Oil obtained by cold pressing special variety sunflower seeds, that are high in oleic acid is called high oleic sunflower oil. It contains a minimum of 82% oleic acid or monounsaturated fatty acid, and only 10-12% of polyunsaturated linoleic acid. Since high oleic sunflower oil contains more monounsaturated fats, it's healthier than regular sunflower oil.
Since this oil is free from trans fats, it is highly stable without hydrogenation. Moreover, the lower polyunsaturated fat content makes it more resistant to rancidity. It also has a neutral taste, which does not interfere with the flavors of the dish, which increases its versatility.
What is High Oleic Sunflower Oil Used For?
Unhealthy hydrogenated oils were used to increase the shelf-life of packaged food items, however, when a ban was placed on hydrogenated oils, manufacturing companies had to switch to high oleic oils to preserve their food products.
Since this oil has a high smoking point, it is exceptionally useful for deep-frying. Besides the food industry, high oleic sunflower oil is also used in cosmetic products.
Why is High Oleic Sunflower Oil Healthy?
High in Monounsaturated Fats
Unlike other oils, this oil contains more than 80% monounsaturated fats, with less than 20% of fats as saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Thus, by consuming this oil one is taking in more of good fats and less of bad fats. Intake of more monounsaturated fat will help raise the levels of good cholesterol in the body, and lower the levels of bad cholesterol.
Lowers Heart Disease Risk
The Mediterranean diet involves a lot of high oleic acids. This is why people having this diet are seen to have a lower risk of heart diseases as compared to others consuming different kinds of fats. Consuming this oil helps lower bad cholesterol/LDL and also raises the level of good cholesterol/ HDL in the body.
Heals Damaged Skin
Vitamin E content is more in High oleic sunflower oil. Vitamin E has various healing properties. It can not only improve the texture of the skin, but can also trigger cell regeneration, which can help rejuvenate wrinkled skin. It can be added to any cream, soap or lotion recipe that calls for a kind of light oil, that will get absorbed easily into the skin.
Longer Shelf Life
In oils with high polyunsaturated content, fatty acids are present which are natural oxidizers and reduce the shelf life of the oil. However, in high oleic sunflower oil the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids is less, due to which it has twice the shelf life of other vegetable cooking oils.
Thus, people who are going on trips or camps can take this oil along. Since it doesn't get spoiled easily, one can carry it for long holidays or to places where supplies are not easily available.
This oil makes perfect salad dressings and not only enhances the flavor of the salad, but also keeps the salad fresh longer! This oil is flavorless or neutral, however, some folks prefer the neutral taste rather than the nutty flavor oils have. Health conscious people can use this oil, to avoid consuming all the unhealthy fats, that lead to weight gain.
Having said all this, it's important to remember that this is not the green signal to devour as many packaged or processed food items as one wants. No matter how good any oil is, it has to be consumed in moderation. Consuming too many greasy food items can lead to scores of health problems. Thus, moderation is the key!
Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice from a nutritionist/health care provider.