Do you know what it takes to a healthy lifestyle? Some good and healthy choices. While you may think that healthy comes sans taste, then you are somewhat wrong as some healthy foods give you nutrition along with great taste. The crunchy sunflower seeds make a healthy snack and taste delicious. Further, you can consume them in innumerable ways and reap the fantastic benefits of sunflower seeds.
What are Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are the fruit of sunflower plant. A black shell covers the edible seeds. One can consume the seeds in roasted form. The sunflower seeds, owing to their nutty taste, are added to salads, breakfast bowls, desserts, etc.
Sunflower Seeds Nutrition Profile
Sunflower seeds are loaded with essential nutrients that make them a healthy choice. These are a rich source of Vitamin E and Vitamin B1. Besides, they also abound in copper and provide other minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, etc. Sunflower seeds protein and fiber content are high, and they also contain heart-healthy fats. Further, the sunflower seeds calories amount to 204 in a cup and the carbs in sunflower seeds amount to 20 g in a single serving. When eaten in moderation, sunflower seeds are excellent for your overall health.
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
From reducing the risk of heart disease to improving your thyroid function, the benefits of sunflower seeds are many. Read the benefits mentioned below and know why sunflower seeds should be immediately added to your diet.
1. Sunflower Seeds Maintain Your Heart’s Health
Sunflower seeds are a rich source of Vitamin E which is vital for maintaining your heart’s health. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, and it prevents inflammation which is the reason for numerous diseases including heart stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Further, sunflower seeds can help in lowering cholesterol level and the number of triglycerides in your body that are the prime risk factors of developing heart disease.
These contain phytosterols which prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the body. High level of cholesterol hampers the blood flow in the blood vessels which puts a strain on the heart. With healthy levels of cholesterol, your heart functions without excessive pressure; thus, remaining hale and hearty.
2. Promoting Mental Health is One of the Most Important Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Do you know that the black oil of sunflower seeds can positively affect your mood? The sunflower seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid which is associated with the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which when released in the body helps in alleviating stress and tension.
It soothes your mind and body. Another essential compound found in sunflower seeds is Choline which improves the cognitive functioning of your brain. The seeds also provide you with potassium that balances the effect of sodium thus regulating the blood pressure and preventing hypertension.
3. Sunflower Seeds Strengthens Bones and Muscles
Consuming roasted sunflower seeds can be great for the health of your bones and muscles. The sunflower seeds contain a high amount of magnesium which helps in regulating the blood pressure and maintaining cardiovascular health. Further, it also helps in preventing bone loss and conditions like osteoporosis.
It also helps in keeping the calcium balance in the cells. Magnesium blocks the entry of calcium in nerve cells which can make them overactive. Another important constituent of the black sunflower seeds is the Pantothenic acid which helps in regulating the hormone and promote healthy brain function. Deficiency of Pantothenic acid in the body can cause issues like muscle pain, fatigue, and plantar fasciitis.
4. Benefits of Sunflower Seeds Include Protection Against Cancer
Presence of selenium, copper and Vitamin E make raw sunflower seeds potent against cancer-causing cells. Selenium, copper, and Vitamin E have antioxidant properties which prevent cellular damage resulting in cancer. These prevent oxidative stress and fight free radicals that can have a damaging effect on your cells.
The presence of compounds like Phytosterol and lignans also makes them beneficial against specific types of cancer. These inhibit the growth of cancer cells that may cause breast cancer, colon cancer or prostate cancer.
5. Sunflower Seeds Aid in Cell Formation
Sunflower seeds contain folic acid which is essential for the production of new DNA which is required for the formation of the new cells. It is one of the prime benefits of sunflower seeds. Folates present in sunflower seeds are an essential component of the diet of expecting mothers.
These ensure the formation of a healthy neural tube and proper growth of the fetus. Development of the face, heart, kidney, brain, and spine of the babies is possible due to the formation of new cells for which the presence of folates (folic acid) is essential.
6. Sunflower Seeds Promote Skin Health
Consuming sunflower seed oil can be great for the health of your skin too. The sunflower seeds contain a high amount of Vitamin E which improves the health of your skin. Further, the presence of acid lipids keeps your skin well hydrated and prevents any damage. The antioxidant properties of the seeds prevent damage to the skin due to aging. These keep you youthful and active lifelong.
How to eat Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are consumed all around the globe for their nutritional benefits. These come in three varieties: high oleic, linoleic seeds and NuSun. These are slightly different in their nutrition profile but provide you with similar health benefits. There are numerous ways in which you can enjoy the benefits of sunflower seeds.
You can enjoy them raw, in sprouted or roasted form. Sunflower seed oil and sunflower oil butter are also great ways to enjoy the sunflower seed benefits. Owing to their crunchy texture the sunflower seeds can be added to anything. Here are some ways in which you can relish the black sunflower seeds:
- Sprinkle Sunflower seeds on your healthy green salads
- Add the seeds to tuna or chicken recipe to give it a nutty texture
- Add some sunflower seeds to scrambled eggs
- Sprinkle the seeds on your breakfast cereal
Sunflower Seeds Recipes
Spinach salad with Sunflower Seeds
Spinach salad is a healthy and quick salad for your hunger pangs.
What will you need?
- Baby spinach
- One-fourth cup of roasted sunflower seeds
- Olive Oil
How to Prepare?
- Put Spinach in a bowl
- Add to it, olive oil
- After that, sprinkle sunflower seeds
- Mix the contents well and serve.
Raw Trail Mix Snack
This mix snack is a healthy snack that you can munch whenever you want without any guilt.
What will you need?
- One cup of sunflower seeds
- One cup of raisin (free of any preservatives)
- Half a cup of pumpkin seeds
- Half a cup of peanuts
- Half a cup of cashews
- Half a cup of almonds
How to Prepare?
- Mix all the contents.
- Store them in an airtight container.
Side-effects of Sunflower Seeds
The benefits of sunflower seeds are many, but this does not mean that they do not pose any side-effects. Consuming sunflower seeds in great amount can cause some severe health problems. These include:
- Declining kidney function due to high levels of phosphorous.
- Excessive weight gain, owing to the high amount of calorie intake.
- Mood swings and chronic fatigue due to high amounts of selenium.
- High blood pressure due to the high level of sodium.
- Some people may have sunflower seed allergy. They may develop rashes on the skin.
Sunflower seeds when consumed in moderate amount can be an excellent choice for your health. These help in keeping you hale and hearty and increase your life expectancy by reducing the risk of heart diseases and preventing cancer. Further, these improve your brain functioning and alleviate the stress.
Sunflower seeds are also good for your hair and skin. These keep you young and full of energy. It is because of the numerous benefits of sunflower seeds on health, these have become widely popular across the globe. So what are you waiting for? Add them to your diet and enjoy a healthy life full of possibilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do sunflower seeds make you gain weight?
Sunflower seeds are high in calories. An ounce of sunflower seeds can provide you with around 170 calories which makes to about 9% of the total calorie intake of a day. Consuming sunflower seeds regularly without cutting down on other foods can lead to weight gain.
2. Is it bad to eat a lot of sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds are no doubt a healthy choice but overeating can cause trouble. Excessive of anything is bad for health, and that goes for sunflower seeds too. Eating a lot of sunflower seeds may hamper the functioning of your kidney, cause high blood pressure, and lead to weight gain. Thus, it is essential to eat them in moderation.
3. Do sunflower seeds make you poop?
Sunflower seeds contain a high amount of fiber which regulates your bowel movement. These maintain your digestive health and are great for those suffering from constipation.