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Science and Research
What’s sunflower oil?
Sunflower oil is made by pressing the sunflower plant seeds also are high in heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats. There are four major kinds of sunflower oil used in foods and cooking. The main difference is in their balance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. High-linoleic sunflower oil is greatest in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, while mid-oleic and high-oleic sunflower oils have more monounsaturated fats. Refined sunflower oil eliminates the vitamin E and polyphenols of its unrefined counterpart, but it is somewhat safer for high-temperature cooking.
To further stabilize the oil, producers used to hydrogenate it. Hydrogen is added to the oil in a process that turns liquid oil into a solid or semi-solid at room temperature. Although hydrogenated fats are not the same as trans fats, there might still be a small amount of trans fats in hydrogenated sunflower oil.
Trans fats are linked to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and have been banned from the U.S. since 2018. The World Health Organization (WHO) plans on Implementing a global ban by 2023.
Sunflower Oil Benefits
There are several benefits from sunflower oil:
– Skin health: As sunflower oil contains linoleic acid, oleic acid, and vitamin E, it enhances skin hydration, reduces inflammation, accelerates wound healing, and enhances skin elasticity. It functions as an emollient that protects your skin while keeping it moisturized. Using sunflower oil for skin can decrease skin damage due to its protective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory consequences. Studies note that its vitamin E content might also help accelerate cell regeneration, enhancing scars, acne, and wrinkles.
– Hair growth: Sunflower oil for hair helps hydrate, nourish and even thicken your locks. Its antioxidant effects, which work to reduce environmental damage to your hair. Additionally, it promotes circulation to the scalp, adds moisture, and gives your hair a healthy, fresher look. One study found that oils high in linoleic acid may help to thicken hair since the omega-6 fatty acids promote the expression of many factors responsible for hair growth.
– Infections: Research highlights that both lipoic acid and oleic acid have anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and infection-fighting advantages. There is also proof that lipoic acid has antibacterial properties. Therefore it may be used to enhance bacterial skin infections.
– Vitamin E: Vitamin E offers strong antioxidant capabilities, with the capability to reduce free radical damage and inflammation. Studies assessing vitamin E’s effects imply that consuming antioxidant foods helps naturally slow aging in your cells, enhance immunity, and reduce the risk of health problems like heart disease. Since vitamin E foods help reduce oxidative stress in the body, a study suggests which they could also improve physical endurance because the nutrient reduces fatigue, promotes blood circulation, and improves muscle strength.
Sunflower Oil Nutrition Facts
All sunflower oils consist primarily of fat, and each calorie content comes from fat. Your body requires some fat for digestion, energy, and vitamin absorption. Dietary Guidelines urge your daily intake of fat should be less than 10 percent of your total caloric consumption.
Some fats are healthier than others, and it is important to eat the correct sorts of fat regarding edible oils. Three common sunflower oil levels can be found, and each varies in its nutrient content of fatty acids. All sunflower oil types are an excellent vitamin E source and offer a little bit of vitamin K. They don’t contain cholesterol, sodium, or protein.
– High Oleic Sunflower Oil: This sort of oil is from sunflowers bred to have a high concentration of oleic acid in their seeds. High oleic oils are thought to be healthy because of their high content of omega-3 and reduced content of omega-6 fatty acids compared to other forms of sunflower oils.
Risks and Side Effects
Among the biggest concerns surrounding sunflower oil is that it may create polar compounds such as aldehydes when heated. Research suggests that eating these polar compounds can cause oxidative stress within the body. With this note, oxidative stress can increase the long-term risk of various chronic diseases.
An independent laboratory recently conducted a comprehensive study to check the oxidative stability of popular cooking oils. In this study, the researchers heated the many oils to various temperatures to determine their effects on the oil.
This study revealed that sunflower oil generates considerable quantities of oxidation products, especially during longer cooking times. Tests revealed that sunflower oil contains around 6 percent polar chemicals in its raw state. After heating for thirty minutes at 180°C (356°F), this increased to 10%. At the three-hour mark, sunflower oil comprised a greater proportion of polar compounds (17-18%) than any other cooking oil.
One of the chief disadvantages of consuming sunflower oil, and other vegetable oils, is its own omega-6 fatty acid content. Even though these fats are important for human health, most people consume far too much of these and not nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids.
Excessive consumption of omega-6s may result in inflammation, weight gain, and heart difficulties. Don’t heat sunflower oil at high temperatures (above 180 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s not the ideal oil for frying foods since it can release potentially toxic compounds (such as aldehydes) when cooked at high temperatures, though it has a higher smoke point. The best method to use sunflower cooking oil would be for recipes that need mild, and low heat.
High oleic sunflower oil is believed to offer some benefits for heart health. However, sunflower oil was proven to release toxic chemicals when heated to higher temperatures with time. Some varieties can also be high in omega-6 and might promote inflammation in the body when consumed in excess. In general, using sunflower oil in reduced heat applications is likely fine. Avocado and olive oils might also be good options that might be more stable during cooking. Instead, it’s better to avoid this PUFA-rich oil, high in inflammatory linoleic acid and stalks of many nutrients you may find in greater fats. Oxidized lipids and higher arachidonic acid levels may cause higher odds of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other chronic conditions.