Health
Oil Pulling is a technique that requires swishing and pulling the oil through teeth. When you use rice bran oil in this oil pulling technique, it proves to be quite beneficial. It effectively reduces bad breath or halitosis, giving you excellent oral health.

Anti-inflammatory Properties
Consumption of rice bran oil increases mitochondrial respiration. A study suggests that rice bran oil appropriately regulates inflammatory responses. It modulates mitochondrial energy metabolism.

The dietary components in the rice bran oil help control inflammation. It is rich in antioxidants and several studies prove the importance of antioxidants in regulating inflammation. 

Reduces Post-Menopause Symptoms

Rice bran oil improves overall strength in menopausal women and reduces the symptoms related to menopause. These symptoms include hot flashes and other irritations. Also, it prevents the production of luteinising hormone, responsible for making sudden changes in hormone levels. As a result, it helps get rid of the symptoms. Y-oryzanol in RBO also helps manage hot flashes. 

Enhances Vitamin E Levels

Any byproduct of cellular metabolism can turn out to be dangerous. For example, it may cause healthy cells to mutate and then turn into cancerous cells. Rice bran oil boasts 29% of the daily value for vitamin E.

Vitamin E includes tocopherol and tocotrienol. They function as antioxidants and behave as free radicals. These antioxidants neutralise these byproducts and reduce the chance of cancer. Vitamin E aids in the healing of wounds, reduces wrinkles, protects from sunburn and increases cell regeneration. 

Other Benefits

  • Rice bran oil is an excellent supplement to regulate thyroid functioning. It lowers the thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (TSH) in people suffering from hyperthyroidism. In addition, it influences the working of the hypothalamus. As a result, it prevents any kind of dysfunction.
  • Rice bran oil also helps increase muscle mass due to gamma-oryzanol. The gamma-oryzanol increases endorphin levels in the body that aids in muscle development.
  • Rice bran oil helps decrease calcium absorption in kidneys and prevents stone formation.
  • Since rice bran oil is rich in antioxidants, it becomes a health guard and immunity booster.

Uses of Rice Bran Oil

You can use rice bran oil in various ways. The applications of rice bran oil are abundant, ranging from food items to medicines and cosmetics. It gives a charming flavour to your food on heating. Moreover, it offers suitable frying stability. Rice bran oil is one of the common products which finds its application in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries. 

Following are the various applications:

Hair Oil

Natural oils can do wonders to your hair when it comes to hair care! 

The high amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the rice bran oil make it an excellent hair care product. Using rice bran oil to massage your hair before shampooing can benefit your hair. It helps control frizz, nourishes hair from top to bottom, and makes it thicker over time with constant use.

Skin Care

Gently applying rice bran oil on sun-exposed skin protects it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Also, it helps protect your skin from pollution damage. Rice bran oil can act as a natural sunscreen because of its highly beneficial antioxidants.

You can also use rice bran oil as a makeup remover. The vitamin E in the oil allows it to penetrate deep into the skin. As a result, it makes your skin more soft and supple. It also removes the chemicals in makeup, gently off your face. 

Applying it right after a shower keeps the skin soft, hydrated, and protected. 


You can also use rice bran oil as an anti-ageing product. Regularly applying it to the skin enhances blood circulation, lightens skin and even prevents eye bags or dark circles. It boosts collagen production and smoothes pores or wrinkles.

Rice bran oil also prevents hair greying, especially in the initial stages. The best way to do it is by applying it to your hair with shampoo.

Exfoliating Scrub

Rice bran oil is an excellent, non-greasy, exfoliating scrub. Mix the rice bran oil with either oatmeal or sugar and then rub it in circular motions. It will boost cell regeneration and stimulate circulation for radiant, youthful skin. It also tightens and brightens the skin.

Massage on skin with rice bran oil can also soothe inflamed or wounded skin. It also relieves skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.


High amounts of gamma-oryzanol and vitamin E in rice bran oil make it suitable for skin cream, soaps, hair conditioners, sunscreens, and lipsticks. It moisturises the lips and provides a strong mould to lipsticks for stability. It also contributes to the spreadability of nail polishes. 

Edible Oil

The unique antioxidant Oryzanol in rice bran oil makes it better than all other kinds of edible oils. It’s  high cooking temperature and suitability for deep frying makes it a “must-have” in every kitchen. The high amounts of vitamin E, cholesterol-lowering abilities and ideal fatty acid balance make rice bran oil a healthy food choice.

Rice Bran Oil: Possible Side Effects and Precautions

Rice bran oil is a safe product, and everyone can consume it. However, some people experience allergies and specific interactions after consuming it. Therefore, it is always good to consult a doctor before consuming rice bran oil if you are on any medication. You should also be careful if you have an allergic reaction. 

Here are some precautions and side effects which should never go off your mind:

  • Adding rice bran oil to your bath is an excellent way to nourish and make your skin more supple. However, rice bran may infest with straw itch mite, a pest. As a result, it can cause irritation and redness on your skin. To avoid such circumstances, ensure that there is no infestation. Also, ensure that the oil you use is not very old.
  • The fibre in rice bran can block the digestive tract, causing discomfort. If you experience anything like that, consult your doctor.
  • Rice bran oil is high in Omega-6. Overconsumption of omega-6 may cause inflammation and increase the risk of heart diseases. Therefore, always ensure that you don’t over consume.
  • Rice bran oil may cause severe allergic reactions on your skin. Therefore, before you apply it over the skin, do a patch test in the inner portion of the arm. Forty-eight hours of no reaction is a green signal for its use on your skin. 
  • Rice bran oil may lower the amount of calcium disposition in the body. Therefore, it helps prevent kidney stones. However, if you are suffering from calcium deficiency or Osteoporosis, it can be dangerous. 
  • Excess consumption of rice bran oil may lead to excess fatty acid deposition. As a result, it might lead to weight gain. 

The Bottomline 

Rice bran oil offers various health benefits. These benefits include lowering cholesterol, preventing heart diseases, and reducing blood pressure on the interior. It helps nourish and moisturise the skin and hair on the exterior. The availability of rice bran oil is as easy as its extraction. Therefore, people around the globe prefer it as a great source of oryzanol and other nutrients.

However, it is essential to keep track of daily rice bran oil consumption. Excessive consumption might lead to allergic reactions, inflammations and other discomforts. Therefore, making rice bran oil a part of your healthy diet (only in moderation) can benefit you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is rice bran oil good for you?

A. Yes. Rice bran oil is beneficial to human health. It contains a lot of nutrients and antioxidants. Therefore, it is most suitable for cooking at high temperatures. The presence of oryzanol and vitamin E in RBO reduces cholesterol and nourishes skin and hair.

Q. Why is rice bran oil bad for you?

A. Generally, rice bran oil is good for your health. However, it might cause inevitable bowel movements and stomach discomfort. It can also cause severe allergic reactions. In addition, the high Omega-6 quantity in RBO may lead to inflammation. 

Q. Is rice bran oil high in omega 3?

A. Yes. Rice bran oil is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is high at 20:1.

Q. What are the side effects of rice bran oil?

A. There are very few side effects of rice bran oil. It may block the digestive tract of people with intestinal and other disorders. 

Q. Which is better: rice bran or sunflower oil?

A. Sunflower oil has more vitamin E than rice bran oil. Nevertheless, the higher smoke point of rice bran oil (232 degrees Celsius) allows it to retain more nutrients in high temperatures than sunflower oil. (smoke point- 225 degrees Celsius)

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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