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.
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, 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 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. Although omega-6 fatty acids are typically considered “bad” cholesterol, they are still essential for the body. 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.
Treats Athlete’s Foot
Research suggests that 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.
Improves 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.
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. Specifically, sunflower oil has been linked to preventing colon cancer and 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.
Reduces Severity of Arthritis
Along with asthma, sunflower oil has also been linked to a reduction in severity of arthritis.
They also have a significant effect on the general immune system and increase the body’s ability to resist attacks by infection. Sunflower oil 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.
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. If sunflower oil is eaten in excess, without the intention of boosting the omega-3 intake, it can result in an imbalance of fatty acids in the body, which is dangerous. As long as you monitor how your body is responding and how you feel, sunflower oil can be a beneficial addition to your diet.