Sunflower seeds are from sunflower fruit, and there are three types – linoleic, high oleic, and Nusun. Striped sunflower seeds are used for food and called as confectionery seeds. Each sunflower head may have many numbers of seeds. The seeds contain rich sources of vitamins, minerals, energy, protein, and essential fatty acids. It is used as a snack in a salad, eaten plain or added with pickle and bacon. It is also used along with other foods considering the fact that it is very healthy.
Let us see the benefits one by one:
Nuts and seeds always help to maintain good health.
- Sunflower seeds contain essential nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin B-1, copper, iron, healthy fats, and magnesium.
- Vitamin E supports healthy circulation by helping you make red blood cells.
- Vitamin B-1 helps you derive energy from food and produce nucleic acids.
- Copper content helps benefit your skin and hair and also supports your metabolism to help your cells produce energy.
- Sunflower seeds are rich in calcium, vitamin E, copper, and magnesium which are essential nutrients for strong bones.
- Magnesium is stored on the surface of the bones and helps aid in the improvement of bone strength. It gives proper physical structure and it is contained in high amounts in sunflower seeds.
- Copper is essential for the proper functioning of the enzymes and these enzymes keeps bone flexible and strong.
- Vitamin E aids in easing bone and joint pains.
Sunflower seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E. Deficiency of vitamin E leads to decreased mental function and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline.
“A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown that those who consumed foods rich in Vitamin E, averaging only 11.4 IU per day, had a 67% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who consumed about half that amount. Interestingly, Vitamin E from supplements was not associated with risk reduction. By the way, the RDA of vitamin E is 22 IU per day”.
It is always better and good to get nutrients through natural foods. Add sunflower seeds to your salads, stir-fried veggies, and any of your favorite dishes.
Vitamin E lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. Sunflower seeds protect cells from the damaging effects of radical cells. Free radicals damage cells and may create cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Cholesterols when undergoing an oxidation reaction clings to the inner walls of the blood cells causing heart attack and stroke.
“Italian researchers pooled data from 16 randomized controlled trials to investigate if vitamin E or in combination with other antioxidants had an impact on a heart attack. Data showed that when vitamin E was given alone, the risk of myocardial infarction was reduced by 20%, with the effect mostly driven by fatal myocardial infarction, said the researchers”.
Sunflower seeds are rich in selenium. Selenium plays an important role in protecting the human body against cancer. Selenium is actually a powerful mineral most important one for human health. Vitamin E, selenium, and copper, all three have antioxidant properties that help suppress and prevents cell damages that often leads to cancer. Sunflower seed also contains phytosterol anti-cancer compounds.
“Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Feb;51(2):161-70 found that a diet rich in phytochemicals can significantly reduce cancer risk by as much as 20%”.
“Epidemiological data suggest that the phytosterol content of the diet is associated with a reduction in common cancers including cancers of the colon, breast, and prostate”.
Also phytosterol has the power to slow down tumour growth and tumour metastasis.
- Sunflower seed contains copper, vitamin E, linoleic acid. After zinc and iron, copper is the third most important element for skin protection. The daily intake of copper may vary from person to person but the suggested intake is 0.9 to 1.3 mg/day for adults.
- Copper produces a pigment that will protect our skin from suntan.
- Vitamin E prevents our skin from wrinkles, fine lines, and signs of aging.
- Linoleic acid acts as a good moisturizer.
- The sunflower seed and its oil – both help in hair growth.
- Sunflower seed contains zinc, vitamin E, Omega 6 fatty acid, copper, and vitamin B6.
- All these nutrients are important for hair growth and to prevent hair loss.
- Zinc reduces hair loss and vitamin E increases blood circulation to the scalp. Omega 6 fatty acid prevents hair thinning and vitamin B6 supplies oxygen to the scalp.
Sunflower seeds are effective in controlling and keeping the cholesterol levels down. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are bad cholesterol and you can control it with phytosterols. The content of phytosterols in sunflower seeds helps battle against LDL cholesterol and its absorption into the bloodstream. When you consume more phytosterols, then there is less chance of getting high cholesterol.
Many assume that nuts and seeds are high in fat and it is difficult to digest but you may not know that sunflower seeds actually help indigestion. Every 100 grams of sunflower seeds contains 8.6 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber is important in helping your digestive system run smoothly. Men under 50 years need 38 grams of dietary fiber and women under 50 years to need 25 grams daily.
Calms your nerves
Eating sunflower seeds helps you feel calm and relax. It contains 28% magnesium that plays a vital role in keeping the nervous system healthy. If you make it a habit of eating sunflower seeds on a regular basis then you will have fewer chances of getting high blood pressure. In addition, you can prevent strokes, muscle spasms, cramps, fatigue, heart attacks, and migraines. It is a natural boost for people suffering from depression and stress.
- Overdose of vitamin E and selenium can cause men to be more susceptible to prostate cancer.
- The fat content of seeds may lead to overweight.
- Recommended consumption is a maximum of 3 tablespoons per day.
Casper, D. P., Sachingoethe, D. J., Middaugh, R. P. & Baer, R. J., 1988. Lactational Responses of Dairy Cows to Diets Containing Regular and High Oleic Acid Sunflower Seeds. Journal of Dairy Science, 71(5), pp. 1267-1274.
Chaudhuri, D. A. & Behan, P. O., 2004. Fatigue in neurological disorders. THE LANCET, 363(9413), pp. 978-988.
Innes, J. K. & Calder, P. C., 2018. Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, Volume 132, pp. 41-48.
L., C., 1939. Vitamin B1 content and autineuritic value. 1. Study of sunflower seeds. Bollenttino della Societa Italiana di Biologia Sperimentale, Volume 14, pp. 484-486.
Wang, Y. & Lobstein, T., 2005. Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 1(1), pp. 11-25.