Sunflower oil has become very popular over the past few years as a substitute for other cooking oils because of its healthy properties. It also has a neutral taste, which means that unlike some other cooking oils, like olive oil, it won't add any flavor to what you're cooking. There are three basic types of sunflower oil: high linoleic acid, high oleic and mid oleic. These types refer to the linoleic and oleic acid content of the particular oil. The high linoleic type is what is normally used for cooking.
What Makes Sunflower Oil Healthy
Medical science has been telling us for quite some time that we need to cut down on the amount of saturated fat while increasing our intake of polyunsaturated fats, which are essential to a healthy body. Sunflower oil has 10 grams of saturated fat, which is much lower than other cooking oils, and 66 grams polyunsaturated fat, which is significantly higher than the other oils. These numbers mean sunflower oil is a very healthy cooking oil. It's also very high in Vitamin E, which benefits your skin and hair, among other things.
Use as a Replacement in Recipes
Due to the fact that it has neutral taste properties, sunflower oil is an excellent substitute for lard, shortening and regular cooking oil in all of your recipes. The replacement is a one to one ratio. If the recipe you're making calls for one tablespoon of cooking oil, you will use one tablespoon of sunflower oil. The only types of recipes that you really wouldn't want to replace the oil called for are Italian foods, where the oil of choice is olive oil, mostly because the olive oil will impart flavor to the food. However, if you shop carefully you can find varieties of olive oil that are a combination of sunflower oil and olive oil. This combination means you will still receive the flavor benefits of olive oil, while also receiving the nutritional and health benefits of sunflower oil.
Most recipes for muffins, cookies and other breads want you to grease the baking or cookie pan with shortening or butter. This is expensive as far as your health is concerned. You can use sunflower oil instead by pouring a small amount of it on the pans you're going to be baking with and using a clean napkin or paper towel to spread the oil, coating the whole pan.
Use Instead of Shortening When Frying
Whether deep frying or pan frying, you can skip adding all of the fats that are detrimental to a healthy diet and weight loss by using sunflower oil instead of shortening or lard. The mass produced food industry is converting to sunflower oil because of the fact that it is more stable at the higher temperatures required in mass frying of food items, such as potato chips, and also because of the dietary benefits of the oil.
Sunflower oil may be a little more expensive than other oils or shortening, but the dietary and nutritional benefits of using it instead of other oils outweighs the slight difference in price.