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Health Experts Want You To Be Very Cautious Of This Popular Cooking Oil

One undisputed fact is that sunflower oil is a good source of vitamin E. Not all sunflower oil lists its vitamin E content on the nutrition facts panel, but some may contain as much as 40% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions as an antioxidant and plays a role in metabolic processes such as cell signaling, hormone balance, and gene expression, according to registered dietitian Amy Gonzalez, R.D., FNTP, CLT. It’s also the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the skin, where it helps counter UV damage and skin inflammation, and supports wound healing.

“In mbg’s ultimate multivitamin+, we chose to leverage the amazing sunflower, specifically the native oil of the sunflower seeds, to source our vitamin E in its most bioavailable and bioactive form, d-alpha-tocopherol,” says Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs. “While there are other high-quality plant oil sources of vitamin E, we wanted to elevate and celebrate as many premium botanicals in this plant-centric vegan multi as possible.”

Sunflower oil is also touted as a heart-healthy oil due to its low levels of saturated fats and high levels of unsaturated fats. However, research suggests this may only be true for high-oleic sunflower oil, as opposed to mid-oleic and high-linoleic varieties. “Oleic acid is a famously heart-healthy constituent of a Mediterranean dietary pattern and lifestyle,” says Ferira.

Several studies have found that consuming monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid may help optimize cholesterol levels. In one study, people with elevated blood lipids who added high-oleic sunflower oil to their diet for eight weeks experienced an elevation in HDL (“good”) cholesterol, while another study found that people who added high-oleic sunflower oil to their diet for 10 weeks has lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides than people eating a comparable amount of saturated fat. Findings like this have prompted the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a qualified health claim that consuming 1.5 tablespoons of oleic acid-rich oils per day in place of saturated fats may reduce risk of coronary heart disease.

You can also use sunflower oil topically–and you may see it as an ingredient on your body or facial oil. For this purpose, you may actually want to use a high-linoleic variety of sunflower oil, which has been shown to improve hydration and skin barrier integrity better than several other oils, including olive oil. Sunflower oil may also help rebalance acne-prone skin, as research suggests people with acne tend to produce sebum with diminished linoleic acid content.

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