Good-for-you Gourmet Treat: Rosemary Peppercorn Rice Bran Oil

A Note from Hope, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine If you haven’t yet tried this healthy oil, you might want to think about adding Rice Bran Oil to your diet. A byproduct of rice milling, the rice grain’s outer layer, this oil has long been cooked in Asian countries, including Japan, India, and China. It has recently gained attention for its potential health benefits in the US.

What’s even better: You can infuse it with your favorite fresh herbs, and you’ll get a bigger bang for the drizzle you pour over roasted veggies, salads, pasta, and more! We chose the stimulating additions of rosemary that grow in my yard (great for improving your memory) and peppercorns (that can help with everything from calming bronchitis to boosting your sex drive).

Here’s how: In a tall, clean bottle, pop in 6-8 cut stalks of rosemary and 1/4 cup of peppercorns. Cover with rice bran oil. Add a label with the date (while it doesn’t tend to go bad, it’s a good idea to know when you bottled the oil), ribbon, and give to your favorite folks. Be sure to make a bottle for yourself!

Health Bennies:

RICE BRAN OIL is extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It has a mild taste and is popular in Asian cuisine because of its suitability for high-temperature cooking methods such as deep-frying and stir-frying. It is said to be the secret of good tempura.

It includes mostly monounsaturated – a tablespoon contains 7 grams of monounsaturated fat, three of saturated fat, and five polyunsaturated fat. In comparison, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 11 grams of monounsaturated fat, two grams of saturated fat, and one gram of polyunsaturated fat. Rice bran oil also contains components of vitamin E that may benefit health.

A study from the University of Rochester in New York showed that isolated vitamin fractions in rice bran oil might be useful for cholesterol control. However, most of the evidence for this comes from studies in lab animals.

In one of these studies, total cholesterol dropped by 42 percent in lab rats fed a concentrated fraction of vitamin E called tocotrienol rich fraction (TRF) extracted from rice bran oil. The animals’ LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels dropped as much as 62 percent after their diets were supplemented with TRF. The study was published in the May 2005 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Earlier studies by the same research team showed that TRF boosts liver enzymes’ activity that clear toxic substances from the liver and reduces or stabilizes liver tumors. The group concluded that long-term use of tocotrienol might reduce overall cancer risk.

ROSEMARY is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality. Therefore, it is thought to boost alertness and focus.

PEPPERCORNS have been shown to help with arthritis, asthma, upset stomach, bronchitis, a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, colic, depression, diarrhea, gas, headache, sex drive, menstrual pain, stuffy nose, sinus infection, dizziness, discolored skin (vitiligo), weight loss, and cancer.

SUGGESTIONS: Use it to cook with, add to salads and roasted veggies. When the bottle runs low, refill with the oil of your choice, add more herbs, and enjoy!