The Benefits And Bright Side Of Soybean Oil

From promoting hair growth to improving memory, this versatile oil can do wonders.

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie RajMerlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian)
By Swathi HandooSwathi Handoo, MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health  • 

Soybeans are a go-to protein source for vegetarians and vegans. One of its most used derivatives is soybean oil. This oil extracted from soybeans is rich in protein and healthy fats.

Soybean oil benefits are gaining the attention of many health enthusiasts. It is used by many health freaks because of its rich nutritional profile.

But can it be a healthy substitute for other oils? Can it be consumed regularly? What makes this vegetable oil healthy? Get the answers to your queries from this article. Continue reading to know more.

protip_icon Trivia
Chinese records dating back to 2000 BCE mention cultivating soybeans to make edible soybean oil.

What Is Soybean Oil?

Soybean oil is an edible vegetable oil extracted from soybeans (Glycine max) by heat treating cracked beans with different solvents. The crude oil is blended and refined to make it edible.

Soybean oil is used in various industries that make products such as:

  • Eco-friendly pesticides
  • Fungicides
  • Resins
  • Paints
  • Plastics
  • Lubricants and bio-diesel
  • Soaps
  • Cosmetics
  • Food and beverages

protip_icon Fun Fact
Soybean oil is used to lubricate the elevator system of the Statue of Liberty.

Mainly, it is the food industry in which soybean oil has become popular. It is used:
    • As a cooking oil
    • In salad dressings
    • To make margarineIn baked goods to impart tenderness
    • As an emulsifying agent
    • In preparing smooth icings and fillings
    • To make crispier crusts, wafers, crackers, breads, etc.
  • In sauces like mayonnaise and barbeque sauces
  • In deep frying processes with high fats

But what I’m interested in sharing with you is how healthy using soybean oil for regular cooking is, and how it affects your body. So, let’s get started!

How Is Using Soybean Oil Beneficial For You?

Since it is an excellent source of proteins, essential fats, and phytochemicals, soybean oil has an array of incredible health benefits.

1. Aids Hair Growth

Soybean oil benefits include aiding hair growth

Image: Shutterstock

Hair fall and balding are rising menaces, and they occur in women and men of all age groups. Multiple factors like stress, anxiety, genes, malnutrition, hormonal imbalance, and pollution can lead to accelerated hair fall, reduced hair strand strength, and stunted hair growth.

Using soybean oil or soy products can increase the amino acids and keratin-like molecules in the hair fibers, strengthening them from the roots.

This is why many shampoos that promise to add shine to your hair have soy oil or soy derivatives (1).

2. Protects And Nourishes Your Skin

Soybean oil protects and nourishes the skin

Image: Shutterstock

Soybean oil is rich in linoleic acid, isoflavones, antioxidants, and vitamins that protect and nourish your skin.

Applying soybean oil or gels and lotions containing soybean oil derivatives can protect your skin from UVB rays and free radical-induced inflammation and reduce the transepidermal water lossi  XIt refers to the process where the water passes through the different skin layers and eventually evaporates from its surface. (TEWL) on the skin, promoting skin barrier recovery (2), (3).

Black soybean oil is rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and isoflavones that prevent skin aging in post-menopausal women. The isoflavones are phytoestrogens and exhibit human estrogen-like activity.

Using such plant oils prevents the loss of collagen and elastin in your skin and keeps your skin soft, moist, and free of wrinkles, pigmentation, and fine lines (4).

3. Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels And Protects Your Heart

Soybean oil protects your heart

Image: Shutterstock

Using refined oils for cooking can increase the levels of ‘bad’ unsaturated fats in your body, leading to the accumulation of ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) in the blood.

The LDL deposits clog your blood vessels, interfere with blood circulation, and indirectly increase the pressure on your heart, leading to hypertension.

Healthy alternatives like soybean oil are abundant in the ‘good’ unsaturated omega-3 and omega-3 fatty acids. It slows down LDL accumulation and reduces hypertensioni  XAlso called high blood pressure, which occurs due to Increased pressure of the flowing blood on the arterial wall. . In a study, it was found to lower the risk of atherosclerosisi  XThe buildup of fats on the outer walls of the arteries leading to a ruptured artery, stroke, or heart attack. and ischemic attacks by a whopping 25% (5).

Time to choose wisely, isn’t it?

4. Helps You Gain Weight The Right Way

Soybean oil helps you gain weight the right way

Image: Shutterstock

While 80% of the world’s population wants to lose weight, there are many undernourished people out there, who have been advised to gain weight.

Since soybean oil has higher levels of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids than saturated fats, along with vegetable starch and phytochemicals, substituting butter or refined cooking oil with it is a healthier option.

