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11 Amazing Benefits of Sunflower Oil
by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - January 03, 2019
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The health benefits of sunflower oil include its ability to improve heart health, boost energy, strengthen the immune system, improve skin health, prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, protect against asthma, and reduce inflammation.
What is Sunflower Oil?
Sunflower oil is a non-volatile oil that can be easily extracted from sunflowers. Although most people are already familiar with sunflowers, they don’t immediately think of sunflowers as sources of an extremely healthy vegetable oil that can replace some of the less healthy cooking oils available on the market. Sunflower oil is also used in certain cosmetic applications. The main producers of sunflower oil are Russia, Ukraine, and Argentina, but it is used throughout the world in the preparation of various cuisines.
Sunflower oil has many uses, including the following:
Used in cooking and frying
Used in cosmetics like lip balms and skin creams
Used as a medicine for the heart as it is low cholesterol
Oil, sunflower, linoleic, (partially hydrogenated)
Serving Size :
Water [g] 0
Energy [kcal] 884
Protein [g] 0
Total lipid (fat) [g] 100
Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 0
Fiber, total dietary [g] 0
Sugars, total [g] 0
Calcium, Ca [mg] 0
Iron, Fe [mg] 0
Magnesium, Mg [mg] 0
Phosphorus, P [mg] 0
Potassium, K [mg] 0
Sodium, Na [mg] 0
Zinc, Zn [mg] 0
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg] 0
Thiamin [mg] 0
Riboflavin [mg] 0
Niacin [mg] 0
Vitamin B-6 [mg] 0
Folate, DFE [µg] 0
Vitamin B-12 [µg] 0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg] 0
Vitamin A, IU [IU] 0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg] 41.08
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg] 5.4
Fatty acids, total saturated [g] 13
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 46.2
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 36.4
Cholesterol [mg] 0
Caffeine [mg] 0
Sources include : USDA
Sunflower Oil Nutrition
According to USDA sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, vitamin K, phytosterols, and monosaturated fatty acids.
One of the primary reasons for the growing popularity of sunflower oil is its impressive fatty acid content, which includes palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, lecithin, carotenoids, selenium, and linoleic acid. The combination of fatty acids in the body are extremely important to maintain various elements of human health, and sunflower oil can help maintain that balance.
Furthermore, some of those fatty acids, as well as vitamin E (tocopherols) and other organic compounds, act as antioxidants in sunflower oil, which means that they can positively affect a huge range of conditions that people regularly suffer from. It also has more polyunsaturated fats than any other commonly used vegetable oil, and with the recent craze of eating healthy and searching for alternative options, sunflower oil is becoming quite desirable on the international market.
Health Benefits of Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil has fascinating health benefits for everyone. Let’s explore them in detail.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
The balance of fatty acids found in sunflower oil, including a substantial amount of linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) is very good, says a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Finding a healthy balance between HDL or good cholesterol (omega-3s) and LDL or bad cholesterol is very important. Furthermore, sunflower oil doesn’t contain any saturated fats, which means that it can actually reduce your overall cholesterol content in the body.
Relief from Athlete’s Foot
Sunflower oil is also an effective remedy for treating Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis). Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that starts between the toes and the topical application of the sunflower oil helps in curing it faster.
Boosts Heart Health
Sunflower oil, in moderation, is a good choice for those who want to keep an eye on their heart health and prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can clog arteries, raise blood pressure, and increase your chances of suffering a heart attack or a stroke. The presence of choline, phenolic acid, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats in sunflower oil boosts the energy and also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Improves Immune System
Researchers from Spain, in a study published in the Food Chemistry journal, confirmed that sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant in the body. It has been directly connected to preventing heart disease and boosting your immune system.
Sunflower oil, rich in vitamin E, is specifically related to improving skin health and regenerating cells. This means your skin is better protected against damage from the sun, as well as the natural degradation of age that occurs when free radicals are present in the body. Antioxidants like vitamin E neutralize free radicals, keeping them from destroying or damaging healthy cells. You can see an increased reduction in scars, quicker wound healing, and a healthier natural glow to your skin. This is a major reason why sunflower oil is commonly used in cosmetic applications.
Some people use sunflower oil for massaging premature infants having low birth weight or other complications. It is claimed that this effectively lowers the chances of developing skin infections. Since their organs (including their skin) are in an underdeveloped stage, this oil acts as a protective barrier. However, sufficient scientific literature is not available on this benefit of sunflower oil.
The fatty acid content in sunflower oil is connected to energy levels in the body. Saturated fats can make you feel sluggish, while unsaturated fats, of which sunflower oil has many, can keep you feeling energized.
As mentioned above, sunflower oil is rich in antioxidants and substances that act as antioxidants. Vitamin E, which has a group of compounds known as tocopherols, is a powerful antioxidant that can eliminate free radicals before they can mutate healthy cells into cancerous cells. There are a number of ongoing research studies to verify its effects on a wider variety of cancers.
Asthma affects millions of people around the world, and this respiratory condition can range from mild to life-threatening. Sunflower oil has been positively correlated with a lower amount and severity of asthma attacks because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, which are derived from its vitamin content, as well as the beneficial fatty acids it contains. This is confirmed by Dr. Michael James of the University of Adelaide in his study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Reduces Severity of Arthritis
Along with asthma, sunflower oil has also been linked to a reduction in the severity of arthritis.
The fatty acids have a significant effect on the general immune system and increase the body’s ability to resist attacks by infection, says Dr. Parveen Yaqoob of the University of Reading. Sunflower oil is a rich source of fatty acids, which protects the skin by strengthening the membrane barriers, thereby making it harder for bacteria and viruses to enter the body.
Sunflower oil is highly recommended for infants because it can protect them from infections, particularly when they are born premature and are highly susceptible to them. This same benefit is extended to adults who use the oil as well, although the effects are not quite as dramatic on them.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle and chronic levels of stress, along with commonly tedious professional lives, we hardly have time to check and consume nutritious foods, but by using sunflower oil in our kitchens we can at least improve the quality of cooking.
A fatty diet, fast food, and a lack of exercise have the possibility of resulting in obesity. The generational trend is moving fast towards foods and meals with unhealthy ingredients that can have a lasting impact on your health. Many of these foods don’t provide any protein, vitamins, or essential nutrients. By incorporating sunflower oil into your diet, you can lead a healthy life by reaping its ultimate benefits, as discussed above.
Word of Caution: Although the fatty acids in sunflower oil are important and essential in our diet, sunflower oil does have higher omega-6 content than most other vegetable oils. There has been some concern about this, particularly for people who already have problems with obesity or cholesterol.