Sunflower Seeds health benefits includes improving cholesterol levels, supporting bone health, promoting healthy detoxification, supporting the health of your skin, a good source of protein, helps promote weight loss, assist with cancer prevention, manages hypertension, helps promote hair growth and luster, and help control blood sugar.
What are Sunflower Seeds?
The sunflower in its own right is a beautiful decorative plant, but what many fail to stop and appreciative is the benefits its Sunflower Seeds can have on us.
Possessing the scientific name Helianthus annuus, there are over 50 species of the sunflower, most of which are native to North America, except for about 3 specific species that are native to South America. The sunflower should be known for more than its beauty, however, as its seeds are unique in the spectrum of nutrients they contain, ranking among the top 10 sources for many nutrients, such as Copper, Selenium, Vitamin E and many more.
As such, there is much to gain from consumption of sunflower seeds, either as it or lightly toasted, as is common to do to pumpkin seeds.
Nutrition Info (Per 100g)
Total Carbohydrate -20g 7% RDI
Dietary Fiber -8.6g 34% RDI
Total Fat -51.5g 79% RDI
Omega-3 fatty acids -74mg
Protein -21g 42% RDI
Vitamin E -33mg 166% RDI
Thiamin – 1.5mg 99% RDI
Riboflavin – 0.4mg 21% RDI
Niacin – 8.3mg 42% RDI
Vitamin B6 – 1.3mg 67% RDI
Folate – 227mcg 57% RDI
Pantothenic Acid -1.1mg 11% RDI
Calcium – 78mg 8% RDI
Iron – 5.2mg 29% RDI
Magnesium – 325mg 81% RDI
Phosphorus – 660mg 66% RDI
Potassium – 645mg 18% RDI
Zinc – 5mg 33% RDI
Copper – 1.8mg 90% RDI
Manganese – 1.9mg 97% RDI
Selenium – 53mcg 76% RDI
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
1. Help Improve Cholesterol Levels
Sunflower seeds, like many beneficial nuts and seeds, are a rich source of fats, in this case monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. These are known for reducing LDL levels (known as the bad cholesterol), a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Sunflower seeds are also rich in fiber, which by themselves help to promote bile excretion in feces and a corresponding reduction in overall cholesterol, as cholesterol is required for synthesis of new bile acids.
2. Helps Support Bone Health
Bone is living tissue, which requires nutrition like many other parts of the body to retain its ideal function, contrary to the belief that it is dead tissue. Though most people associate calcium with being the mineral responsible for bone health, it is merely one of a team of nutrients that is necessary for optimal bone health, with the supporting minerals having a very important part to play. In particular, are the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and copper, which ensure proper bone mineralization. Bone mineralization is a mechanism set in order to guarantee that bone is of a certain “density”, to support its weight bearing responsibilities. Without proper mineralization, bone is structurally weak, and prone to easy fractures.
3. Help Control Blood Sugar
Diets that contain a high amount of nuts and seeds as part of their daily meal plans have shown a positive association to a lower rate of diabetes development, complications resulting from worsening of diabetes, and overall blood sugar management. In this case, sunflower seeds are loaded with fiber which slow down the absorption of blood sugar into the blood, while magnesium helps to improve insulin sensitivity. This combination results in improved blood glucose control for the majority of people that consume it.
4. Promote Healthy Detoxification
Selenium is an important mineral when it comes to assisting in the removal of waste material from the body, playing a role in many biological processes. It plays a role in the maintenance of the body’s strongest natural anti-oxidant glutathione, which the liver used to safeguard itself from the effects of metabolism of waste. Selenium has also been shown to help stimulate repair of damaged cells owing to the action of toxins on them.
5. Support The Health Of Your Skin
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which plays an integral role in skin health and maintenance. Vitamin E reduces oxidative damage to skin cells caused by UV rays, helps to reflect some of them, and helps keep your skin looking youthful. Vitamin E is widely used in the cosmetic industry to support skin health, with oral consumption the superior way to get yours.
6. Promote Good Mood And Restful Sleep
The mineral magnesium is once again responsible for sunflower seeds beneficial effects on mood, helping to improve brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter strongly determinant of our mood. It also helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in high amounts inhibits the neurotransmitters responsible for a good mood. Sunflower seeds are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor of dopamine and other neurotransmitters that helps to bring about restful sleep and relaxation at night.
7. Sunflower Seeds Are A Rich Source of Protein
If you are someone who does not consume meat to get their protein from, sunflower seeds are an excellent add on to get yours, containing as much as 40% of your recommended daily intake in a single 100g serving. Though the protein found in sunflower seeds are not complete (in the sense that they do not have all the essential amino acids required by the diet), they are an excellent way nevertheless to help come closer to your protein requirements. Protein is still essential for health whether you eat meat or not, as repair and regeneration of cells depends on it, along with production of multiple enzymes and immune cells.
8. May Help Promote Weight Loss
Sunflower seeds appear to be a perfect melting pot of nutrients that are conducive for weight loss, including those such as fiber and the B vitamins. Fiber adds bulk in the stomach, slowing down glucose absorption and keeping you fill for longer, while the B vitamins help to ensure macronutrients are broken down in more efficient fashion. Both of these help in the weight loss process, and can help keep energy levels high while calories are restricted.
9. Can Assist With Cancer Prevention
Sunflower seeds contain many rare trace minerals, such as the versatile selenium, which is a co-factor in many enzyme reactions and assists with detoxification. This helps to improve the buffering of oxidative stress and offset damage that can be caused. Fiber also speeds up removal of waste material in the colon, so that they spend less time in the colon where they can cause adverse changes there.
10. Can Help Manage Hypertension
Sunflower seeds contain the “holy trinity” of minerals that help to regulate blood pressure, which are calcium, potassium and magnesium, each of which play a beneficial role in keeping blood pressure in normal ranges. Potassium balances sodium, and functions as a vasodilator. Magnesium can help regulate the calcium channels, while calcium itself is necessary for manning the channels and ensuring they open and close as needed, which translated to improved blood vessel flexibility.
11. Help To Promote Hair Growth And Luster
Vitamin E found in sunflower seeds does more than just take care of the skin, as it also imparts benefits to the hair and nails as well. Vitamin E keeps hair looking youthful and rich, adding volume and bounce. Sunflower seeds also promote blood flow to the scalp to stimulate growth of new hair. This can be attributed to the mineral calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron which stimulates the production of new blood cells.
Do yourself a favor, and get some sunflower seeds today. Whether you like them as is or lightly toasted, they make an easy and super healthy snack to consume anytime you feel a little hungry but don’t want to reach for the junk.