Note: Check out how soybean oil clearly wins over butter in the later sections!

You can dress your salads with soybean oil and use it in baking and regular cooking. Remember to balance it with a lot of fiber in your diet to put on pounds gradually and in a healthy way – without hurting your heart, liver, or metabolism.

5. Is Vital For Bone Health

Image: Shutterstock

Women are gifted with a mysterious weapon called estrogen that protects them from the biggest of disorders.

One of the crucial roles estrogen plays is in regulating bone metabolism, and its deficiency was found to cause bone loss and increased incidence of osteopeniai  XA condition that causes loss of bone mineral density, leading to weak bones, mostly affecting women over 50. .

Soybean oil is rich in phytosterols called isoflavones (plant-derived polyphenols and estrogen look-alikes) that scavenge free radicals and bind to estrogen receptors on your bones to trigger positive bone reforming and offer protection from bone diseases like osteoporosisi  XA condition that causes weak and brittle bones that fracture easily, mostly affecting the hips, wrists, or spine. and osteopenia (6).

6. Increases Memory Power And Fights Alzheimer’s Disease

Elevated levels of saturated fats cause the formation of amyloid plaques (like LDL deposits) on the brain cells, leading to their inflammation and memory loss.

Soybean oil has high levels of vitamin K and the ‘good’ unsaturated fatty acids, like linolenic and linoleic acids, which go on to make up omega-3 acids like DHA and EPA and omega-6 fatty acids.

These fatty acids have potent neuroprotective properties and need to be externally supplied through your diet. Adding soybeans to your food, using soybean oil for cooking, or taking soybean oil supplements can boost memory and learning. It can also treat severe cognitive, neurodegenerative, and cerebrovascular disorders like Alzheimer’s (7).

Despite coming from a plant source, soybean oil has become quite a hit – thanks to its benefits.

So, what components of these beans are responsible for bringing such positive effects in your body?

Isn’t that what you just thought about? Here’s what I have for you!

What Is The Biochemical And Nutritional Value Of Soybean Oil?

The biochemical composition, along with its nutrition profile, gives soybean oil its characteristic health benefits and uses. Take a look.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 13g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119 Calories from Fat 119
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 21%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protien 0g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Calories 119(498 kJ) 6%
From Carbohydrate 0.0(0.0 kJ)
From Fat 119(498 kJ)
From Protein 0.0(0.0 kJ)
From Alcohol 0.0(0.0 kJ)
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Total Carbohydrate 0.0 g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g 0%
Starch 0.0 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Total Fat 13.5 g 21%
Saturated Fat 2.1 g 10%
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7.7 g
Total trans fatty acids 0.1 g
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids 0.0 g
Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids 0.1 g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 949 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 6790 mg
Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Protein 0.0 g 0%
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Vitamin A 0.0IU 0%
Vitamin C 0.0 mg 0%
Vitamin D ~ ~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 1.1 mg 6%
Vitamin K 24.8 mcg 31%
Thiamin 0.0 mg 0%
Riboflavin 0.0 mg 0%
Niacin 0.0 mg 0%
Vitamin B6 0.0 mg 0%
Folate 0.0 mcg 0%
Vitamin B12 0.0 mcg 0%
Pantothenic Acid 0.0 mg 0%
Choline 0.0 mg
Betaine 0.0 mg
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Calcium 0 mg 0%
Iron 0 mg 0%
Magnesium 0 mg 0%
Phosphorus 0 mg 0%
Potassium 0 mg 0%
Sodium 0.0 mg 0%
Zinc 0.0 mg 0%
Copper 0 mg 0%
Manganese ~ ~
Selenium 0 mcg 0%
Fluoride ~

Soybean oil is rich in calories derived from unsaturated fatty acids and plant starch. It is rich in vitamins E and K and is essential in the synthesis and functioning of steroidal hormones like estrogen.

Hence, it is a healthier alternative to other refined vegetable oils or animal fats. Don’t believe me?

Let me give you some comparative data between soybean oil and butter.

Composition of the 2 experimental diets
Soybean oil Butter
Composition (g)1
Fat (soybean oil or butter) 14.13 17.09
Carbohydrate (starch) 56.52 54.37
Protein (casein) 21.2 20.39
Cellulose 2.0 2.0
Minerals2 5.0 5.0
Vitamins3 1.0 1.0
Methionine 0.15 0.15
Energy (kJ/g) 17.72 17.05
Composition of soybean oil and butter1
Soybean oil Butter
Energy (kJ) 3696 3091
Water (g) 0 15.5
Proteins (g) 0 0.7
Lipids (g) 99.9 83
Saturated (g) 14.1 52.6
Monounsaturated (g) 20.5 23.5
Polyunsaturated (g) 60.5 2
Cholesterol (mg) 0 250

It is evident from the numbers that soybean oil is a better choice. I say this because there’s more than just fats to this oil. Read on!

