Sunflower seeds and sunflower oils have been shown to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease as well as have potential beneficial effects on obesity, bone health, and blood pressure. However, their high protein and fat content mean they can have a short shelflife. A study published in the Journal of Food Science shows that the addition of oregano essential oils to sunflower seeds may help preserve their positive sensory attributes and freshness quality.
The researchers prepared four samples: plain roasted sunflower seeds (control) and sunflower seeds added with oregano or poleo essential oils or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). The addition of BHT showed the greatest protection against the oxidation process in the roasted sunflower seeds. Oregano essential oil exhibited a greater antioxidant effect during storage than poleo essential oil. Both essential oils (oregano and poleo) provided protection to the product, inhibiting the formation of undesirable flavors (oxidized and cardboard).
The researchers concluded that the addition of oregano and poleo essential oils preserved the intensity ratings of positive sensory attributes and quality parameter in roasted sunflower seeds during storage. The addition of these essential oils should be considered for the food industry as a natural source of antioxidant additives for preserving quality properties in this food product and, also, in food with high fat content.