While perhaps not as ubiquitous as olive oil and its vegetable counterparts, Sunflower Oil has been an oil of choice in high end catering for many years, alongside its numerous applications in cosmetic and therapeutic products. Its benefits in skin and haircare are well documented, but its advantages as part of our diet are being becoming more apparent.
Galvanised by a surge in popularity within kitchens across the country, Sunflower Oil is noted for its gentle and unobtrusive flavour profile, high smoke point and neutral colouring that make it a perfect addition to any well-stocked kitchen. Sunflower Oil can be used in place of any neutral vegetable oil in a number of applications, including searing, frying and sautéeing, as well as a robust base for vinaigrettes and dressings.
As it continues to grow in popularity, the oil is finding more use in day-to-day cooking as opposed to its previous more specialist high-end use, making it a more common sight in stores. Its rising status as a cooking staple, particularly in niche diets such as vegan or gluten-free, has marked it out as an extremely versatile cooking oil, with a host of fantastic culinary qualities.
What you may not know however, is that as well as being a mainstay ingredient of contemporary cooking, Sunflower Oil also brings a number of additional health benefits with it, many of which are more recent discoveries.
Derived from the seed of the sunflower (Helianthus Annuus), Sunflower Oil is cold-pressed to retain its natural health benefits and qualities that would otherwise be lost through heat processing. Alongside enviable Vitamin E content, Sunflower Oil is an impressive source of fatty acids, the building blocks of fat in our bodies, which help to maintain and balance various elements of health within the body. The oil contains one of the highest concentrations of polyunsaturated fats in cooking (69%), as well as monounsaturated fats (20%) and relatively low levels of saturated fats (11%), indicating beneficial impact to overall heart health.
Studies conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition into the long-term benefits of Sunflower Oil within a diet has revealed that it may have an impact on lowering cholesterol levels. Phytosterols found in sunflower seeds compete with cholesterol for blood stream absorption, positively impacting the levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the harmful form of cholesterol that builds up in arterial channels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Sunflower Oil is rich in Vitamin E, a family of compounds which contain tocopherols. In fact, it contains almost six times the amount of tocopherols as Olive Oil. These powerful antioxidants can prevent free radicals from undergoing a harmful chain reaction, a chemical process that has been linked to a number of human diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, atherosclerosis and cancer.
Additionally, Sunflower Oil also contains plant sterols and squalene, alongside binding agent lecithin and carotenoids. While research is only in its infancy, early tests suggest anti-cancer qualities in sterols.
Perhaps a more surprising benefit of Sunflower Oil is its positive impact on digestion, particularly as digestive tract health becomes more central to public awareness. Sunflower Oil offers a useful alternative to traditional cooking oils; its comparatively light constitution means it can be digested by the body more easily.
Kerfoot Sunflower Oils – the brand to trust
At Kerfoot, we harness our extensive experience of natural oil solutions to supply oils and ingredients with a difference. Quality is our priority throughout the production process which ensures clean labelling and that nothing goes to waste. Extraneous material from the decortication process in sunflower oil production is processed into sunflower meal, which is then used as livestock feed. A truly sustainable solution.
What’s more, our vertically-integrated Sunflower Oil supply chain means we have access to more than half of the sunflower fields in France, providing traceability; particularly important in today’s legislation conscious catering environment that puts a lot of emphasis on food provenance and accountability. From harvest to delivery, we understand the dynamic needs of the food sector to ensure flexibility, performance and excellence with every operation.
Through an agile supply chain, we have become one of the most trusted names in the sector, providing over 500 authentic oils and ingredients to the personal care, pharmaceutical, animal care, industrial and catering industries. Our manufacturing sites operate to extremely high standards to ensure replicable and reliable quality, certified to BRC Global Standard for Food and Consumer Goods, as well as Soil Association Organic Manufacturing Standards.
To find out more about Kerfoot, its integrated supply chain and the wide array of high quality oils available, visit www.kerfootgroup.co.uk.