Biochemically, soybean oil has many unique phytochemicals, including isoflavones, saponins, phytosterols, and phenolic acids.

The most important and abundant of them are the isoflavones daidzein, genistein, and glycetein. These play a vital role in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Saponins are hypocholesterolemici  XThe presence of low quantity cholesterol in the blood due to stress, anemia, infections, etc. and antioxidant sterols, which specifically prevent colon cancers. Soybean oil has various phytosterols – like sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol – that have anticancer and antioxidant properties. The phenolic acids present in soybeans, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and ellagic acid, also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (7).

It sounds like an ideal replacement for your regular cooking oil, doesn’t it?

But, when you look at the nutrition table, one thing that struck me (and must have caught your eye too!) is the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Since soybean oil is a concentrated source of healthy fats and calories, it is best to consume only 1-1 ½ tablespoons daily.

Though the phytochemical profile of this oil looks promising, high levels of such fatty acids reportedly have deleterious effects on your health.

Scroll down to know what they are.

Side Effects And Drawbacks Of Using Soybean Oil

  • Hinder Thyroid Functioning

Soybean oil and soy products have shown antithyroid effects in iodine-deficient individuals.

When hypothyroid patients consume soy products, the isoflavones inhibit the absorption of synthetic thyroid supplements, showing a false negative response to the treatment. Sometimes, the dose is increased to bridge the gap, which never existed (8),(9).

You can either cut down on the soybean oil intake or follow a balanced diet under medical supervision to avoid clinical implications.

  • Causes Obesity And Diabetes

The culprits, in this case, are the polyunsaturated fatty acids. Once they are broken down, these fatty acid derivatives get accumulated in various organs of the body, including the liver and kidneys, increasing their weights and leading to inflammation and eventually diabetes.

Also, because of the saturated fatty acid content, this oil induces the build-up of the fat storing adipose tissues, causing obesity (10).

  • Can Be Allergic To Infants

Breastfeeding infants are usually allergic to soybean derivatives because of their complex phytochemical composition.

Such children can develop severe rashes, nausea, and fever when fed with processed milk products in which soy derivatives are added in powdered form.

While soybean makes for a rich protein source for vegetarians and vegans alike, soybean oil benefits are not just limited to that. Soybean oil with its rich amino acid content is not only good for your skin and hair health but also helps lower cholesterol, making it a healthier cooking oil option. It is also rich in bone-regenerating isoflavones that help prevent degenerative conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritisi  XThe most common type of arthritis wherein the cartilage cushioning the bones at the bone joints wears down over time. . Its high levels of vitamin K content also makes it beneficial for brain health, helping to improve memory and cognition. You can use soybean oil salad dressings, or baked wafers, chips, and bread, to get the most of its health benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is soybean oil better than olive oil?

Yes, soybean oil is better than olive oil. The polyunsaturated fats in soybean oil make it an ideal choice for cardiovascular health.

Is soybean oil good for weight loss?

Yes, if consumed in moderation, soybean oil helps with weight loss because of its low linoleic acid content (which otherwise may induce obesity).

Key Takeaways

  • Soybean oil is packed with proteins, essential fats, and phytochemicals.
  • Soybean oil or soy products may reduce hair fall and nourish your skin as it may increase amino acids in your hair fibers and is rich in antioxidants, and vitamins that protect your skin.
  • Adding soybean oil to your diet may reduce bad cholesterol and help protect your heart.
  • It may also improve bone health and brain health and may boost memory and cognition.
  • Soybean oil can however have negative side effects like hindering thyroid function, causing obesity and diabetes, and being allergic to infants.


  1. “Hair Cosmetics: An Overview” International Journal of Trichology, US National Library of Medicine
  2. “Black soybean anthocyanins attenuate inflammatory responses…” Nutrition Research and Practice, US National Library of Medicine
  3. “Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects…” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. “Dermatological application of soy isoflavones…”
  5. “Getting to the heart of…” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School
  6. “Osteoprotective effect of soybean and sesame oils…” Cytotechnology, US National Library of Medicine
  7. “Phytochemicals in soybeans” Department of Nutrition and Food Science, South Dakota State University
  8. “Effect of soy protein and soybean…” Thyroid: official journal of American Thyroid Association, US National Library of Medicine
  9. “Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity…” Environmental Health Perspectives, US National Library of Medicine
  10. “Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic…” PLoS One, US National
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