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Olive oil and sunflower oil … which is better for health?

Olive oil and sunflower oil are favorite oils for many people, but what are the differences between them? Which is better for frying and cooking? Are they both healthy?

In this report, published by the Spanish magazine CuidatePlus, writer Maria Lagoa says that olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is healthier and should be the first choice for cooking and above all for frying, according to experts.

Olive oil and sunflower oil are both vegetable fats, but there are some differences between them. Ramon Estroch, an expert in nutrition and in the pathophysiology of obesity, explained that “olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, mainly oleic acid), while sunflower oil contains polyunsaturated fatty. acids), but both have protective health effects.

The author stated that the combination of monounsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic acid, have preventive health benefits against cardiovascular disease when they replace saturated fats, which was confirmed by the US Food and Drug Administration.

As for the polyunsaturated fatty acids, the most important of which are “alpha-linolenic acid” (from omega-3 acids) and “linoleic acid” (from the omega-6 acids), they are useful for blood pressure or lipid level and inflammation. Sunflower oil also contains a high percentage of vitamin “E”, an antioxidant.


Researchers Ramon Estroch and Monica Polo confirm that when choosing olive oil as the best for health, regardless of its health effects thanks to the monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, it contains other secondary compounds, especially “polyphenol”, which gives it a greater protective effect. Especially when it comes to cardiovascular health. ” Polyphenols also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Despite the fact that the low cost of sunflower oil increases its consumption, olive oil is one of the most important components of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is distinguished by its green color, especially the extra virgin and virgin varieties, and sometimes it is very thick and bitter. In contrast, the color of sunflower oil is more yellowish, and its flavor is more moderate.

Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and its complications (myocardial infarction and stroke), obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even some types of cancers such as breast, colon and prostate cancer.

Digestive problems

For its part, the German Society for Nutrition confirms that olive oil is of great importance for health, as it protects against heart disease, helps to lose weight and solves digestive problems.

The association explained that olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that reduce cholesterol level, and that it is rich in “oleuropein”, which has an antioxidant effect, and thus protects against heart attacks.

The German Society says that thanks to olive oil’s high content of phenols and unsaturated fatty acids, it works to stimulate the fat burning process, and thus lose weight and enjoy fitness.

In addition, olive oil is a natural lubricant that helps transport food through the large intestine, thus stimulating the digestive process.

Studies indicate that consuming olive oil may prevent colon and breast cancer, and it may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, thanks to its ability to lower blood pressure and harmful cholesterol (LDL).

Although most of the research has been conducted on the oil, consuming olives as a fruit may provide health benefits as well.

Extra virgin olive oil

Researchers Ramon Estroch and Monica Polo recommend consuming extra virgin olive oil, whether raw or in cooking. For frying, Estroch recommends using an oil that is as stable as possible, so you should choose the oil with the highest smoking point (i.e. the temperature at which the oil begins to evaporate), which means that the best oil for frying is extra virgin olive oil.

In contrast, oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as sunflower oil are not very resistant to temperature, so if you choose sunflower, experts advise using an oil that contains a high level of oleic.

Sunflower oil can be considered a healthy choice as well. “Although the price of sunflower oil is low compared to olive oil, I tend to use oil that contains a high percentage of oleic in this case,” says Monica Polo. In the case of sunflower oil, oleic acid is present at approximately the same levels as olive oil.

How do you know extra virgin olive oil?

Regarding the differences between extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, and refined olive oil, the former is pure olive juice extracted from good fruits by mechanical means, and it contains all the chemical compounds that give it some sensory qualities.

To identify extra virgin oil, it is essential to taste because there is still no laboratory technology capable of measuring all aromas and flavors.

When fresh oil has “some defects,” it is classified as virgin olive oil. As for low-quality olive oil, it is subjected to a high-temperature refining system.

In contrast, common olive oil is the product of mixing refined olive oil and virgin olive oil.

Source : German + Spanish press + websites

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