The Natural Goodness of Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is packed with all the natural goodness one could wish for. It contains more vitamin E content than any other vegetable oil. It is clear and tastes very light. The oil is pressed from oil type sunflower seeds. Sunflower is not only used for cooking and frying but also in many cosmetic products as an emollient.
Sunflower oil has almost all the properties of vegetable triglyceride oil. It is a mixture of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat contents. Polyunsaturated fats make the cell membranes more porous and flexible which results in draining out the waste products and allow in the nutrients more easily. They also help lower the cholesterol level in the blood stream. It contains the healthy cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein aka HDL which is good for the body) and helps lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. The lecithin in sunflower oil is especially effective in this aspect. It sticks to nerve and cell linings which prevent cholesterol and fats from sticking on them. It is highly appreciated for its mild taste and health benefits. It is also used in the manufacturing of margarine that tastes like natural butter.
There are three types of sunflower oil depending on the combination of fatty acids in them. High oleic oil contains 82%oleic acid. The mid-oleic type sunflower oil has 69% oleic acid. They are Trans fat free and widely used as spray coating for dried fruits and crackers and in non-dairy creamers. Linoleic oil is the most common type used containing 65% polyunsaturates, the linoleic acid. NuSun is the type containing oleic acid and linoleic acid which is ideal for high temperature cooking as it does not form Trans-fats.
Sunflower oil can be a healthy alternative of olive oil in salad dressings as it provides with instant natural energy. The oil is also an excellent choice for frying as it can withstand high cooking temperatures with a light tendency for flavor reversion. It is also relatively inexpensive.
The abundance of vitamin E makes sunflower oil an excellent antioxidant. Antioxidants help the body fight against free radicals causing cancer, thus fortifying the immune system. They also boost memory and improve overall cardiovascular health. The phytochemicals e.g. phenolic acid and choline enhance the cardiac efficiency and lower the risk of heart attacks. The carotenoids help prevent skin, uterine and lung cancer. Sunflower oil is also used to massage the affected areas to relieve rheumatoid arthritis. It also provides your body the essential proteins that help in producing enzymes and hormones. Proteins are also necessary for building and repairing body tissues. Folic acid in this oil helps the body to produce new cells. Zinc present in it assist in healing wounds.
Sunflower oil is also used as skin protectant, as it retains the moisture in the skin efficiently. It is an all natural solution for over dried skin. Research has proved that it acts as a barrier against skin infection in premature babies as their under developed skin is at high risk of infection.
A surprising use of sunflower oil is as biodiesel. It is dewaxed and refined and then mixed with diesel to run the engine.