They are famous for their love affair with the sun, but haven’t gotten the attention they deserve for their nutritive value. The nutrient-rich sunflower oil has more benefits than it is credited for. From its ability to improve heart health and boost energy, to taking care of your skin and hair, the list is endless. Here are six reasons you should make it a staple in your kitchen.

1. Heart Health
Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats and rich in vitamin E, both of which play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin E is the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant and aids in scavenging free radicals, which bring about the oxidation of cholesterol. Only after it is oxidized is cholesterol able to adhere to the walls of the arteries and result in plaques, which could further lead to atherosclerosis. (Related Article: Get Heart Healthy This Winter)

2. Lowers Cholesterol
Rich in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, sunflower oil works well to maintain the levels of LDL and HDL in the body. It is also rich in lecithin, which helps in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). (Related Article: 8 Foods To Lower Cholesterol Levels Naturally)

3. Nervous Health
The vitamin B and magnesium content of sunflower oil promotes a healthy nervous system by regulating the nerve and muscle tone. Magnesium relaxes the nervous system by blocking the entry of calcium, and therefore acting as nature’s own calcium channel blocker.

4. Antioxidants
Vitamin E present in sunflower oil exhibits antioxidant activity, scavenging free radicals from the body and protecting you from its harmful effects. This antioxidant properties also play a vital role in protecting you against a range of diseases, particularly cancer and Alzheimer’s. (Related Article: L-Carnitine – An Antioxidant That Helps You)

5. Immunity
Loaded with zinc which is particularly responsible for the functioning of a healthy immune system, sunflower oil is believed to empower the immune system. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and helps ward-off infections, heal wounds, and protect against autoimmune conditions like arthritis. (Related Article: 5 Superfoods To Rev Up Your Immunity This Winter)

6. Skin & Hair Health
A good amount of vitamin E is present in sunflower oil. The antioxidant ability of this vitamin protects your skin against premature aging. The healthy fats present in sunflower oil helps keep the skin soft and supple. It is also rich in vitamins A, C and D, and healthy carotenoids which protect the skin from sun damage.

Sunflower oil is an important source of gamma alpha linoleic acid, which is effective against hair loss. It nourishes the hair and prevents breakage, while adding a delightful shine to your tresses. (Related Article: Nature’s Secret For Glowing Healthy Skin)

With its innumerable benefits, sunflower oil is definitely a healthier choice. However, it does have a higher content of omega 6 fatty acids which can be bad for people who already have cholesterol and obesity issues. Excess consumption of this oil without boosting your omega 3 intake can result in an imbalance of fatty acids in the body and cause health complications. Have this oil in appropriate quantities without overdosing your system to reap its innumerable benefits.

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With a Master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Exeter,UK and a diploma in food science & quality control, Stephlina is intrigued with the intricacies of the human body. She shares a deep interest in human diseases and believes that popping pills is not the only solution to fight an ailment.