Best Practices While Using Oil for Cooking

Organic Lifestyle

Cooking oil is an essential ingredient of sumptuous Indian dishes. Whether it is a decedent deep-fried savories to modest home-cooked daal sabzi, oil is at the heart of many food preparations. The most popular oil used in the Indian kitchen is vegetable oil, including canola, mustard, and sunflower oil. Sunflower oil for cooking is increasing in popularity due to its multiple benefits. According to reports, the global production of sunflower oil for cooking was 21.2 million metric tons in 2019-2020 [1].

Image source: Stage Door School of Dance

Benefits of Sunflower Oil for Cooking

Contrary to popular belief, sunflower seeds are not seeds, but small fruits similar to those found in strawberry. The sunflower oil for cooking is made by pressing the seeds of the Helianthus annuus plant. This oil is touted as healthy since it contains unsaturated fats that are good for a healthy heart.

Nutrition facts of sunflower oil:

Nutrition Facts
Serving size 1 Tbsp
Amount per serving
Calories 124
%Daily values
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0%
Dietary Fiber 0mg 0%
Sugars 0mg 0%
Protein 0g 0%
Vitamin E 29.00%
Vitamin K 1.00%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie need

Source: plattevillesunfloweroil

  1. Sunflower oil has high percentage of polyunsaturated fats, which includes essential fatty acids to reduce the cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.
  2. It is also a good source of Vitamin E, which has numerous health benefits such as preventing coronary heart disease, boosting immune function, preventing inflammation, promoting eyesight, and lowering the risk of cancer.

Sunflower Oil For Cooking: Is It Healthy?

Sunflower oil has around 13-14% of saturated fat, which is a lot more than grape seed oil and canola oil, but less than other vegetable oils such as coconut oil, palm oil, and peanut oil. When using sunflower oil for cooking, it is advised to use it raw to avoid decreasing its health benefits and retain its antioxidant properties. That is why it is preferred over other oils while making mayonnaise and vinaigrette.  Sunflower oil also has the same amount of saturated fat found in olive and corn oil.

Image source: Wikipedia

Sunflower Oil for Frying?

The culinary uses of refined sunflower oil include searing, sautéeing, frying, and others. When dealing with unrefined sunflower oil, it should be used raw and can be a great accompaniment to salad dressing. While using sunflower oil for cooking, it is important to know the difference between refined and unrefined oil. Cold-pressed, unrefined sunflower oil is expensive and is best saved for low-heat cooking or raw consumption in the form of salad dressing. On the contrary, refined sunflower oil can be a great choice for high-heat cooking like frying due to its high smoke point of 440 to 475°F.

Using unrefined sunflower oil for cooking can lead to the formation of aldehydes, which are toxic compounds that can potentially alter the DNA and cells and invariably lead to heart disease or even Alzheimer’s. And it is a known fact that if the sunflower oil is exposed to heat for a longer duration, it emits more aldehydes. Therefore, the next time you decide to use sunflower oil for cooking, check whether it is refined or cold-pressed and use accordingly.


The best way to use sunflower oil for cooking is knowing its composition and its processing. While sunflower oil has several health benefits, it also has a risk of producing toxic compounds when heated to higher temperatures. Ultimately, using both unrefined and refined oil in different preparations can lead to a better balance of fat in the overall diet.

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