Everything You Need to Know about the Powers of Sunflower Oil
When you look outside, it can sometimes be easy to lump all of nature into one category. Everything that is of the planet is part of nature, and it’s a beautiful thing. Of course, every individual substance and compound is different from the next, and they all have different properties and compositions that make them unique.
Many of those natural substances have very significant health benefits, whether that be for the hair, skin, or body. In fact, many of the plants you see everyday produce powerful natural substances that can change the way you look at natural skin and health care.
What Is Sunflower Oil?
Everybody knows what a sunflower is; in fact, it may be one of the most popular types of flowers. When something becomes so incredibly mainstream, it’s easy to get used to seeing it in a certain light. With that said, sunflowers are actually very powerful plants that can be used to create an oil that can provide many significant health benefits.
While not all sunflower oil is the same, it is generally a very healthy oil that can be used for many different purposes. You may have even seen a version of it listed as an ingredient in many of the foods you eat.
Sunflower oil, or sunflower seed oil, is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower plant, scientifically or botanically known as Helianthus annuus. Its popularity today can be attributed to its use for cooking purposes, both heated and raw. The oil is very healthy, mostly due to its low levels of saturated fats and high levels of unsaturated fats.
With that said, you need to be careful of what sunflower oil you consume, as some may have been processed in ways that could make it harmful to your body.
Sunflower seed oil, much like the flower itself, has a color that ranges from deep to pale yellow, depending on how the oil was extracted from the seeds of the flower. It has a very mild taste, which is why it is such a popular cooking oil in comparison to other heavier vegetable oils.
Many people describe the taste of sunflower oil as “fatty.” With that said, its smell and taste are affected by how the oil is extracted, as well as by any processing it has gone through and the temperature at which it has been cooked. Unrefined oils tend to have a stronger smell and taste.
Sunflower seed oil can be extracted in one of two ways, either through cold pressing or chemical extraction. Of the two, cold pressing is the better extraction method to get the most out of the oil in terms of its natural health benefits. In cold press extraction, the seeds are pressed together until the oil is released.
On the other hand, chemical extraction employs the use of various chemical compounds that help pull the oil from the seeds. This method generally produces an oil that is more stable when exposed to heat, but it dilutes the health benefits of the oil.
The Nutritional Composition of Sunflower Oil
Sunflower seed oil is rich in many healthy fats, which is what gives it most of its significant health benefits. These healthy fats include palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. There are also high levels of lecithin, tocopherols, carotenoids, and different vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E found in sunflower oil. In addition, the oil is also rich in calcium, zinc, iron, copper, and proteins.
The Benefits of Using Sunflower Oil
The high concentration of many different nutrients that can be found in sunflower oil makes it a significantly beneficial oil to use in both health and skincare practices. With that said, it’s important that you check where your sunflower seed oil came from and how it was processed.
Other health benefits of sunflower seed oil include a healthier immune system and a reduced risk of cancer. Specifically, the oil has been linked to an ability to prevent colon cancer, but it is also currently being studied for its relevance in the prevention of many other types of cancers as well.
Processed oils may actually cause negative effects instead of positive ones, especially when consumed. Try to only use raw, unprocessed oils, regardless of the type of oil or the purpose you’re using it for.
Sunflower does not contain saturated fats making it a better choice for your heart than many other popular oils used for cooking. Sunflower oil does not contain saturated fats but instead contains various healthier unsaturated fats.
The high amounts of healthy, essential fatty acids found in sunflower seed oil allow it to aid in lowering bad cholesterol levels. It can also do this because it does not contain any saturated fats. Similarly, it may even help promote a healthy heart when used in moderation, by preventing atherosclerosis, which is a condition that can increase your blood pressure, clog up your arteries, and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Other nutrients such as choline, phenolic acid, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats also help prevent the development of various cardiovascular diseases.
Immune System Health
Sunflower seeds as well as the oil made from them contain various antioxidants like tocopherol and vitamin E. These help protect your body from the harmful effects of free radical damage and help get your body in fighting shape. By boosting the number of antioxidants in your system, it enhances immune system function and your body will be more able to stave off illness and disease.
Healthy fats are also connected to the body’s energy levels, which means that consuming sunflower seed oil might help boost your energy. The saturated fats found on many popular vegetable oils can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. On the other hand, the unsaturated fats and other nutrients found in sunflower oil can help make you feel a whole lot more energetic.
Although sunflower oil contains healthier fats than many oils, it is important that you only consume any fats in moderation. Any oil is obviously full of fats and even the healthy kind are high in calories and relatively low in important nutrients so make sure you don’t use too much when you are cooking.
We have already mentioned that sunflower oil contains antioxidants in the shape of tocopherol and vitamin E. These antioxidants can help protect against chronic disease including cancer. Tocopherol and the other antioxidants found in sunflower oil help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals that, when left unchecked, can contribute to many serious diseases including cancer.
Several studies have looked at the effects of sunflower oil on cancer in mice and have noted that it has chemopreventive effects. (1)
You should try to get as many antioxidants into your system as possible from dietary sources to protect against chronic disease. While sunflower oil may not be the best source of antioxidants compared to fresh fruit and vegetables, it is a far better choice than a heavily refined cooking oil full of saturated fats and very little in the way of benefits.
Because of the high levels of vitamin E found in the oil, it is especially great for improving the overall health of your skin, protecting it from sun damage, and preventing the natural degradation of the skin that occurs as you age. Vitamin E targets free radicals, and thus helps to prevent damage to healthy cells and reduces the appearance of scars, wounds, and other blemishes on the skin.
