Sunflower Oil: Is it Good or Bad for You?

The scientific name of Sunflower is Helianthus Annuus and the oil extracted from the sunflower seed is known as sunflower oil. It is often touted as a healthy oil. The golden, healthy, and light sunflower oil contains more vitamin E than other vegetable oil.

The oil is naturally extracted from the sunflower seeds, and it gives a subtle taste. When compared to other cooking oils, sunflower oil is more nutrient-dense. If you add sunflower oil as a part of your balanced diet, then it gives a lot of benefits to your health.

Sunflower oil has a rich amount of vitamin E, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in our body to protect the health of our cells, tissues, and organs. It also helps to boost the immune system of our body. Nowadays, sunflower oil is used as food, medicine, and skin treatment.

In the market, sunflower oil is available in different forms, but each of them has different formulas with its own health benefits. Mostly sunflower oil is a popular vegetable oil in the kitchen because of its mild flavor and high smoke point. Sunflower oil has a lot of good things that help you to improve your health. Let us see the overall benefits of sunflower oil.

What is Sunflower Oil?

Sunflower oil is made by pressing the sunflower seed naturally. The oils extracted from the sunflower seeds are high in monounsaturated fats and heart-healthy poly. There are four different types of sunflower oil used in cooking. Each of them may differ in their balance of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated. High-linoleic sunflower oil is rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, while high- oleic and mid-oleic sunflower oil has more monounsaturated fats.

How to Use Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is used to stir fry or saute. Refined sunflower oil particularly has mid-oleic or high-oleic varieties with a high smoking effect. This makes it a good neutral frying oil and can be used in other high-heat cooking methods, like sauteing and stir-frying. Sunflower oil is also used as a medicine to treat skin diseases. It effectively fights against eczema, acne, general redness, inflammation, and irritation of the skin. Sunflower oil is incredibly used as a nourisher for dry hair, which helps to prevent major hair damages and promote your hair growth.

Nutritional Value of Sunflower Oil

All types of sunflower oil have 100% of fat and vitamin E. The fat soluble nutrients  help you to protect cells from age related damages. Sunflower oil does not have protein, cholesterol, sodium and carbs but it is filled with vitamins and powerful antioxidants that help to maintain the overall health of your body.

One tablespoon of sunflower oil contain,

--> Calories: 120
--> Total fat: 14 grams
--> Polyunsaturated fat: 9 grams
-->Monounsaturated fat: 3 grams
--> Dietary fiber: 0 gram
--> Total carbohydrate: 0 gram
--> Sugar: 0 gram
--> Choline: 0.03 mg
--> Vitamin E: 5.59 mg
--> Saturated fat: 1 gram
--> Choline: 0.03 mg
--> Vitamin E: 5.59 mg
--> Saturated fat: 1 
--> Vitamin K: 0.73 mcg

Type of Sunflower Oil

There are four types of sunflower oil available in the United states. Each may differ in their formula and each of them has separate nutritional value and health benefits. The sunflower seeds are bred to produce the different taste fatty acid composition. These include linoleic acid, mid-oleic, high oleic, and high stearic/high oleic.

Some sunflower oil has a high amount of linoleic or oleic acid. Linoleic acid is usually known as omega-6, which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that has two double chain bonding in carbon chains. Which means oleic acid or omega -9 is a monounsaturated fatty acid with one double bond. This makes them a liquid in the normal room temperature.

Linoleic and oleic acids are the sources of energy that is provided to our body to strengthen the cells and tissues. They have different heating temperatures that react in different ways. While heating they give various effects to your health.

High stearic/high oleic sunflower oil contain stearic acid, saturated fatty acid that is solid at room temperature and they have different culinary applications. This type of sunflower oil is not meant to be used for cooling. For instance it is used in packing food, chocolate ice cream and industrial frying.

Sunflower Oil Vs Normal Cooking Oil

When compared to normal cooking oil, sunflower oil gives a lot of health benefits. In a research, people found that consuming a small amount of the high oleic sunflower oil may provide a lot of magical benefits to your heart health. 

High linoleic or mid-oleic sunflower oils and other sunflower oils do not have the same compounds. Some may produce harm to your health if you deep fry anything in sunflower oil at high temperatures. 

