Health Benefits of Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil (Helianthus annuus) is a non-volatile oil extracted from the seeds of sunflower. It is a triglyceride and mainly consists of palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid.

When it comes to its nutritional value and benefits to health it is an amazing natural ingredient. This article will highlight the health benefits of sunflower oil and reasons why you should add it to your diet.

Health Benefits of Sunflower Oil

1. Improves Heart Health

High cholesterol content in the body means that one is more likely to develop atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and increased chances of heart attack or a stroke. Sunflower oil is a good choice for keeping a healthy heart. It is rich in oleic-acid (monounsaturated fatty acid- MUFA) and has favorable outcomes on blood lipids and factor VIIc (coagulant activity). Moreover, it contains Vitamin E, which prevents dangerous free radicals from oxidizing the body’s cholesterol. Thus, sunflower seed oil can be a great ingredient to be used for cooking. A diet full of MUFA is beneficial to keep a check on atherosclerosis and many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.

2. Improves Skin Health

Sunflower seed oil has remarkable impact on skin. In a study it has been demonstrated that it preserves stratum corneum integrity, does not cause erythema, and improves hydration. Not only for adults, it is also of great importance for neonates as well. The infant massage using this oil enhances skin barrier function and completely moisturizes the skin. Research also suggests that it is a better alternative than olive oil for dry skin. It is full of vitamins E, A, D, C which keeps the skin supple and works as an excellent face moisturizer with its antioxidant activity. This oil helps the skin cells to regenerate and prevent acne.

Vitamin E in sunflower oil protects against hazardous effects of UV radiation. It offers photoprotection and effectively works on wrinkles, blemishes & patchy skin.

3. Prevents Arthritis

Sunflower seed oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory capacity. Its major lipid is linoleic acid, which possibly decreases inflammation in the skin by activating peroxisome proliferative-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-α). It has been linked to a reduction in severity of rheumatoid arthritis when used within recommended limits.

Sunflower Seed Oil Helps Prevent Arthritis

4. Prevents Asthma

Vitamin E reduces and prevents oxygen damage to the tissue and is useful for the treatment of pain, inflammation and allergic reactions. A number of studies suggest that vitamin E reduces bronchoconstriction associated with asthma. It shows lower prevalence of wheezing, cough and shortness of breath compared to those with lower intakes. So, sunflower oil which is a rich source of Vitamin E can be a good option to prevent asthma.

5. Prevents Cancer

Sunflower seed oil is also rich in vitamin A and carotenoids. The antioxidant content helps to fight the free radicals that cause degeneration of cells and inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. Moreover, the selenium present in sunflower seeds repairs cellular damage. So, the incorporation of sunflower oil in the diet can play a major role in reducing colon cancer, and uterine cancer as well.

6. Improves Immune System

Sunflower oil provides adequate linoleic acid for maintenance of the immune response. Linoleic acid is needed for normal immune response, and essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency impairs B and T cell-mediated responses. It helps in building new cells and tissues of the body, which is beneficial in boosting the immune system.

7. Improves Hair Health

Higher amounts of tocopherol are available in sunflower oil. The study shows that the intake of natural vitamin E may help against collagen cross-linking & thus hair health. It can treat problems of baldness & hair loss.

Vitamin E in Sunflower Oil Promote Hair Growth

8. Improves Digestion

Sunflower seed oil contains high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). PUFA are found to increase digestibility thus, healthy digestion.

9. Helps Aid Weight Loss

Adiponectin is basically involved in the fatty acid breakdown. According to a study, sunflower oil increases adiponectin levels in post-menopause women thus, reducing weight.

Sunflower Oil Aid in Weight Loss

10. Reduces Depression & Anxiety

It contains magnesium which has been found to work in mood disorders like depression & anxiety.  Magnesium ions regulate calcium ion flow in neuronal calcium channels that helps to regulate neuronal nitric oxide production. Thus, it treats the associated symptoms.

Sunflower Oil Nutritional Value

Sunflower seed oil can be considered to be one of the healthiest ingredients for cooking. It contains both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Sunflower kernels indeed are excellent sources of Vitamin B-complex like folic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, and minerals. Daily consumption of this oil in recommended limits can be very beneficial for the overall maintenance of health.

Nutritional Profile of Sunflower Seed Oil

Fats: Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats but especially rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid, which constitute about 50% fatty acids in them. Linoleic sunflower oil has a high content of polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-6 fatty acids that are involved in a number of body processes such as lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, building strong hair and immune system. Research studies suggest that diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by maintaining healthy blood lipid profile.

Types of Sunflower Oil

According to Natural Sunflower Association, there are four types of sunflower oils that are available. They have been categorized according to the linoleic acid content, which can be used as needed.

  • High-linoleic
  • Mid-oleic
  • High oleic
  • High oleic/high stearic

Vitamin E: The seeds are a very rich source of Vitamin E. It contains about 35.17 mg of Vitamin E per 100 g. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals and leaving the skin look youthful and beautiful.

Folic acid: About 100 g of sunflower kernels contains 227 µg of folic acid, which is about 37% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer.

Selenium: The seeds contain 45% recommended daily intake of selenium. Selenium deficiency may lead to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, so sunflower oil in the diet may help overcome this problem.

Magnesium: The sunflower seed oil contains 81 % recommended daily intake of magnesium. It is responsible for keeping the skeletal structure healthy and helps prevent conditions like loss of bone mineral density or osteoporosis. Additionally, magnesium also helps to reduce symptoms associated with mood disorders like depression & anxiety.

In a nutshell, sunflower seed oil is an excellent natural ingredient for health. The incorporation of this oil in the diet maintains a healthy body while treating many disorders. But, its use should be in permissible and recommended levels as it can otherwise lead to adverse effects.

Nutrition Facts for Sunflower Seed

The nutritional values of "Sunflower Seed" per 100 grams are:
Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 584
Protein 20.8 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 20 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 78 mg 7.8 %
Copper, Cu 1.8 mg 90 %
Iron, Fe 5.25  mg 29.17 %
Magnesium, Mg 325 mg 81.25 %
Manganese, Mn 1.95 mg 97.5 %
Phosphorus, P 660 mg 66 %
Potassium, K 645  mg 18.43 %
Selenium, Se 53 mcg 75.71 %
Sodium, Na 9 mg 0.38 %
Zinc, Zn 5 mg 33.33 %
Vitamin A 50  IU 1 %
Vitamin C 1.4 mg 2.33 %
Vitamin B6 1.34 mg 67.25 %
Vitamin E 35.17 mg 117.23 %
Vitamin K 0  mcg 0 %
Riboflavin 0.36  mg 20.88 %
Thiamin 1.48 mg 98.67 %
Folate, DFE 227  mcg 56.75 %
Niacin 8.34  mg 41.68 %
Sugars 2.62 g
Fiber 8.6  g 34.4 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 4.73 g
Carotene, alpha 0 mcg
Carotene, beta 30  mcg
Choline 55.1 mg
Lycopene 0  mcg
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.


  1. A diet rich in high-oleic-acid sunflower oil favorably alters low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and factor VII coagulant activity - (
  2. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care - (
  3. Impact of topical oils on the skin barrier: possible implications for neonatal health in developing countries - (
  4. Alternative, Complementary, and Forgotten Remedies for Atopic Dermatitis - (
  5. Is vitamin E an anti-allergic compound? - (
  6. Food use and health effects of soybean and sunflower oils - (
  7. Digestion and deposition of individual fatty acids in growing-finishing pigs fed diets containing either beef tallow or sunflower oil - (
  8. USDA Food Composition Databases - (
  9. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment - (

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