Is Sunflower Oil Good for You? Benefits, Risks and Alternatives

Is Sunflower Oil Good for You? Benefits, Risks and Alternatives

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Is Sunflower Oil Good for You? Benefits, Risks and Alternatives

Sunflower oil can be found under the large display of cooking oil in the grocery store. If you’re wondering if sunflower oil is useful, you’re not alone.

The oil certainly has its advantages because it contains linoleic and oleic acid. But like other vegetable oils, they contain large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which are excessively consumed in the western world.

So sunflower oil is healthy? The short answer is that it has some health benefits when consumed in moderation or used moderately on the skin, but it certainly has some drawbacks.

What is sunflower oil?

Sunflower oil comes from the sunflower factory Heliante Annuus. Because it contains little saturated fat, it is called a healthy cooking oil, but there are some things you should know about sunflower oil.

It contains linoleic acid and oleic acid, two types of fats that have been well researched for their potential health benefits and deficiencies. Sunflower oil can also release potentially harmful toxins when heated above 180 degrees, so it is certainly not the best cooking oil.


There are different types of sunflower oil, each with a different fatty acid composition. What bad luck!

  • Big linoleum: This type contains about 70% linoleic acid, 20% oleic acid and 10% saturated fat. It is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and is liquid at room temperature, making it suitable for cooking at home.
  • Mead Olijk and Hi Olijk: These types contain oleic acid and are considered healthier because of their omega-9 fatty acid content. Medium-sized sunflower oil contains 65 % oleic acid and 25 % linoleic acid, i.e. approximately 10 % saturated fatty acids. Sunflower oil with a high oil content is composed of approximately 80% oleic acid, 10% linoleic acid and 10% saturated fat.
  • High Stearic. Hi: This type of sunflower oil is solid at room temperature (due to stearic acid) and is therefore often used in the production of ice cream, in packaged foods or for industrial baking. Stearic acid is often used as a stabilizer for cosmetics, detergents, candles and much more.

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. This fat is necessary for human nutrition and is used by the body as a source of energy.

Products containing linoleic acid account for about 90% of omega-6 fatty acids, which are healthy, but only in moderate amounts.

Oleic acid is an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid found in vegetable and animal fats. Olive oil is also rich in oleic acid.

Studies show that consuming oleic acid via omega-6 fatty acids can be healthier for the heart and overall health.

Different types of sunflower oil react differently to heat. The products with a higher linoleic and oleic acid content remain liquid at room temperature, so that they can be used in different recipes.

They contain stearic acid, a kind of saturated fat that is solid at room temperature and is therefore used for various culinary purposes.

Facts about feeding sunflower oil

The USDA reports that one tablespoon of sunflower oil contains approximately the same amount:

  • 120 calories
  • 13.6 g fat
  • 5.6 milligram vitamin E (25% DV)

Moreover, 86% of the fatty acids in sunflower oil are monounsaturated fats, 10% saturated fats and 4% polyunsaturated fats.


1. Rich in vitamin E

Vitamin E isomers have strong antioxidant properties, with the ability to reduce free radical damage and inflammation. Studies evaluating the effects of vitamin E show that the consumption of an antioxidant food naturally slows down cell aging, improves immunity and reduces the risk of health problems such as heart disease.

Because foods containing vitamin E help reduce oxidative stress in the body, research shows that they can also improve physical stamina because the nutrients reduce fatigue, promote blood circulation and improve muscle strength.

2. Can promote heart health

Studies show that consuming foods containing linoleic acid can help lower cholesterol levels and LDL blood pressure, reducing the overall risk of cardiovascular disease. This is particularly true when it comes to replacing foods that contain more saturated fats with omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower oil.

However, when it comes to heart health, researchers say that getting the right ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a 1:1 ratio is crucial. Excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty acids can be problematic.

3. Promotion of healthy skin

Because sunflower oil contains linoleic acid, oleic acid and vitamin E, it helps to improve skin hydration, reduce inflammation, accelerate wound healing and improve skin elasticity. It acts as an emollient that protects while hydrating the skin.

The use of sunflower oil for the skin can help reduce skin damage due to its protective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that vitamin E can also help speed up cell regeneration, making scars, wrinkles and acne more visible.

4. Nourishes the hair

Sunflower oil helps to hydrate, nourish and even thicken curls. It has an antioxidant effect that reduces damage to the hair by the environment.

It also promotes blood circulation to the scalp, hydrates and gives hair a healthier and fresher appearance.

A study showed that oils with a high linoleic acid content can contribute to hair thickening, as omega-6 fatty acids contribute to several factors responsible for hair growth.

5. Infection control

Studies show that both linoleic acid and oleic acid have anti-inflammatory, immunostimulatory and anti-infective properties.

It has also been proven that oleic acid has antibacterial properties and can therefore be used to improve bacterial skin infections.

Risks and side effects

One of the main disadvantages of using sunflower oil, like other vegetable oils, is its omega-6 fatty acid content. Although these fats are important for human health, most people consume too many fatty acids and almost enough omega-3 fatty acids.

Excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty acids can lead to inflammation, weight gain and heart problems.

Do not heat sunflower oil to high temperatures (over 180 degrees Fahrenheit). It is certainly not the best oil for frying food, as it can release potentially toxic substances (e.g. aldehydes) when cooked at high temperatures, even though it has a higher smoke point.

The best way to use sunflower oil for cooking is to make recipes that require delicate preparation at low temperatures, such as French fries.

Healthy alternatives

Since sunflower oil is characterised by a high linoleic acid content (omega-6) and does not react well at high temperatures, there are healthier alternatives, such as

  • The olive oil: If you look at sunflower oil and olive oil, both contain oleic acid, depending on the type you choose. Each type of extra virgin olive oil contains a large amount of oleic acid – heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid. But olive oil is not suitable for cooking at high temperatures. It’s best if it drips on salads or sauces.
  • Avocado butter: Like sunflower oil, avocado oil contains oil and linoleic acid. It is also rich in vitamin E. Avocado oil is not only considered one of the healthiest oils in the world, but also has a very high smoke point of at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Coconut butter: Coconut oil is another healthier way of cooking. It is more stable than sunflower (and olive oil) oil and acts as an antimicrobial and energy-rich food. Contains medium-chain fatty acids, including caprylic acid, bay leaf and capric acid. It can be used in bakery products, for vegetable and meat sauces and is also excellent for skin and hair.


  • Sunflower oil is obtained from sunflowers. Because of its low saturated fatty acid content, it is often considered a healthy cooling oil, but there are some shortcomings to consider.
  • What are the health benefits of sunflower oil? Sunflower oil has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, nourishing and healing effect on the skin and heart.
  • The oil is rich in linoleic acid and/or oleic acid, depending on the type of oil purchased. You can use this oil sparingly, pour it over the salad or into the sauce or apply it to the face and hair. But don’t boil with this oil, because it can release potentially toxic substances.
  • Olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil, which can be used in food and in the field, are healthier alternatives.


About the Author: Prateek

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