Sunflower oil has many health benefits because it is low in saturated fat and high in two types of fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, also appear in sunflower oil. MUFAs may reduce heart disease. MUFAs in olive oil help make the Mediterranean diet healthy.
There are a few different types of sunflower oil you can choose from. It can be high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, or it can be high in linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, or it can be somewhere in between. A high oleic sunflower oil is more frequently sold, since it is more stable for cooking.
Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in high oleic sunflower oil, are good for heart health. In one study, MUFAs increased HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Study subjects also had lower levels of inflammation. The Food and Drug Administration supports the health claim that oils containing at least 70% oleic acid may reduce coronary heart disease.
Linoleic Acid for Heart Health
Linoleic acid, the other unsaturated fat in sunflower oil, can also benefit your heart’s health. The American Heart Association performed a review of studies and concluded that linoleic acid lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. The Association suggests that consumers get 5-10% of their calories from linoleic acid. That translates to about 100 to 200 calories a day in a 2000-calorie a day diet.
Brain and Nerve Health
Sunflower oil is also an excellent source for vitamin E. Many studies suggest that a healthy source of vitamin E in your diet could provide many health bonuses. Some evidence suggests it may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. A deficiency of vitamin E can cause nerve pain. Vitamin E from food sources is more effective than from a supplement.