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Sunflower oil (cold pressed?, organic?)

Cold-pressed sunflower oil (organic?) contains many polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unfortunately, it contains a particularly alarming amount of inflammatory linol
Macronutrient carbohydrates 0%
Macronutrient proteins 0%
Macronutrient fats 100%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 65.7g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = !:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 65.7 g and almost no alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Sunflower oil ( sunflower seed oil), made from the peeled seeds of the sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ), consists of a high proportion of linoleic acid ( LA , omega-6 fatty acid).

Use in the kitchen:

Sunflower oil, actually sunflower seed oil, is very popular due to its mild taste. Cold-pressed oil has a more yellowish color and tastes a little nuttier than refined oil. Cold-pressed sunflower oil is used to refine raw dishes such as salads, dressings or sauces. It can occasionally be used for gently sautéing (e.g. vegetables), but it is not suitable for high temperatures. Refined sunflower oil tastes more neutral, is lighter, almost colorless and can be heated up to around 180 °C. However, there is a risk of trans fats here. 1

Which oil is best for frying? There are so-called "high oleic" sunflower varieties. Due to special breeding processes, these varieties produce very heat-stable oils. Such HO oils can also be used for frying or deep-frying (up to 210 °C).

Sunflower oil is also often found in baby food. Because of its yellow color, it is valued for the production of margarine or mayonnaise.

Please note: Even though sunflower oil has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, the LA:ALA ratio is very poor . The proportion of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids is particularly high. Which is better, rapeseed oil or sunflower oil? Rapeseed oil has a much higher content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids . Read more about this in the box link and further down in the text.

Vegan recipe for banana blueberry cake:

Ingredients: 250 g wholemeal spelt flour , 150 g oat flakes , 200 ml sunflower oil - only in the form of HO oil, 80 g fine raw sugar , 1 packet of baking powder , 1 pinch of salt , 150 gblueberries , 3 bananas .

Preparation: Puree the bananas and blueberries finely and mix well with all the other ingredients. Grease a cake tin (e.g. loaf tin) well, dust with flour and fill with the dough. Put the cake in the preheated oven and bake at 200 °C top and bottom heat for approx. 35-40 minutes.

Vegan recipes with sunflower oil can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Shopping - where to buy?

Refined sunflower oil can be found in all supermarket chains such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer etc. Since it does not require any labelling, it can be recognised by its almost colourless or only light yellow colour. Due to the use of high temperatures or chemical solvents, this oil contains hardly any ingredients worth mentioning. However, it can be heated to higher temperatures and has a longer shelf life.

Selected supermarkets, organic shops, health food stores and drugstores also have cold-pressed sunflower oil from organic production (organic) in their range. Cold-pressed sunflower oil is often also called "native". It still contains valuable ingredients and is more intense in color and flavor. Organic oil is never refined, only deodorization (removal of odors and flavors) is sometimes permitted. However, many organic associations are critical of this process and therefore prohibit it. Cold-pressed oil is made from unpeeled, germinable seeds; some perceive it as bitter, tart or even rancid. 2 However, rancidity means that the oil has experienced too much oxidation in the air or has been exposed to water.

Found in the wild:

Of course not the oil, but the sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ) can be found in the wild on rubble weed beds, on the edges of paths and roads.


To produce sunflower oil (sunflower seed oil), you need the closed fruits (achenes) of the sunflower. Peeling and cleaning machines free the seeds from their shells and separate them from each other. The most gentle pressing method is cold pressing: the seeds are only pressed mechanically. The temperatures generated by the pressing pressure do not usually exceed 40 °C. We could not find any law or regulation that states that virgin, cold-pressed sunflower oil must be pressed at temperatures below 30 °C. 3 However, comparable restrictions do exist within olive oil production (see ingredient olive oil ).

Cold-pressed oils (laws, raw food)

In Switzerland, oil is referred to as cold-pressed oil if the oilseed was not heated, the pressing temperature did not exceed 50 °C and no problematic post-treatment took place.

According to the Federal Department of Home Affairs ( FDHA ), an edible oil is considered to be cold-pressed (or may be described with synonyms such as (extra) virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed or natural) if it is obtained by pressing or centrifuging from previously unheated raw materials, the temperature during pressing did not exceed 50 °C and there was no refining, i.e. no neutralisation, no treatment with adsorbents, bleaching earth and no steaming .

