Sunflower oil is amongst the most commonly used oils today. It is derived from the seeds of the sunflower plant and is regarded as a high-quality oil, used in products ranging from hair and skin care to cooking oil. There are several types of sunflower oil that are produced, making it one of the more versatile vegetable oils on the market. As a result of an increasing amount of people who are turning away from artificially hydrogenated oils, more high stearic strains of sunflowers have been developed and cultivated.
The most common type of the sunflower oil are the mid-linoleic, high-oleic and high-linoleic. Each type has varying levels of the different fatty acids that make up the oils chemical profile, as their name suggests. High oleic sunflower oil, for example, contains a higher level of oleic acid – at least 82%. Mid-linoleic has a moderate level of linoleic acid, measuring in at least 69%. The main determination of this variation is the genetic makeup of the plant and the climate in which it is grown.
Sunflower Oil Benefits
Sunflower Oil for Hair
Sunflower oil is frequently used in hair care products. One of the main reasons for this is its ability to function as an emollient. Emollients act as lubricating and hydrating agents, which help to soften your hair and prevent water loss. It is an effective ingredient when it comes to treating and preventing greasy hair by balancing out the sebum production on the scalp. Because of its nourishing properties, it is also ideal for hair that splits and breaks easily. Besides topically applying sunflower oil, taking a sunflower oil supplement can also be beneficial to those suffering from hair loss because of its high level of GLA (gamma linolenic acid). GLA has been shown in many clinical trials in preventing hair loss in both men and women and even stimulating hair growth.
Sunflower Oil for Skin
Sunflower oil has long been known as a healthy, natural way to help obtain and maintain a healthy skin. Because of its strong moisturizing and calming properties, it has been shown to be effective in treating conditions such as acne, eczema, inflammation and general skin redness. It also soothes the skin, helps reduce soreness and can help open wounds heal more quickly. It is frequently used to prevent scarring and wrinkling, especially on the face due to its high vitamin content.
Uses in Food
Restaurants and food manufacturers have long been aware of the benefits of using sunflower oil in their production of food. It is ideal for the food industry mainly because of its ability to function under high temperatures and its low level of trans fats. In fact, many mass-producers have taken to using sunflower oil as their main oil because it allows them to maintain a low and healthy amount of trans fats in their foods, thus increasing their appeal to more health-conscious consumers.
Other Benefits of Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil has many other distinct health benefits in addition to its high intrinsic value as an oil for skin and hair. Due to its unique balance of the type of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals present in the sunflower oil, it has been shown to effectively lower the amount of LDLs in our system and total cholesterol levels in humans, while increasing HDL levels. This works to improve the ratio between LDL and HDL levels to a healthy number. You can learn more about HDLs and LDLs here. Further increasing its heart-healthy profile, sunflower oil also helps the body produce certain hormones which stimulates and eases the relaxation and contraction of smooth muscles, reduces pain and promotes healthy contraction and dilation of the blood vessels. All these properties make it an ideal cooking oil for a person with heart related problems to consume.