Corn oil is an ingredient extracted from corn germ and is noted for its oxidative stability and high polyunsaturated fatty acid. Corn oil has a good frying quality and is resistant to discoloration or smoking when the free fatty acids are removed as well as the phospholipids.
Corn oil is used for baking and frying, and enhancing the natural flavours of food. The oil is also an ingredient in specific margarines. A study conducted in 2010 showed that the most popular oil used in fast food outlets for cooking French Fries is corn oil. In industry, it is used as an ingredient in soaps, paints, salves, biodiesel, inks, nitro-glycerine and insecticides.
Polyunsaturated fats present in corn oil lower the levels of LDL blood cholesterol. Diets containing high polyunsaturated fatty acids can also lower high blood pressure levels. Linoleic acid, which is needed for growth and good quality of skin and hair, is present in rich amounts in corn oil. Corn oil is also an excellent source of the antioxidant tocopherols.
Oxidized fats from corn oil's polyunsaturated fat generate damage to the cells due to the free radicals. In some medical research it has been seen that the probability of depression and the incidence of some diseases is increased with excessive levels of omega-6, the fatty acids present in corn oil. The high intake of these fatty acids may contribute to the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women or prostate cancer in some men.