Olive and avocado oil is also rich in monounsaturated oleic acid but it is less toxic when heated at high temperatures. Oils that stay low in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as high oleic sunflower, palm oils, and canola, are more stable during cooking, when compared with high linoleic sunflower oil. 

Many other oils provide better performance and benefits when cooking it with high temperature. You can add a small amount of sunflower oil while cooking and it gives you some benefits to your body.


Sunflower oil has many health benefits. It is associated with high oleic varieties and comprises more than 80% of oleic acid. Many research suggests that a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid helps you to reduce the cholesterol level and the risk of heart diseases.

Research of 15 healthy adults found that people who ate a diet rich in high sunflower oil continuously for 10 weeks showed improvements in lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides than those who ate a diet containing a similar amount of saturated fat.

Continuous consumption of sunflower oil for 8 weeks led to a significant increase in good cholesterol when compared to the diet without sunflower oil. The research of consuming sunflower oil with high oleic reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering the LDL bad cholesterol and thus raising HDL good cholesterol.An excellent way to maintain your overall body health is to use sunflower oil for cooking.

It is used as a cooking oil, medicines and also in cosmetic products. Some people apply this sunflower oil directly on the skin for healing the wounds, psoriasis, arthritis, and skin injuries. You can also use it to massage your body that helps your body to get moisturized and keep you cool.

1. Promotes Heart Health

Consuming sunflower oil keeps the heart-healthy. Sunflower oil contains 80% of monounsaturated fats, which is better for your heart health. The impressive fatty acid content in sunflower oil helps you to maintain a healthy balance in your body.

Another good thing that sunflowers provide you is that it does not contain any saturated fats which help in controlling the cholesterol level in your body.

2. Good for Skin

Sunflower oil has a rich amount of vitamin A and vitamin E, which helps in promoting skin health. The emollient properties in sunflower oil are often included as an additive in many medicines and cosmetics. And it also has a high amount of nutrients and antioxidants that help to fight many skin diseases like acne, inflammation, eczema, and general redness and irritation of the skin.

They help to regenerate damaged and dried skin cells and get rid of the acne-causing bacteria. Sunflower oil is light and non-greasy that is easily absorbed by the skin without blocking the pores. It acts as the natural moisturizer that helps you to treat sensitive and dry skin.

Applying sunflower oil to your skin lights up your face, and provides healthy and glowing skin. This is the major reason why sunflower oil is used in cosmetics.

3. Hair Health

Vitamin E in sunflower oil helps in promoting hair growth. Applying sunflower oil in your hair helps to soften dry, frizzy hair, and it provides a beautiful shine to your hair. The light texter of the sunflower oil acts as a hair conditioner. You can regularly apply it on your scalp once a week to get soft and silky hair.

It has a high amount of alpha-linolenic acid, which prevents hair loss, and it is often used in hair treatment. You can also use this sunflower oil as shampoo, and conditionally it makes your hair stronger and healthy. This helps to prevent hair fall.

4. Strengthens Immune System

Sunflower oil has a rich amount of antioxidants that strengthens the cell membrane barriers and prevents the body from bacteria and viruses. Consuming sunflower oil gives a healthy heart and body that gives you the energy to work for the whole day. It helps to increase your body’s ability to defend against infections.

Sunflower oil contains protein that helps to build and repair the damaged tissues and promotes various enzymes required for a healthy functioning. Instead of using cooking oil, use sunflower oil that helps you to maintain the health of your family members and boost them to work faster.

5. Improves Digestion

Do you know that cooking oil is one of the reasons that causes digestion problems? The oil which has a rich amount of monounsaturated fat is called health oil and most of the cooking oil does not have enough amount of monounsaturated fat that causes digestive problems. Sunflower oil is extremely light that helps to digest food easily and gives better absorption in your digestive tract. Sunflower oil has mid laxative properties that helps you to prevent constipation.

6.Gives Energy Booster

Saturated fat can make you feel lethargic where unsaturated fat helps you to boost up the energy level required for your daily activities. It helps in the discharge of glycogen into the bloodstream from the liver and boosts your energy levels. Glycogen is a type of sugar that provides energy quickly.

