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Mustard Oil vs Sunflower Oil: Which is Better?

Both sunflower oil and mustard oil are the mainstays of Indian cooking. Each cooking oil has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, how does one go about differentiating between the two?

Aarushi Chadha
Sunflower oil is a cooking oil that is pressed from the seeds of the sunflower.
Sunflower oil is a cooking oil that is pressed from the seeds of the sunflower.

When choosing a cooking oil, most housemakers have several things to consider. For instance, the cost, taste, availability, and price. In India, home cooks prefer using traditional oils such as mustard oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil because they have smoking points and add a unique flavor to the dish.

Now, let’s take a look at the major differences between two of the most important cooking oils- mustard oil and sunflower oil.

What is mustard oil? Vs What is sunflower oil?

Mustard oil- Mustard oil is an oil that is made from pressed mustard seeds. It has a distinctive pungent smell and is extremely rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mustard oil is widely used for cooking in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Nepal. However, the sale of mustard oil is also banned in several countries because of high levels of erucic acid, which can have toxic effects on the heart when consumed in high doses.

Sunflower oil- Sunflower oil is a cooking oil that is pressed from the seeds of the sunflower. It is rich in polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. It also contains a large amount of vitamin E. Ukraine and Russia account for over 50% of the world’s production of sunflower oil. However, ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there has been a global shortage.

Nutritional profile of mustard oil Vs Nutritional profile of sunflower oil

Mustard oil- 100 grams of mustard oil has at least 900 calories, and 12 grams of saturated fat. 60 grams of monounsaturated fatty acid, 21 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acid, 15 grams of linoleic acid, and 6 grams of gamma linoleic acid. Mustard oil is devoid of any protein, carbohydrate, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Sunflower oil- 100 grams of sunflower oil has at least 900 calories, 7 grams of saturated fats, 321 mcg of vitamin K and 90 mcg of vitamin A. Sunflower does not contain any protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and sodium. Depending upon the type of sunflower oil used, sunflower oil has 3 to 11 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids and 0.5 to 9 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Health benefits of mustard oil Vs Health benefits of sunflower oil

Mustard oil- Mustard oil has several benefits for our skin, hair, and overall health. Mustard oil boosts blood circulation which improves the functioning of different organs by providing oxygenated blood to them. It promotes the secretion of gastric juices and bile and even impacts the peristalsis in the intestines for better and more regular bowel movements.

Mustard oil has anti-bacterial properties which help fight internal and external bacterial infections. Mustard oil as a skin topical repels insects and prevents mosquito bites. It is also used as a hair topical to stimulate blood circulation which promotes hair growth. There are some studies that also suggest that mustard oil whitens teeth and keeps the gums healthy.

Sunflower oil- Like mustard oil, sunflower oil has many health benefits. For instance, it is rich in monounsaturated acids which help control cholesterol levels and promote cardiovascular health. When applied to the skin, sunflower oil improves hydration, moisturizes skin, prevents acne, and even protects the skin against the hazardous effects of UV radiation.

Sunflower oil is rich in tocopherol, a chemical compound that improves hair health and treats problems such as baldness and excessive hair fall. There are some studies that show that magnesium present in sunflower oil helps regulate mood, aids weight loss, and improves digestion significantly. 

Negative impact of mustard oil Vs Negative impact of sunflower oil  

Mustard oil- Like most foods, mustard oil should also be consumed in moderation. Excessive and regular consumption of mustard oil can lead to erucic acid toxicity which leads to cardiovascular diseases, diarrhoea, anemia, and respiratory issues. Mustard oil can irritate the lining of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract because of a chemical compound known as allyl isothiocyanate.

Sunflower oil- Some varieties of sunflower oil when heated to higher temperatures over time can release toxic compounds which can contribute to inflammation in the body. The high content of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to weight gain. Excessive use of sunflower oil is also linked with a spike in blood sugar levels. 

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