Sunflower oil (Helianthus annuus) is a non-volatile oil extracted from the seeds of sunflower. It is a triglyceride and mainly consists of palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid. When it comes to its nutritional value and benefits to health it is an amazing natural ingredient. This article will highlight the health benefits of sunflower oil and reasons why you should add it to your diet.
High cholesterol content in the body means that one is more likely to develop atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and increased chances of heart attack or a stroke. Sunflower oil is a good choice for keeping a healthy heart. It is rich in oleic-acid (monounsaturated fatty acid- MUFA) and has favorable outcomes on blood lipids and factor VIIc (coagulant activity). Moreover, it contains Vitamin E, which prevents dangerous free radicals from oxidizing the body’s cholesterol. Thus, sunflower seed oil can be a great ingredient to be used for cooking. A diet full of MUFA is beneficial to keep a check on atherosclerosis and many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.
Sunflower seed oil has remarkable impact on skin. In a study it has been demonstrated that it preserves stratum corneum integrity, does not cause erythema, and improves hydration. Not only for adults, it is also of great importance for neonates as well. The infant massage using this oil enhances skin barrier function and completely moisturizes the skin. Research also suggests that it is a better alternative than olive oil for dry skin. It is full of vitamins E, A, D, C which keeps the skin supple and works as an excellent face moisturizer with its antioxidant activity. This oil helps the skin cells to regenerate and prevent acne.
Vitamin E in sunflower oil protects against hazardous effects of UV radiation. It offers photoprotection and effectively works on wrinkles, blemishes & patchy skin.
The sunflower seed oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory capacity. Its major lipid is linoleic acid, which possibly decreases inflammation in the skin by activating peroxisome proliferative-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-α). It has been linked to a reduction in severity of rheumatoid arthritis when used within recommended limits.
Vitamin E reduces and prevents oxygen damage to the tissue and is useful for the treatment of pain, inflammation and allergic reactions. A number of studies suggest that vitamin E reduces bronchoconstriction associated with asthma. It shows lower prevalence of wheezing, cough and shortness of breath compared to those with lower intakes. So, sunflower oil which is a rich source of Vitamin Ecan be a good option to prevent asthma.
Sunflower seed oil is also rich in vitamin A and carotenoids. The antioxidant content helps to fight the free radicals that cause degeneration of cells and inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. Moreover, the selenium present in sunflower seeds repairs cellular damage. So, the incorporation of sunflower oil in the diet can play a major role in reducing colon cancer, and uterine cancer as well.
Sunflower oil provides adequate linoleic acid for maintenance of the immune response. Linoleic acid is needed for normal immune response, and essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency impairs B and T cell-mediated responses. It helps in building new cells and tissues of the body, which is beneficial in boosting the immune system.
Improves Hair Health
Higher amounts of tocopherol are available in sunflower oil. The study shows that the intake of natural vitamin E may help against collagen cross-linking & thus hair health. It can treat problems of baldness & hair loss.
Sunflower seed oil contains high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). PUFA are found to increase digestibility thus, healthy digestion.
Helps Aid Weight Loss
Adiponectin is basically involved in the fatty acid breakdown. According to a study, sunflower oil increases adiponectin levels in post-menopause women thus, reducing weight.
It contains magnesium which has been found to work in mood disorders like depression & anxiety. Magnesium ions regulate calcium ion flow in neuronal calcium channels that helps to regulate neuronal nitric oxide production. Thus, it treats the associated symptoms.