Sunflower(Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus) is a flower that keeps moving around in the sun's direction that is why its name is Sunflower. It is a major oilseed. Sunflower flowers are bitter in taste and cold in potency. Sunflower seeds contain a lot of nutrients like vitamins B-1, B-3, B-6 protein, magnesium, and phosphorus. Due to all these properties, the sunflower is used to make many types of medicines in Ayurveda.
Seed extracts of Sunflower are used to extract the oil. We also use it in cooking or in cosmetic formulations. Sunflower oil contains linoleic acid. It also contains oleic and palmitic acid. Apart from these, it contains carotenoids, tocopherol, lecithin, and adequate amounts of Vitamin-A, Vitamin-D, and Vitamin-E. Using sunflower oil ensures a healthy heart, a strong immune system, and healthy skin. It also helps to prevent cancer, reduces high cholesterol, and protects against asthma. It has anti- inflammatory properties too.
Advantages of Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil normalizes cholesterol-
Sunflower oil contains a balanced amount of fatty acids, along with an adequate amount of linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid). Although omega-6 fatty acids are bad cholesterol, they are still essential for the body. In such a situation, sunflower oil plays an important role in creating a balance of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Also, sunflower oil does not contain any saturated fat. It helps in reducing bad cholesterol in the body.
Sunflower oil is beneficial for a healthy heart-
Using sunflower oil reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis blocks the arteries due to which blood pressure increases. This increases the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. Proper use of sunflower oil is beneficial in keeping the heart-healthy.
Useful for the skin-
Sunflower oil is rich in vitamin-E. It especially aids in better skin health and cell regeneration. It also protects the skin from sun damage and reduces the signs of aging. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents healthy cells from being destroyed by neutralizing free radicals. This is a major reason why sunflower oil is used in cosmetic products.
Sunflower oil is beneficial in reducing acne-
Sunflower oil contains vitamins A, C, and D and healthy carotene, which protects against acne by creating a shield on the skin. Being light and non-greasy, sunflower oil absorbs into the skin easily without blocking the pores of the skin. The fatty acids and vitamins found in it acts as antioxidants to relieve acne by giving new life to skin cells.
Sunflower oil cures arthritis-
Sunflower oil is beneficial in curing not only asthma but also arthritis. This oil is also an excellent solution for people suffering from arthritis. Apart from this, sunflower oil also helps in the prevention of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Sunflower oil - strengthens immunity-
Sunflower oil is full of vitamin-E. It acts as an antioxidant in the body which helps prevent heart disease. It also boosts the immune system.
Side-effects of Sunflower oil
● Sunflower oil has higher omega-6 content than other vegetable oils. For this reason, it's harmful to individuals suffering from cholesterol problems.
● People sensitive to 'Asteraceae / Composite' plant species may be allergic to sunflower oil.
● It contains omega-6 fatty acids, whose high intake can harm pregnant women.
● Excess intake of sunflower oil can increase the risk of diabetes by increasing the amount of glucose in the blood.
● The plasma found in it may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing cholesterol, linoleic acid, and poor cholesterol.
Where is the Sunflower found?
The sunflower was first cultivated in America. Major production of Sunflower oil is in Russia, the USA, Ukraine, Argentina, Sweden, and India. They grow almost everywhere in India.