Difference between Sunflower Oil and Olive Oil

Key difference: Sunflower and Olive oils are best known vegetable cooking oil types. The major difference lies in their origin; i.e. sunflower oil is obtained from the crushed sunflower seeds, while olive oil is obtained from crushed olives.

Nowadays there are varieties of oils and their types available in the grocery and markets, out of which the more flourishing are the sunflower and olive oils. Sunflower oil is more common in usages in day to day life as compared to that of the olive oil. Both, the oils have importance according to their contents and components.

Sunflower oil is obtained by extracting oil from the sunflower seeds. It is a type of non-volatile oil which is usually used in varieties of cooking techniques like frying, roasting and deep frying. Along with cooking applications, this oil also has numerous advantages over the skin, and hence it is used in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. The oil was first produced industrially in the Russian Empire in 1835. It is a monounsaturated (MUFA)/polyunsaturated (PUFA) mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils. The oil also contains a considerable amount of vitamin E, sterols, squalene, and other aliphatic hydrocarbons, terpene and methyl ketones (chiefly methyl nonyl ketone). Also, it is known to be one among the most commonly used oils in cooking.

Sunflower oil is composed of following constituents:

  • Palmitic acid (saturated): 4–9%
  • Stearic acid (saturated): 1–7%
  • Oleic acid (monounsaturated omega-9): 14–40%
  • Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated omega-6): 48–74%

Olive oil is a fat produced from the olive seeds. The olive tree crops traditionally belonged to the Mediterranean Basin. Olive oils are known for their health effects and advice in the food science; they are used in cooking and are advised by dieticians in the health tips. They are applicable in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as fuel for traditional oil lamps. There are of variety of forms and types that differ according to the olive and its nature, each with a particular flavor and texture. Olive oils are categorized according to their grades, they are: Virgin: means the oil was produced by the use of mechanical means only, with no chemical treatment. Lampante oil: olive oil extracted by virgin (mechanical) methods but not suitable as food; lampante is Italian for "lamp". Refined oil: means the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids).

Olive oil consists of following fat compositions:

Saturated fats:    

  • Palmitic acid: 7.5–20.0%
  • Stearic acid: 0.5–5.0%
  • Arachidic acid: <0.6%
  • Behenic acid: <0.3%
  • Myristic acid: <0.05%
  • Lignoceric acid: <0.2%

Unsaturated fats:         

  • Monounsaturated   Oleic acid: 55.0–83.0%
  • Palmitoleic acid: 0.3–3.5%
  • Polyunsaturated     Linoleic acid: 3.5–21.0 %
  • α-Linolenic acid: <1.0%

Both, sunflower and olive oil have basic similarities, i.e. they are used in skin and cardiovascular treatments. Olive oil contains less fat as compared to that of the sunflower oil; hence it is more preferred by the health conscious people. While, sunflower oil boasts high vitamin E content, Olive Oil, on the other hand, is rich in chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E contents. They are composed of different types and are categorized accordingly; hence they are advised by the physicians and dieticians according to the type of health problems an individual deals with.

Comparison between Sunflower Oil and Olive Oil:


Sunflower Oil

Olive Oil

Obtained from

Crushed Sunflower seeds.

Crushed Olive seeds.

History and origin


Mediterranean Basin

Scientific origins

Helianthus annuus

the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae

Types and Standards of Oils

  • High Linoleic
  • High Oleic 
  • Mid Oleic
  • Extra-virgin olive
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Refined olive oil
  • Olive Pomace oil

Major effective in

Sunflower oil also helps in skin and its treatments; it helps to retain its moisture. Along with the skin treatment it also helps in the cardiovascular problems of the body.

Olive oil is known for its diabetic treatments, as it can control the blood sugar levels and lower the triglyceride level which causes risk of heart disease.


Sunflower oil acts as an antioxidant since it is rich in Vitamin E.

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E.

Health benefits

  • Cardiovascular Benefits
  • Prevents Arthritis
  • Prevention of Asthma and Colon Cancer
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Prevention of Other Cancers
  • Fights Free Radicals
  • Reduction of Cardiac Problems
  • Healthy Nervous System
  • Prevention of Infant Infection
  • Maintenance of Healthy Immune System
  • Repairs the Body
  • Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
  • Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil protects against Alzheimer's Disease
  • Helps Prevent Acute Pancreatitis
  • Protects the Liver
  • Protects from Ulcerative Colitis
  • Helps Prevent Stroke


Image Courtesy: seedoilpress.com, wallpapersat.com

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