Packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and omega 3’s, sunflower seeds fulfill many nutritional needs. Delicious and easy to find, adding sunflower seeds to your diet adds crucial essential fats and micronutrients. Eating sunflower seeds daily can help improve digestion, lowers blood pressure, and calms anxiety.
Sunflower seeds come from the Helianthus annuus, or common sunflower, plant. The hulls are black or striped. When they are dehulled, sunflower seeds can be eaten as a delicious snack.
Eat them on their own, bake them into bread, make them into sunflower butter or cereals or sprinkle them on top of salads to get the health benefits.
Sunflowers are unique in that the whole plant can be used. They are very easily cultivated, and sunflower seeds might just be considered nature’s perfect food.
Small yet Mighty
A 1 oz. serving provides the body with B-group vitamins, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, iron, potassium and copper. Each serving has 164 calories, making them a powerful snack full of healthy energy. It also has 2.5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, which is about 10% of your body’s daily requirements.
Sunflower seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain functioning. Omega 3’s help keep the heart healthy and reduce overall inflammation in the body. This nutrient helps smooth skin and hair as well as many other vital processes in the body.
Whole Body Health
By eating sunflower seeds every day, you supplement your diet with a healthy snack that replaces sugary snacks and adds powerful vitamins and nutrients. Plant-based nutrition is the foundation for an overall healthy lifestyle, and sunflower seeds are a healthy food that can fight disease and is available virtually everywhere.
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The vitamin E content can help reduce asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. One 30 gram serving has more than ¼ of your body’s daily vitamin E needs. The magnesium is shown to help migraines, asthma attacks, reduces the risk of heart attacks and lowers blood pressure.
Rich in Selenium
Sunflower seeds have relatively high amounts of selenium. This nutrient helps to fight against free radicals. These are caused by environmental factors such as stress, alcohol or smoking, and can damage cells. Fighting free radicals protects cells from damage.
High levels of selenium in the blood are shown to protect against cancers like breast cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and gastric cancer.
Pressing sunflower seeds yields a healthy oil that is great for cooking or use on its own in a variety of ways. It is a popular choice because of its high polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acid content. Sunflower oil contains linoleic acid, which can decrease with age or use of powerful cleansers.
According to the Chemistry Central Journal, sunflower seeds have tocopherols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. These are important for full body health and well being.
Eating antioxidants can help improve your immune system. One ounce has 5.6 grams of carbs and has a low glycemic index.
Sunflower seeds are an excellent choice for people who are allergic to nuts because they are seeds.
Caution should be taken when eating sunflower seeds, as they may contain cadmium, however, you would have to consistently eat high amounts. Studies have shown that even consuming 9 servings (9oz [255g]) a week of sunflower seeds for 48 weeks showed no adverse effects. However, one serving a day adds powerful nutrients to your diet.
They contain low levels of saturated fats, and the complex carbs help the body to properly metabolize the fats. In 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, the fat content measures about 18 grams.
Sunflower seeds help you to feel fuller for longer and can help with a healthy lifestyle.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, this is the nutritional content of 1 oz of sunflower seeds
- 6 g of carbohydrates
- 4 g of fiber (10% RDI)
- 7 mg omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 mg vitamin E (47% RDI)
- 4 mg vitamin B6 (19% RDI)
- 6 mcg folate (16% RDI)
- 5 mg copper (25% RDI)
- 5 mg manganese (27% RDI)
- 91 mg magnesium (23% RDI)
- 5 mg iron (8% RDI)
Many health professionals advise nuts and seeds as part of a healthy diet. A study conducted on postmenopausal women showed that women who supplemented their diet with sunflower seeds had reduced risks of cardiovascular disease. The mineral content can also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke or coronary heart disease. The amino acids are shown to act to relieve hypertension.
The trace minerals in sunflower seeds can strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Sunflower seed extracts are used to help prevent inflammatory bone disease and to enhance bone formation.
The fiber content in sunflower seeds is high, with each one-ounce serving providing 10% of your daily needs. This can help everything from reducing cholesterol to keeping you regular.
Magnesium and Anxiety Reduction
Eating sunflower seeds can help in getting a better night’s sleep. Magnesium deficiency is common in the Western diet, and having a diet high in magnesium has been shown to be helpful for the management of stress and anxiety. In elderly individuals, increasing magnesium levels has also been shown to help prevent disrupted sleep.
There are many micronutrients and health benefits to making a small change and adding sunflower seeds to a diet. Whether you’d like to manage symptoms or enhance overall health, sunflower seeds can really help to do that.
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- Cai, Xianlei et al. “Selenium Exposure and Cancer Risk: an Updated Meta-analysis and Meta-regression” Scientific reports vol. 6 19213. 20 Jan. 2016, doi:10.1038/srep19213
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