Health-conscious households have long used extra virgin olive oil for meal flavoring and salad dressings. It offers numerous benefits, such as improving heart health and blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke, and increasing brain function. Additionally, it is delicious. However, in recent years, prices have significantly increased, reaching 20-25 EUR per liter. Many manufacturers have been forced to lower the quality of their oil to compensate for the increased price of olives. This has raised concerns among customers, and better alternatives have started to appear on store shelves.
One of the fastest growing alternatives to olive oil is cold-pressed sunflower oil. Its nutritional profile is just as impressive as that of olive oil and offers the same health benefits, but at a much lower price. In most European countries, the price of cold-pressed sunflower oil is 3 to 4 times lower than that of classic olive oil. This is mainly due to the wide availability and low cost of sunflower seeds combined with the simplicity of production.
What exactly is Cold-Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil?
Cold-pressed sunflower seed oil is extracted from sunflower seeds through a process called cold pressing. Similar to olive oil, this process involves mechanical pressing without the use of heat or chemicals to preserve the oil’s natural flavors and nutrients. The resulting unrefined oil is pure, unadulterated, and has a distinct, mild flavor. It is important that the seeds are peeled, otherwise the sloop will contaminate the oil and reduce its quality. Refined versions undergo additional processing, leaving them with a lighter color and milder flavor, and are used primarily for high-heat cooking and frying.
Is cold-pressed sunflower seed oil good for you?
Since no heat is used in the extraction process, all the good vitamins, minerals and omega fats are preserved. These include vitamins A, D and E, zinc, and omega 3, 6 and 9. It is an antioxidant that supports skin health and boosts the immune system. In fact, cold-pressed sunflower oil has more nutritional benefits than olive oil.