Sunflower oil has a large number of benefits that help in keeping the body healthy and strong. Though it is included in the list of high fat items, it is gaining popularity as cooking oil due to its wide variety of health-enhancing nutrients. The health benefits of using sunflower oil is such that it helps in providing cardiovascular benefits, prevents Arthritis, prevents of colon cancer and other cancers, lowers Cholesterol, helps in repairing the body, prevents Infant Infection, provides healthy nervous system, reduces inflammation, provides skin care, reduces premature signs of aging, controlls Frizzy Hair and reduces cardiac problems.
Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil compressed from the seeds of sunflower (Helianthus annuus). It is a monounsaturated (MUFA)/polyunsaturated (PUFA) mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils. The oil is of light amber color with a mild and pleasant flavor; refined oil is pale yellow. Refining losses are low and the oil has good keeping qualities with light tendency for flavor reversion. The oil contains appreciable quantities of vitamin E, sterols, squalene, and other aliphatic hydrocarbons. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. The world's total production of sunflower oil in 2014 was nearly 16 million tonnes, with Ukraine and Russia as the largest producers.
1 cup (i.e. 218g) of Sunflower oil serves 1927 calories of energy. The saturated fat content is 21.3g, monounsaturated fat is 182g and polyunsaturated fat is 8.3g. The total Omega-3 fatty acids is 419mg and total Omega-6 fatty acids is 7860 mg. The oil is a rich source of vitamin and the content of vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) is 89.5mg and Vitamin K is 11.8mcg.
Sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin E and low in saturated fat. Besides, it is rich in certain phytochemicals like choline and phenolic acid which are beneficial for the heart. It also contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats along with vitamins that makes it one of the healthiest oils for consumption. High oleic sunflower oils contain 80% or more monounsaturated fats. Thus, sunflower oil helps in lowering cardiovascular diseases and chance of heart attack.
Sunflower oil is a very good solution for those having worries about developing arthritis. Sunflower oil helps in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sunflower oil contains more Vitamin E than any other cooking oil. Thus, incorporating this oil in our diet provides protection against colon cancer. The carotenoids found in sunflower oil help in the prevention of uterine, lung and skin cancers. The Vitamin E or tocopherols found in Sunflower oil help in neutralizing the cancer-causing free radicals. The free radicals damage the cells and the immune system.
The saturated fats found in other oils are difficult to break down completely during metabolism. As a result, they are carried to different parts of the body by the blood and get deposited, thus increasing the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels. This causes health problems like embolism, atherosclerosis, joint pains and birth defects. Sunflower oil being rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats provides energy besides maintaining an ideal LDL/HDL (good cholesterol) ratio in the body. Sunflower oil also contains lecithin which helps in lowering cholesterol level. This is because it sticks to the nerve and cell linings, thus prevents fat and cholesterol from sticking to the cell.
Sunflower oil contains proteins, which are vital for building and repairing tissues and the production of hormones and enzymes. A human body requires high amounts of proteins. Since the body does not store proteins, they have to be consumed, and sunflower oil fulfils this requirement.
Sunflower oil is useful in reducing the risk of infection in pre-term infants having low birth weight. The infants are more likely to suffer from infections because of underdeveloped immune system and organs such as the skin. Sunflower oil acts as a protective barrier and prevents such infection.
The Vitamin B content of sunflower oil promotes a healthy nervous system, proper digestion and is a great source of energy.
Sunflower oil contains selenium that is beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiac problems and hepatic degradation. A high level of selenium in your blood is also instrumental in reducing the risk of lung and skin cancers.
Sunflower oil, rich in vitamin E is specifically related to improving skin health and regenerating cells. This means that the 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. An increased reduction in scars, quicker healing of wound, and a healthier naturally glowing skin is seen. This is a major reason why sunflower oil is commonly used in cosmetic applications.
The antioxidant properties of sunflower oil help in preventing premature signs of aging. The exposure to free radicals and sunlight increases the rate of aging of skin, causing the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines at an early age. The antioxidants in sunflower oil lower the risk of developing premature signs of aging.
Due to its light texture and mild flavor, sunflower oil softens the hair and adds a delightful sheen to it. Sunflower seed oil helps to control frizz, tackles dryness and damage and makes the hair manageable. This versatile oil maintains the hair’s luster and texture and can be used as a natural conditioner. Sunflower oil can be applied and massaged on the scalp before a bath once a week for maximum benefits.
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 sunflower oil contains.
Sunflower oil, which is pressed from the seeds of sunflower plant, finds its use as cooking oil as well as in medicines and cosmetic products. Sunflower oil is used for constipation and for lowering 'bad' LDL cholesterol. Some people apply sunflower oil directly to the skin for poorly healing wounds, skin injuries, psoriasis, and arthritis; and as massage oil.
Sunflower oil is likely safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in appropriate amounts. However, Some side effects of using sunflower oil include allergic reactions among people who are hypersensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Moreover, a diet that is high in sunflower oil seems to increase fasting insulin, blood sugar levels and also increases the after-meal blood fats, which might increase the chances of developing atherosclerosis in people with diabetes.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is one of the few crop species that originated in North America (most originated in the fertile-crescent, Asia or South or Central America). It was most likely domesticated by Native Americans around 1000 BC, who the carried it eastward and southward of North America. (Putnam, et al, 1990).Sunflowers were probably first introduced to Europe through Spain. The crop, spread through Europe as a curiosity until it reached Russia, where it was readily adapted. In Russia, selection for seeds that were high in oil began in 1860. This selection for high producer varieties was largely responsible for increasing oil content from 28% to almost 50%. The high-oil lines from Russia were reintroduced into the U.S. after World War II, which rekindled interest in the crop. However, it was the discovery of the male-sterile and restorer gene system that made hybrids feasible and increased commercial interest in the crop. Production of sunflowers subsequently rose dramatically in the Great Plains states because of new niches for the seeds, including oil, snack food, and birdseed. Production in these regions in the 1980s has declined mostly because of low profit margins as well as pests. Sunflower acreage is now moving westward into dryer regions; however, 85% of the North American sunflower seed is still produced in North and South Dakota and Minnesota.