Sunflower oil has emollient properties making it an effective moisturizer to keep your skin soft and hydrated. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also help soothe inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
The vitamin E present in sunflower oil can also help protect your skin from damage cause by exposure to harsh environmental conditions. Try applying a layer on exposed areas of your skin before going out in the sun since experts suggest it can protect you from UV rays and consequent sun damage.
According to research, sunflower oil has good anti-inflammatory properties that may help the skin and some other conditions. For the skin, sunflower oil can help reduce inflammation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties for the body when consumed, properties which can help with the treatment of asthma and other conditions associated with inflammation.
Using Sunflower Oil For Hair
There are a number of ways that sunflower oil can improve the appearance and the health of your hair, and one of the best reasons to opt for this oil is because it can actually help to slow the thinning of your hair. While there are a number of factors that can contribute to hair loss, sunflower oil can be useful in combating this problem.
No matter if you are losing your hair due to age, illness, or because you have overtreated your hair and it is becoming dry and falling out, using sunflower oil is a smart way to combat the problem.
Due to the vitamins in sunflower oil, it will help to improve hair growth and ensure that your hair is as healthy and strong as possible. Additionally, the Oleic Acid in sunflower oil is an Omega 9, which actually can help prevent hair loss. It also combats brittle hair and will keep your hair from breaking off and falling out.
Even if you do not have problems with hair loss you can benefit from applying sunflower oil to your hair and scalp, as it acts as a great conditioner. Each time you apply this oil to your hair you will find that your hair is stronger, smoother, and shinier. As another benefit, your hair and scalp will be protected from harmful UV rays with the application of sunflower oil.
People who suffer from dry scalp will love that this oil is a powerful moisturizer. Gone are the days of dealing with dandruff and an itchy scalp because of dry skin. Finally, you can enjoy all of these benefits of sunflower oil without feeling like you are weighing down your hair, as it is a very easily absorbed oil that won’t cause your hair or scalp to appear greasy.
Sunflower Oil Comedogenic Rating
If you’ve ever been curious as to how a certain natural substance might react with your skin, a comedogenic rating can help you determine just that. Comedogenic ratings are scores that are given to natural substances—scores that help consumers determine whether or not that particular substance may be likely to irritate their skin, clog their pores, or worsen certain skin conditions such as acne.
These scores are given on a scale from zero to five, and the lowest scores are given to the substances that are least likely to cause bad reactions, even for those with sensitive skin. Of course, people may still experience reactions that are contrary to what these ratings suggest, which is why they should only be used as general guidelines.
Sunflower seed oil has been given a comedogenic rating between a zero and a two. This means that it is unlikely to cause any bad reactions, but there still make be people who experience negative effects after using it on their skin.
Sunflower oil is generally seen as a good base oil to be used for anti-aging and acne treatments since most skin types tend to react well to it. If you know that you are prone to sensitive skin, however, it may be best to perform a small patch test to see if you will have a bad reaction to the oil before using it all over your face and body in a daily skincare routine.
Cooking with Sunflower Oil
As mentioned, it’s very important that you check how your sunflower oil was processed, as many mainstream uses of sunflower seed oil have started with chemical processing and refining that could dilute many of the health benefits provided by the oil. These processes may even make the oil harmful when consumed or subjected to high heat levels.
With that said, many food labels may not actually state what kind of sunflower seed oil was used in the recipe or how that oil may have been processed. Because of this, it may be best to avoid processed foods in general, even if they are labeled as organic, to guarantee that you won’t be consuming any processed or refined sunflower seed oil.
Using Sunflower Oil
If you’d like to use sunflower seed oil for any of its significant health or skincare benefits, it’s important that you speak with your doctor first. Speaking with your doctor before adding this oil to any kind of frequent routine will help you make sure that doing so won’t interfere with any medications you may currently be taking or conflict with certain health conditions you may have.
If your doctor recommends that you not use sunflower oil, know that there are many other oils that you can consider using instead, and follow your doctor’s advice.
If your doctor does approve the use of sunflower seed oil in your diet or skincare routine, you may want to seek advice from a holistic healthcare practitioner as well. A professional will be able to better advise you regarding dosages and methods of applications so that you can experience more of the oil’s benefits in the end. Otherwise, just be patient and gradually add the oil to your routines to make sure that you don’t have any bad reactions to it, whether you’re consuming the oil or applying it topically.
Frequently Asked Questions
How bad is sunflower oil for you?
When compared to many cooking oils, sunflower oil is considerably more healthy. It contains no saturated fats and but has a very good balance of balance of polyunsaturated fats. In particular, sunflower oil contains a good amount of healthy fatty acids including linoleic acid which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid.
Because of this balance of healthy fats and the absence of saturated fats, sunflower oil is considerably more healthy than many popular cooking oils.
However, you should not consume too much of this or any oil. Sunflower oil is high in calories so you should make sure you moderate especially if you are trying to control your weight.
What are the health benefits of sunflower oil?
Sunflower oil has a number of potential health benefits compared to many other cooking oils. It contains various antioxidants and a good balance of unsaturated fats. By switching to sunflower oil, you will be consuming less unhealthy fats and instead eating fats with proven benefits. Sunflower oil may help reduce cholesterol which in turn benefits the heart. The antioxidants found in this oil may also protect against chronic disease, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
What are the benefits of sunflower oil on skin?
Vitamin E and the other antioxidants found in sunflower oil can benefit the skin and help protect it from free radical damage. This can help rejuvenate the skin and stimulate the growth of new skin cells. It can also help moisturize the skin and protect against environmental damage.