Americans know it’s important to exercise, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight, but heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and prevention. This year, the National Sunflower Association is joining those efforts, by spreading the word about the health benefits of sunflower oil.
“Sunflower oil has many health benefits. For one, sunflower oil produced in the United States is naturally trans fat-free. We think that’s a pretty big deal,” says John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association. “We’ve worked with researchers at Penn State University who have discovered sunflower oil is actually even better for you than olive oil.”
That Penn State study compared NuSun sunflower oil to the average American diet and to an olive oil diet. According to the study, substituting two tablespoons of NuSun sunflower oil daily in place of saturated fat lowered cholesterol more significantly than did olive oil. In addition, the NuSun diet may have lowered total and bad LDL cholesterol levels more than the olive oil diet because NuSun sunflower oil is higher in polyunsaturated fat.
Sunflower oil is low in saturated fat – too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol levels to rise, and that can lead to heart disease.
“Obviously, using sunflower oil isn’t the only way to reduce your risk of heart disease, but it is a step worth taking,” says Sandbakken. “Try using sunflower oil instead of olive oil, or vegetable oil, or whatever you’re currently using. We think you’ll like it, and your heart will too.”
Sunflower oil is available at most major retail stores. For more on the health benefits of sunflower oil visit www.sunflowernsa.com