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 shelf-life. A study in the Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) showed that the addition of oregano essential oils to sunflower seeds preserved their positive sensory attributes and freshness quality.
The addition of natural additives instead of synthetic ones covers the present trend in the food industry aimed at increasing consumer demand. The oregano oil helps to stop lipid oxidation in the roasted seeds, delaying the development of rancid flavors. In addition to preserving the quality of sunflower seeds, oregano oil also can have positive affect human health by helping to relieve gastrointestinal disorders.
The roasted sunflower seeds with the addition of oregano oil were also positively accepted by consumers. Authors conclude that the addition of these essential oils should be considered by the food industry as a natural source of antioxidant additives for preserving the shelf-life of sunflower seeds.