Sunflower seed oil is probably one of the best known oils out there. But there has been a lot of controversy around this readily available oil. Claims of how bad it is for your health is rife. Especially with so many other oils on the market now, claiming their health benefits and how much better it is than sunflower oil. We will never truly get away from sunflower oil since the restaurant and take-away industry uses it copiously. It is used for frying, baking, cooking, basting, in sauces, and so much more. But first we need to understand sunflower oil.
What is sunflower oil?
Sunflower oil is an oil that is pressed from the seeds of a sunflower. These seeds are also commonly found in muesli and trail mixes. With a neutral taste, it is the most commonly used oil in the world. It is also not only used in the preparation of food, but also in cosmetics. It is an oil that is composed of linoleic acid, which is a polyunsaturated fat, as well as oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat. Sunflower oil is also rich in vitamin E. More than half of the worlds’ supply of sunflower oil is produced in Ukraine and Russia. 53% to be exact. A further staggering number is the amount of sunflower oil produced across the world – a staggering 18 million tonnes, as recorded in 2018.
What is unrefined sunflower oil?
Unrefined sunflower oil are more suited for dishes that are cooked at low temperature or which is raw, since it is less heat-stable. It is extracted through cold pressing of sunflower seeds.
The difference between refined and unrefined sunflower oil
During the extraction process, unrefined sunflower oil is made by cold pressing the sunflower seeds. Many contaminants remain in unrefined sunflower oil, such as gums, colourants, and waxes. The nutrients found in unrefined sunflower oil is naturally high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as a direct source of vitamin E and Omega 6, plus a small amount of vitamin K. the smoking point of unrefined sunflower oil is much lower, and can thus not be used in high-heat cooking or baking. Beyond its smoking point, it starts to break down and lose most of its flavour.
Refined sunflower oil is extracted through a scientific process where it extracts the maximum amount of oil from the sunflower seed. The refining part of the extraction comes in where all contaminants such as gum, free fatty acids, colouring pigments, waxes and other impurities are removed. Through this refining method, it makes it safer for consumption. The natural vitamin E, Omega 6 and vitamin K is fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D. It also has a much higher smoking point, which makes it suitable for frying, deep-frying, cooking over high temperatures, and baking.
Sunflower oil benefits
As with all things in life; too much of a good thing is bad for you. So is the case with sunflower oil. But it does hold many health benefits. The vitamin E, Omega 6, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin D found in refined sunflower oil is already a good indicator of the health benefits of sunflower oil. Another health benefit of sunflower oil is that it does not contain protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol or sodium. There are some research that purports the idea that a diet that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids may help reduce high cholesterol levels. The healthiest of the different types of sunflower oil are those with high oleic in it. The other side of the coin is what you choose to do with the sunflower oil. If you, for instance, use it to fry everything in sight, then you will not reap the healthy benefits of sunflower oil.
Sunflower oil substitutes
The most popular substitute for sunflower oil is olive oil, but there are a couple of other oils that can also be used to substitute sunflower oil. Keep in mind that although they may substitute sunflower oil, they may not have the same tasteless component or high smoke point. You can also use vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and butter. To read more about the benefits, uses and origins of each of these substitutes, look for 8 Substitutes for Sunflower Oil | New Idea Magazine
Are sunflower seeds good for diabetics?
As published in the journal of chemical and pharmaceutical research, 2016, they discuss the effects of sunflower seeds on fasting blood glucose in diabetes mellitus type 2 patients. They state that the seeds are high in calories and boasts a wide array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In the conclusion section of the paper, they found that it is not only a great health food, but also a “…natural remedy to render control over the blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes type 2.” Along with sunflower seeds, almonds are also high in vitamins and minerals which are important for people with diabetes.
Is sunflower oil a blood thinner?
In an independent experiment conducted, the blood of a patient was observed before and after the consumption of sunflower oil. Before consumption the patients’ blood was observed to be normal in construction and flow. The blood sugar level was observed within the normal range of 4.9. After consuming one tablespoon of cold-pressed organic sunflower oil on an empty stomach, it was observed that the blood condition has improved slightly, and the blood sugar level remained the same. A different article stated 11 natural blood thinners, under which sunflower oil was listed.
Hematic food channel conducted an experiment to find out “Is sunflower oil a blood thinner“.
Sunflower oil vs Olive oil In the same independent experiment conducted as referred to above, it was actually established that sunflower oil acted as a better blood thinner than olive oil. Although olive oil definitely has its own amazing health benefits, the demonization of sunflower oil is unfounded and disproven. Both have many health benefits, and both are safe for diabetics to consume. So it comes down to personal choice. The one thing that olive oil has over sunflower oil is that it does not go rancid as quickly as sunflower oil. This is due to sunflower oil containing polyunsaturated fats.
We also conducted the experiment with olive oil. By watching experiment below you should be able to find out and draw your own conclusion Sunflower oil vs Olive Oil.
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