Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some facts about Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a very commonly used type of oil in our daily cooking, just how much we know about Sunflower oil?

The main producers of Sunflower oil are from Argentina and European Union, 50% of the world’s productions are come from these two areas.

The usages of Sunflower seeds depend highly on their quality. Those with high oil content are used to process into cooking oil. The lower grade ones are the food for birds. Sunflower seeds oil also used in cosmetics products too.

Sunflower oil is pretty stable and able to sustain to high heat, it is well liked by food industries, especially by potatoes chips and snacks food manufacturers.

These are some of the characterisctics of Sunflower oil:

1. It has a very mild taste;
2. Contain high vitamin E and low in saturated fat, a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats;
3. The smoke point is high (able to sustain under high heat);
4. Suitable for deep frying and pan frying;
5. Longer shelf lives as compared to other vegetable oil;

There are the two common types of Sunflower oil being sold in the markets, it depends highly on the genetic and climate of the place where they are produced, check on the labeling before decide which type to buy :

a. High linoleic acid (high in polyunsaturated fat) – Omega 6, low oleic – Omega 9;
b. High oleic (high in monounsaturated fat) , low linoleic.

Generally, high oleic is ideal to keep a good ratio of Omega 6 : Omega 3 in our body. High oleic or mid oleic possess the properties of lowering the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Researches suggested that a high consumption of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some findings on Flax seed or linseed

picture from wikipedia

Flax seed oil is known to be one of the best oil among many other oil. Human has been consuming flax seed since 7000 year ago, it was one of the health products in the ancient times.

Here are some findings about of Flax seed.

Flax seed is very tiny and hard, it is either yellow and dark brown in colour, both types of Flax seeds contains more or less the same nutrients. A whole flax seed can not be digested by our human body, it will be discarded out in one whole piece after we consumed it.

To ripe the nutrition from the flax seed, we will have to consume it in powder form or oil. Flax seed powder can sustain high heat, suitable for baking bread and biscuits while flax seed oil is very unstable, it is easily oxidized and has to be stored in non transparent bottle (usually in dark bottle) and place in the fridge, therefore, Flax seed oil is highly unsuitable for cooking. The best way to consume Flax seed oil is to add into salad and sandwiches, or eat together with yogurt or smoothies. I usually spread over bread or mix with plain yogurt.

Flax seed has higher contain of lignan as compared to wheat bran, buckwheat, rye, and oats. Lignan is a type of phytoestrogen. Lignan possesses anti-fungus and anti bacteria properties, is a good source of anti cancer agent to fight against breast cancer, colon cancer as well as lowering blood pressure.

Flax seed oil does not contain any lignan. However, it provides good source of omega 3. 1.5 teaspoons a day of flax seed oil is sufficient for our daily need.

Pregnant women are discouraged to consume Flax seed because of its phytoestrogen content which interferes the body’s hormone. In order to obtain omega 3, fish oil is a better choice for pregnant women.

Besides making bread and biscuits, Flax seed powder can also be added to fruits yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, it is more versatile as compared to Flax seed oil. The shelf life is much longer too.


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