Want to snack on superfood?
You can choose sunflower seeds. Yes! Sunflower seeds are one of the healthiest superfood to snack on.
Sunflower seeds in available from sunflower gray or black seeds. The inner part of the skin contains the flesh that is loaded with essential nutrients that are sometimes hard to get one place.
These seeds are used to extract oil at commercial levels. Oil extracted from the seeds are also healthy.
The seeds are popular snacks and are also used in the kitchen to prepare many recipes.
Apart from it varieties of uses in cooking, it is termed as the excellent source of nutrients according to Food Rating System.
Dried sunflower seeds 1/4 cup serving
- Vitamin E: 82% of RDA
- Copper: 70% of RDA
- Vitamin B1: 43% of RDA
- Manganese: 34% of RDA
- Selenium: 34% of RDA
- Phosphorus: 23% of RDA
- Magnesium: 28% of RDA
- Vitamin B6: 28% of RDA
- Folate: 20% of RDA
- Vitamin B3: 18% of RDA
That’s a lot of nutrients in a 1/4 cup of seeds. So you can incorporate sunflower seeds in your snacks.
Due to its abundant nutrients content, it provides lots of benefits which you should know before eating.
1. Heart Health
Sunflower seeds is a heart friendly foods with essentials nutrients required for heart health.
It provides varied benefits from protecting, nourishing and healing. These 3 properties prove sunflower as most preferred for heart health.
Oxidative stress constantly occurs inside our body. It a natural process and we can’t stop it. The thing we can do is that we can control the oxidative stress. If we don’t take care of oxidative stress, many things occur that degrades our health.
Uncontrolled oxidative stress produces free radicals. These free radicals are very harmful to our cells, DNA, Organs, etc. The one things that can help us is antioxidants.
As sunflower is loaded with antioxidants properties like Vitamin E, it protects from free radicals and inflammation. Inflammation is the leading cause of heart disease like a stroke. Free radicals also damage arteries and veins which lead high blood pressure and hypertension.
Vitamin E protects from those free radicals and inflammation that degrades cardiovascular health.
Phytosterols is an another nutrients found in nuts and seeds. But Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published that Phytosterols found in sunflower seeds is the highest compared to any nuts or seeds. 1/4 cup can keep your unhealthy cholesterol level in control.
It contains oleic acids and Linoleum acid that are healthy fat. They decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). By maintaining the healthy fat and balanced cholesterol heart and arteries health starts improving.
A balanced cholesterol and antioxidant promote optimum nourishment of cells, veins, arteries and heart.
As our cardiovascular system stay protected from inflammation and stay well nourished, cells and DNA starts healing.
Antioxidants play important role in improving our heart health.
Wrap Up: Sunflower seeds contains Vitamin E, oleic acids and Linoleum acid that improves cardiovascular health.
To know more about improving heart health read
2. Protects From Cancer
Damage due to oxidative stress is not limited to heart health problems.
Free radicals are responsible for damage at cellular level. Cellular level damage means DNA is attacked by free radicals. These damaged cells turn in cancerous cells which start to spread at a faster speed.
These damage cells are referred as cancer cells.
After lots of research, some cures are found for few cancers.
Is it possible to avoid such situation?
Healthy diets rich in antioxidants can protect from cancer.
Antioxidants are nutrients that can also work to recover DNA damage caused due to free radicals. Sunflower seeds contain nutrients that possess anticancer and antitumor properties. They not only prevent the growth of cancer cells or tumor but also stops the growth further.
As cancer cells growth slows down, those antioxidants are utilized to recover the damaged DNA and cells. So it becomes a better option to prevent cancer.
Studies have proved the benefits of Vitamin E against cancer. In studies, it was found that Vitamin E has potent to protect against prostate.
It is also found to reduce lung cancer. But choosing the natural foods it the best choice you can make for your health. (1)
Selenium is a trace mineral but abundant in sunflower seeds. There is strong evidence about selenium that proves beneficial for cancer protection. It has property to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells.
Selenium has proved beneficial with a combination of enzyme glutathione peroxidase. They cleanse wide range the free radicals from the body through the liver. So the combination of Vitamin E and selenium form a perfect combination. (2, 3)
Precaution: Vitamin E and Selenium protect from prostate when taken from foods. But selenium supplements are not recommended as it increases the risk of prostate cancer. So depend on foods to get nutrients. (4)
Wrap up: Natural source of foods providing Vitamin E and Selenium has potent to protect from cancer and tumor.
3. Thyroid Function
Millions of people are suffering thyroid problem worldwide. The problem is rising day by day in women and older people.
Thyroid problems lead to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
It can also be prevented by taking care of nutrient intake.
Optimum thyroid functioning is important as it control rate of metabolism, heart rate and many other vital functions. Thyroid problems can notice with an altered change in weight, energy level, etc.
To this issue, you can depend on sunflower seeds, selenium content. As it contains a high amount of thyroid nourishing selenium, you can rely on it to stay protected from thyroid problems.
Wrap up: Selenium can protect from thyroid problems like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
4. Complete Bone Health
Skeletal health is important as it protect vital organs from minor or major injury, cramps, fractures, etc.
Healthy bone is the most important things we don’t focus.
Many people are facing bone health issue due to unhealthy or nutrient deficient diets. Due to this, there is a rise in bone problems like osteoporosis, cramps, etc.
You can benefit from sunflower seeds as it contains magnesium. Magnesium plays a vital role in proper development of bone. As we need potassium to absorb calcium, we need magnesium to keep the balance of calcium/potassium level.
Excess calcium or potassium can also lead to a problem like a kidney stone. Thus, Magnesium helps to avoid such health problems by maintaining balance.
Wrap up: Magnesium keeps the balance of calcium and potassium level for optimum health.
5. Depression And Anxiety
Sunflower seeds contain good amount of Niacin and Pyridoxine are other B-complex. Niacin helps to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. Along with it, also enhances GABA inside the brain which helps to reduce neurosis, depression and anxiety.
Diabetes complications are rising in every age. It is dues sudden spike in sugar level which further leads to diabetes complications.
Magnesium is found to lower the insulin resistance and further developing diabetes. (5)
Wrap up: Sunflower seeds lowers the risk of diabetes complications.
7. Skin Health
Want a healthy, supple and youthful skin?
Sunflower seeds can be a healthy option. Vitamin E has many benefits due to its antioxidant property.
Along with Vitamin E, it also contains healthy fats that are required for healthy skin. Antioxidants protect skin damage and protect from aging or wrinkles.
Wrap up: Vitamin E and healthy fat improve your skin health.
8. Neurodegenerative disorders
Oxidative stress is not only leading cause of heart disease, aging, cancer, even more.
It is also leading cause Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Free radicals are responsible for degeneration and or death of nerve cells.
Vitamin E and other antioxidants present in sunflower seeds can protect from these neurodegenerative disorders.
Wrap up: Antioxidants present in sunflower seeds protects from neurodegenerative disorders
Plants Compounds That Make It Special
- Selenium: Selenium is potent to protect from cancers and also boost thyroid functions. Sunflower seeds are the richest source of selenium.
- Chlorogenic acid: Chlorogenic acid has anti-diabetic and anti-lipidemic effects. (6)
- Quinic acid: Quinic acid is found to be active in enhancing DNA repair and immunity to provide neuroprotective effects in neurons. (7)
- Caffeic acids: It has antioxidant property. (8)
- Oleic acid: It slows down cancer cell growth. It also decreases bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL).
- Linoleic acid: It’s the fatty acid that improves heart health.
- Phytosterols: It is a good cholesterol agent. (9)
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