An oil may be labelled as “gently steamed” if the refining process was limited to steaming and did not exceed 130 °C . 22

In the EU and the USA, there does not appear to be a generally applicable temperature limit set by law for cold-pressed oils. For example, the guidelines for edible fats and oils of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (D) are similar to the EDI regulation, but they do not specify a permissible maximum temperature for general cold pressing - since they only apply to products whose labelling and composition are not conclusively set by law (i.e. not for olive oil, cocoa butter, milk fats, spreadable fats). 23

However, both the EU directives and the amendment to the EDI regulation on edible oil provide for special rules for the labelling of olive oils . 24,25

These are selective marketing rules in which the term raw food is not defined. "Raw food" and "raw" are therefore not state-protected terms (as is the case with the term "organic"), which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Although it is agreed that with purely mechanical cold pressing, the pressing temperatures generally do not exceed 40 °C, one should not naively assume that cooking oils are raw food quality. There is a suspicion that the measuring method used does not indicate the temperature in the press cylinder (where the heat is highest), but only the outlet temperature in the oil hose. With water-cooled olive oil presses (so-called "water-cooled 37°" oil presses), one probably cannot even say with certainty what the exact temperature is inside the press cylinder, because the entire press cylinder is surrounded by cooling sleeves.

In addition, the pressing pressure and speed as well as the moisture content of the oilseed affect the pressing temperature. If, for example, the moisture content is too low, the temperature rises during pressing and it is difficult to stay even below the maximum limit of 50 °C. 26

Refining is carried out using either a warm or hot pressing process, where sunflowers are steamed at temperatures of around 100 °C - or solvent extraction is used. The reason for these processes is to preserve a certain taste or smell, extend the shelf life, change the color or for further technical processing. This removes undesirable accompanying substances from the crude oil, such as pigments, odors, flavors and bitter substances. 4

Although the yield is greater with refined products, ingredients, secondary plant substances and polyunsaturated fatty acids suffer from this process.


Sunflower oil will last for more than a year if stored in a cool, dark place, and refined oils can last up to two years. Cold-pressed sunflower oil, on the other hand, should be put in the fridge after opening and used quickly. It is better to divide it into small bottles so that oxygen is not constantly introduced when a larger bottle is opened repeatedly.

Ingredients - nutritional value - calories:

Sunflower oil has 884 kcal/100g, which come exclusively from fat. The proportion of saturated fats is around 10%. The ratio between the two unsaturated fats linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is 616:1. 5 DEBInet (shows values from the Federal Food Key version 3.02) lists a sunflower oil with 50.18 g linoleic acid (LA) and 0.18 g alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): This oil also contains a lot of omega-6 (ratio of 280:1 instead of the recommended ratio of 5:1, Federal Nutrition Commission EEK , 2006).

What is worth mentioning about sunflower oil is its vitamin E content (41 mg/100g). This fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role as an antioxidant in the body and also increases the storage life of the oil. Hemp oil and hazelnut oil have a similar value. Wheat germ oil has significantly more alpha-tocopherol at 149 mg/100g. 5

Sunflower oil also contains some vitamin K : 5.4 µg/100g. This fat-soluble vitamin is mainly found in green vegetables or salad: spinach has 483 µg/100g and leek 46 µg. But rapeseed oil also has many times more (13x more) vitamin K, with 71 µg/100g. 5

During the cold pressing process, most of the vitamins and fatty acids from the sunflower seeds are retained in their original form.

The complete ingredients of sunflower oil, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health aspects - effects:

Sunflower oil is said to be helpful for diabetics due to its monounsaturated oleic acid (oleic acid) and to reduce resistance to the hormone "I". 6 Studies on cell cultures show that oleic acid suppresses the activity of tumor cells. 7,8 However, natural sunflower oil only contains 19.5% monounsaturated oleic acid (18:1), almonds and almond milk have a good 31%, rapeseed oil between 60 and 70% and safflower oil 74%.

A 2017 study showed that regular intake of linoleic acid counteracts the development of type 2 diabetes. 9

In vivo studies have shown that people with dyslipidemia had a reduction in blood cholesterol levels when they regularly consumed sunflower oil. 10 studies commissioned by industry focus only on the benefits and simply ignore everything else - including foods that would be much more effective in this regard.