7. Brain and Nerve Health

We all know that sunflowers have a good source of vitamin E. If you add the sunflower oil in your regular diet keeps you healthy and to live long. Some evidence suggests that it slows the progression of Alzheimer disease. A deficiency of vitamin E can cause nerve pain and it is also a good source of food when compared to other non effective food sources.

8. Prevents Arthritis

The sunflower seed oil has an anti-inflammatory capacity that is present in linoleic acid helps in treating inflammation on your skin by stimulating peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha. It also helps in the reduction of rheumatoid Arthritis when used in the recommended limits.

9. Prevents Asthma

Sunflower oil helps from the Vitamin E deficiency and prevents oxygen damages in the tissues. It plays an important role in the treatment of reducing pain, allergic reaction and inflammation. In the research, we found that vitamin E decreases bronchoconstriction associated with Asthma. It shows lower prevalence of wheezing, breathing problems, and cough. Sunflower oil has a good source of vitamin E which helps in preventing Asthma.

10. Prevents Cancer

Sunflower oil also has a high amount of Vitamin A and carotenoids. The antioxidant component in the sunflower helps to fight against the free radicals that cause degeneration of cells and it also helps to inactivate the growth of cancerous cells.

The selenium present in the sunflower oil supports and repairs cellular damages. Hence, incorporating sunflower oil into your diet helps in reducing uterine cancer and colon cancer.

11.Reduces Depression & Anxiety

Sunflower oil contains magnesium which supports treating mental disorders like anxiety and depression . Magnesium ions regulate the flow of calcium ion in neuronal calcium that helps to regulate neuronal nitric oxide creation. And it is also used in the treatment of symptoms associated with that.

Side Effects of Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil has a lot of health benefits and also has a concern that it causes some side effects on your body’s health. Sunflower oil is safe until you take it in the appropriate amount by mouth. When you cross your limit of intaking, it causes side effects.

In the same way, you should apply only a limited amount of oil to your skin to get proper benefit. Sunflower oil is safe when you take it by mouth or apply it to the skin in correct dosage. But it causes some side effects and allergic reactions in people who are hypersensitive to Asteraceae/Compositae plants family.

A diet that is rich in sunflower oil increases the blood sugar level and in the body. This might also increase the chances of developing atherosclerosis in people who have diabetes. The allergy caused by using sunflower is uncommon and causes some symptoms like bronchial asthma, anaphylaxis, angioedema, conjunctivitis, contact dermatitis, skin lesions and rhinitis

Storage & Utilization

It is the same as other oils that we use for cooking, but sunflower oil becomes rancid if it is stored for longer periods. Sunflower oil is susceptible to heat, air, and light. High exposure can accelerate oxidation which helps in reducing nutrient loss and rancidness. To overcome this effect, you have to store it in a cool, dry place. It can be used as a dietary oil, especially in deep frying, as it has a high level of smoking point, and it remains stable under high temperature. The neutral flavor of the oil also makes it more suitable for baking.

Cultivation of Sunflower Oil

Sunflower is a crop that is specially grown in North America. It is domesticated by the native Americans around 1000 BC, who spread it eastward and southward of North America.

Sunflower was first introduced in Europe through Spain. Sunflower plant is spread throughout Europe until it reaches Russia. In 1860, Russia selected a sunflower seed which has high oil content. This is a reason to select high producer varieties for increased oil content from 28% to 50%. 

Then Russia slowly introduced it to the U.S after the second world war that is the first step in the growth of sunflower oil. Then, in this region the growth of sunflower crops declined in 1980 because of low profit and pests. Then it slowly moved to the westwards and now it is grown in the dried regions. 85% of sunflower seeds are produced in north and south Dakota and Minnesota.


We all know that sunflower oil is more healthy than using other oil for cooking. High oleic sunflower seed oil provides some health benefits to your heart. 

Sunflower oil is shown to release toxic compounds when you heat it at high temperatures for overtime. Some varieties of sunflower seed oil are rich in omega-6 that may contribute to inflammation in the body when consumed in excess. 

Consuming sunflower oil with lower heat application is probably fine. Avocado and olive oils are some of the good options that may be more stable while cooking. Using a variety of oil for different applications may result in a better way to balance your healthy diet.

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