There are plenty of cooking oils out there to choose from. There’s olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, etc. With so many options out there, how do you know where to start? That was exactly my thought when I began looking into sunflower oil. I wondered why I should consider using it over my regular go-to oils. Was it worth it? In order to save you some time and energy, I’ll break things down for you so that you can decide if you want to purchase sunflower oil on your next trip to the supermarket.
We’ll first start with the taste, since these oils are used for cooking. Olive oil has a more distinct flavor, while sunflower oil does not have much of a taste. So, if you don’t want the flavor of your oil mixing in with the rest of your dish, stick to sunflower oil.
For those worrying about their waistline, let’s address the calorie and fat content of the oils. Both oils come in tied for calories, with about 120 calories per tablespoon. Both also contain plenty of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which helps to lower LDL levels (bad cholesterol) while also promoting good cholesterol.
When it comes to healthy acids in the body, each oil has their pros. Specifically, sunflower oil contains around 65% linoleic acid, compared to olive oil’s meager 10%. Linoleic acid lowers your chances of heart disease, so it’s a great addition to your diet. Sunflower oil also has omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. These help boost neurological functioning and reduce inflammation. Yet olive oil contains oleic acid. This suppresses oncogenes, genes which can potentially cause cancer. It also helps defend cells against toxins which carcinogens release, making olive oil a great tool in cancer prevention.
When it comes to lowering and managing blood pressure, olive oil is the clear winner. In a study involving individuals with high blood pressure, participants were assigned a diet including either olive oil or sunflower oil. Those on the olive oil diet reduced their dosage of blood pressure medicine by a whopping 48%. Yet those on the sunflower oil diet only reduced their medication by 4%.
With so many oil options to choose from for cooking, should you be reaching for the sunflower oil?
Well, sunflower oil is grouped with others such as soybean oil and corn oil due to the oils’ polyunsaturated fats. Research shows that swapping saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats in your diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. That’s because it helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels. And it also helps minimize the amount of triglycerides in the blood. So, if you are concerned about heart health, you should definitely consider cooking with sunflower oil.
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