*Sunflower oil is a non-volatile, edible vegetable extracted from sunflower seeds.
*Has a mild taste, light in color and has a light, non-greasy feel.
*It is odorless and does not impart any odor or taste to the foods cooked with it.
*Has a high smoking point and so the nutritional value is not altered even when used in high heat cooking. Cooking with sunflower oil also keeps the fried or baked foods like snacks fresh and healthy for a long time.
*It is liquid at room temperature.
*Has a low saturated fat and high mono and polyunsaturated fat content.
*Has more vitamin E than any other vegetable oil.
*Different types of sunflower oil produced are-
(1) High linoleic variety -has about 62% of the polyunsaturated fatty acid, linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid.
(2) High oleic variety -has about 82% of the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid.
(3) Mid oleic variety
*The high oleic variety has a longer shelf life, heat stable and suitable for frying.
*The high linoleic variety is best when used cold as salad dressings, vegetable drizzling, and soft margarine and also as a nutritional supplement.
*Besides cooking, it is used in the manufacture of cosmetics, sunscreens, soaps, and as an emollient in aromatherapy.
Is it raw?
Yes and No.
*Yes, if it says ‘cold pressed’ or ‘mechanically extracted’, which means it is not processed by heat or chemicals.
*No, if it says ‘chemically extracted’, which means certain chemicals have been added to the oil in the process of extraction and refining which could be harmful.
1. Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats and has no cholesterol, which makes it a heart healthy oil.
2. The essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are the precursors of prostaglandins, the hormone like substances that have a variety of functions in the human body like contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles, contraction and dilation of the blood vessels, controls blood pressure, reducing pain and inflammation etc.
3. The essential fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that promotes a healthy heart, reduces hypertension, reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancers, acts as a blood thinner and prevents the formation of clots and improves depression.
4. Lowers the LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol and increases the HDL cholesterol levels in blood, the ratio of which is good for the heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and certain degenerative disease.
5. It also burns the brown fat in the body, thus aiding in weight loss.
6. Naturally rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps in fighting against free radicals, maintains the integrity of cell membrane, and prevents cancer.
7. It is used in skin care as massage oil, carrier oil, moisturizer, and an emollient.
8. When applied topically on dry and irritated skin, it is easily absorbed by the skin and soothes the skin. It helps to moisturize, regenerate and condition the dry, rough, wrinkled, and aged skin.