However, these positive effects are offset by the following:

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects:

All refined vegetable oils contain 3-MCPD fatty acid esters, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC ) classified as a "possible human carcinogen" in 2011. The highest levels are found in highly refined vegetable oils and vegetable fats. Some of them are also hydrogenated (e.g. margarines). Higher levels of fatty acid esters were also found in infant milk powder, as they contain refined fats and oils. The last step in the refining process, deodorization, leads in most cases to the development of 3-MCPD esters. In some cases they can also form during steam treatment. Since refining is not subject to labeling, we should assume that oils that are not labeled "cold-pressed" or "native" have been refined. Animal fats such as butter, lard, etc. do not contain 3-MCPD esters, as they are not normally refined. 11

Certain food technology processes can convert natural cis configurations of unsaturated fatty acids into trans configurations. Trans fatty acids can cause lipid metabolism disorders or promote coronary heart disease. Hydrogenation can change the texture and stability of oils and harden them. For example, unsaturated fatty acids are converted into saturated fatty acids to make margarine. 12 For several years now, the content of trans fatty acids in foods has been reduced. 13 Many European countries have introduced a legal upper limit of a maximum of 2% for industrially produced trans fatty acids in the fat fraction of foods. 14

Cold-pressed sunflower oil (sunflower seed oil) in particular contains a large amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid, LA) are important, but in high doses they promote inflammation in the body. Since we consume too much of this fatty acid, we should make sure to consume more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA). This can improve the LA:ALA ratio. As mentioned above, the fatty acid ratio (LA:ALA) should not exceed 5:1. Examples of foods rich in ALA include linseed oil , rapeseed oil and walnut oil - although avoiding oil (and switching to ALA-rich nuts and seeds) would be even healthier. You can find out more details about this problem in the ingredient olive oil .

Sunflowers can rarely trigger pollen and food allergies. They form an allergen community with mugwort and other Asteraceae.

Folk medicine - natural medicine:

What is sunflower oil good for? Oil pulling treatments (also known as oil treatments, oil sucking or oil chewing) are primarily known as Ayurvedic methods in India. Sesame oil was used for research purposes, which had a significant effect against Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus . In Russia, thanks to Fedor Karach, sunflower oil is known as a detoxifying agent (in oil treatments). The process is also said to prevent pathogens from settling in the mouth and throat. Oil pulling is also said to have a positive effect against rheumatism and stomach and intestinal problems. 7

Sunflower petals are also used in folk medicine. As a tincture or tea, they are effective against fever, for example in cases of malaria or lung diseases. 15

The oil from the seeds is also used externally: the oil is massaged into aching limbs or it is used to treat wounds that are slow to heal. Internally, the oil is said to have a laxative effect. 15

Occurrence - Origin:

Sunflowers originate in North and Central America. The oilseed came to Europe through Spanish explorers. Promising breeding took place in the Russian Ukraine. The most important producers are Russia and Argentina. 16 In terms of quantity, sunflower oil is the fourth most produced worldwide after palm, soy and rapeseed oil. 17

Cultivation - Harvest:

The annual Asteraceae can grow up to a height of 3 m, although this is rarely the case. 18 Their strong stems are filled with pith and have alternately arranged, heart-shaped, triangular, rough-haired leaves. The large flower heads can reach a diameter of up to 35 cm. The flowering period is from July to September. The fat content of the kernels varies greatly depending on the variety. 15 With an annual average grain yield of around 2.5 t/ha, around 10 t of harvest residues (straw) remain in the field. 19

Short-stemmed varieties are preferred for harvesting ripe sunflower seeds. Tall, leafy cultivars are suitable for green silage.

High-oleic sunflowers (HO) are sunflowers that have been bred (not genetically modified!) to have an oleic acid content of 75-93%. Normal varieties have between 14 and 39.4% oleic acid. 20 The high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) also increases the heat and oxidation stability of the oil. 21 The smoke point of HO sunflower oil thus rises to around 220 °C.

Genetically modified sunflowers are controversial; they are said to be resistant to drought, heat, insecticides, herbicides and plant diseases. Such plants have been approved for cultivation in Canada, for example. 2

Danger of confusion:

As it belongs to the same genus, Helianthus annuus could be confused with Helianthus tuberosus when it is in bloom. However, it is not the oil-containing seeds of this plant that are used, but rather the inulin-containing tuber: it is known commercially as Jerusalem artichoke .

