Sunflower Seeds: Nutrition, Benefits & Ways to Consume
Many varieties of seeds have been a significant part of different cuisines across the globe. They are mostly found in desserts or smoothies and can help enhance the overall taste. All edible seeds are packed with many health-benefiting properties that make them a vital ingredient to being added to regular meals.
Helianthus Annuus, popularly known as Sunflower, gets its name from its round-shaped flowering head, resembling the sun. It originated in North America and is now one of the most common crops grown in the world annually.
The sunflower seed has a flat, oval shape with a blackish color. It is the fruit of the sunflower, which can either come dehulled or as a whole with the hull. Sunflower seeds are often toasted and salted and are available in a variety of flavors like black-pepper, sweet and salty, cinnamon flavor, and more. These seeds are primarily famous for their high nutrient content and distinct nutty taste.
Table of Contents
Sunflower seeds are packed with high nutritive value. According to research, some of the primary nutrients in 1 ounce (30 grams or ¼ cup) of shelled, dry-roasted sunflower seeds are:
Here is how these minerals and vitamins help overall health.
Health Benefits of Sunflower seeds
There are multiple benefits of eating sunflower seeds. Mentioned below are some of the reasons as to why it should be incorporated in your diet.
Improves heart health
Four tablespoons of sunflower seeds may contain up to 14 g of fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate which is non-digestible and is available in either soluble or insoluble form. Sunflower seeds consist of soluble fiber that ich can help lower cholesterol and control blood pressure. The fiber present in sunflower seeds traps the bile salts in the small intestines and then discharges them. This entire process helps reduce bad cholesterol in the body that would otherwise be used to make more bile salts. Lowering cholesterol levels can decrease overall blood pressure, clean your arteries, and promote overall heart health by controlling factors leading to heart risks.
Helps boost immunity
Sunflower seeds are packed with rich Vitamin E content, which is vital for building and strengthening the immune system. According to a recent study, Vitamin E enhances the functioning of T-cells by reducing the production of factors that suppress the T-cells. T-cells act like antibodies of the immune system. They search and destroy the infected and cancerous cells in the body. They can also help trigger more significant immune responses.
Improves bone density
Sunflower is high in phosphorus content, which helps build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus works with calcium to maximize the bone-building potential of calcium. Sunflower seeds also consist of copper, which along with iron, helps in the formation of red blood cells and works with manganese to improve bone mineral density. The inclusion of an adequate amount of phosphorus in your diet may help maintain your overall bone mineral density.
Helps lower harmful cholesterol levels
Sunflower seeds are one of the highest sources of phytosterols. Owing to their structure, phytosterols help lower “bad” cholesterol (or LDL levels) in the body. Their structure is similar to that of the body’s cholesterol, and therefore they compete with cholesterol for gut absorption. This, in turn, helps lower the bad cholesterol in the blood.
Aids in controlling blood sugar
Sunflower seeds consist of complex carbohydrates. The body takes longer to digest complex carbohydrates, which helps regulate the blood sugar levels. Therefore, including sunflower seeds in your meals can help initiate a steady increase in the levels rather than an instant spike. This is important for people who have diabetes who are trying to control their blood sugar spikes. A lesser rise in blood sugar would mean lesser use of insulin.
Prevents the onset of chronic diseases
A powerful antioxidant called selenium is found in high quantities in sunflower seeds. Selenium helps fight oxidative stress in your body which is caused due to an imbalance of oxidant and antioxidant levels. Prevention of oxidative stress in the body, in turn, helps prevent the onset of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, asthma, and more.
Supports muscle contraction
Sunflower seeds are high in pantothenic acid, also known as Vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid is an essential vitamin for the body as it is involved with the synthesis of Coenzyme A. Coenzyme A is essential for the synthesis and breakdown of fatty acids in the body. The presence of Coenzyme A is the reason why muscles in the body can contract.
Quick & easy serving ideas
Below mentioned are some quick ways on how to eat sunflower seeds.
- Sunflower seeds can be consumed raw, as a snack.
- They can be used as a sprinkle on cereals, hot or cold.
- Sunflower seed sprouts can be mixed with salads and sandwiches, as sprouting seeds increases the amount of protein and essential amino acids available. It makes them an essential plant-based protein and effective addition to salads and sandwiches.
- They can be added to pancakes or porridge.
- Adding sunflower seeds to scrambled eggs will enhance the flavor and texture of the eggs.
- Add them to your trail mixes and smoothies.
- They can be added to multigrain bread and nutrition bars.
If you are looking for a healthy snack ingredient, then dive into a handful of these mild, nutty-flavored sunflower seeds. With the ability to satiate your hunger, it comes with a host of nutrients and benefits to the body. By now, it is clear that there are several sunflower seed benefits. These seeds are available at local markets and on various eCommerce sites throughout the year. Himalayan Natives Sunflower Seeds are 100% natural and free from chemicals and artificial flavors. It is naturally harvested and is GMO and pesticide-free. Try them out for a healthier lifestyle! If you are prone to allergies, please consume these seeds only after consulting a doctor.