Animal protection - species protection - animal welfare:

Sunflowers with their large basket flowers are an ideal source of pollen and food for bees, insects and birds. Grown in small gardens, meadows or as flowering areas, they help protect species.

General information:

The sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ) belongs to the daisy family. The seeds have an oil content of about 50%.

Alternative names:

Common names for the sunflower are: God's eye, gold flower, sun crown, sun star. 15

The drug name for sunflower petals is Helianthi flos, and sunflower oil is Helianthi oleum. In English, sunflower oil is called sunflower oil.

Keywords for use:

High-oleic sunflower oil with more than 90% oleic acid is found in chemical industries, e.g. in the manufacture of lubricants. These heat-stable sunflower varieties are also used in cosmetics. 21

Sunflower oil is also a component of industrial paints and varnishes and many artists' paints. It is used as a preservative in leather processing and in the cloth factory.

Sunflower oil is also used as a plant fuel, but there is still a need for research in this area. According to Wikipedia , the share of sunflower oil methyl ester (SME) was around 10% of all biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester, FAME) produced in Europe in 2007.

The pharmaceutical industry also uses sunflower oil for ointments and creams, which partially replaces olive oil or peanut oil . Press residues and defatted flour are approved for animal feed.

In May 2019, there was a scandal over "adulterated olive oil" that was produced from sunflower oil and soybeans .

Literature - Sources:

Bibliography - 21 Sources Stiftung Warentest: Sonnenblumenöl - Gutes Öl muss nicht teuer sein.
2.Pini U. Das Bio-Food Handbuch. Ullmann: Hamburg, Potsdam. 2014.
3.Wikipedia Sonnenblumenöl.
4.Wikipedia Raffination.
5.USDA United States Department of Agriculture.
6.Finucane OM, Lyons CL, Murphy AM et al. Monounsaturated Fatty Acid-Enriched High-Fat Diets Impede Adipose NLRP3 Inflammasome-Mediated IL-1β Secretion and "Hormon-I" Resistance Despite Obesity. American Diabetes Association. 2015;64(6).
7.Fleischhauer SG, Guthmann J, Spiegelberger R. Enzyklopädie Essbare Wildpflanzen. AT Verlag: Aarau. 2013.
8.Kumar S, Ruiz Velasco AD, Michlewski G. Oleic Acid Induces MiR-7 Processing through Remodeling of Pri-MiR-7/Protein Complex. Journal of Molecular Biology. 2017;429(11).
9.Wu JHY, Marklund M, Imamura F et al. Omega-6 fatty acid biomarkers and incident type 2 diabetes: pooled analysis of individual-level data for 39 740 adults from 20 prospective cohort studies. Diabetes 6 Endocrinology. 2017;5(12).
10.Saedi S, Noroozi M, Khosrotabar N et al. How canola and sunflower oils affect lipid profile and antrhopometric parameters of participants with dyslipidemia. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017;31(5).
11.CVUA Stuttgart Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt Stuttgart. 3-MCPD-Ester in raffinierten Speisefetten und Speiseölen - ein neu erkanntes, weltweites Problem. 2007
12.Biesalski HK, Bischoff SC, Pirlich M et al. Ernährungsmedizin. 5. Auflage. Thieme: Stuttgart, New York. 2018.
13.Jirzik K. Trans-Fettsäuren in Feinen Backwaren und Margarinen. Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit. Berichte zur Lebensmittelsicherheit 2014 - Bundesweiter Überwachungsplan 2014. Berlin. 2016.
14.WHO Weltgesundheitsorganisation. Europa führend in der Eliminierung von Transfettsäuren. Kopenhagen. 2014.
15.Pahlow M. Das grosse Buch der Heilpflanzen. Gesund durch die Heilkräfte der Natur. Nikol: Hamburg. 2013.
16.Brücher H. Tropische Nutzpflanzen. Ursprung, Evolution und Domestikation. Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, New York. 1977
17.USDA United States Department of Agriculture. Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade. 2019.
18.Schilling E. Helianthus Linnaeus. Helianthus annuus. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford University Press: New York, Oxford. 2006;21.
19.Kaltschmitt M et al. Energie aus Biomasse. Grundlagen, Techniken und Verfahren. Springer: Berlin. 2009.
20.Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz. Deutsches Lebensmittelbuch - Leitsätze für Speisefette und Speiseöle. 2008
21.Wikipedia High-Oleic-Sonnenblumen.
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