Sunflower is a giant flower measuring up to 30 centimeters. They are named such because they blossom towards the rising sun. Sunflower plants are indigenous to the American continent. There are more than 70 varieties of Sunflower of which only three are native to South America; all of the rest have origins in North and Central America. Today, Sunflowers are cultivated across the globe for their oil and also for their seeds. Sunflower seed extracts are a staple in many nutrient bars and health mix powders. They have a nutty flavor and are mild to the stomach but are loaded with nutrients.
Two different varieties of Sunflowers are cultivated; One for their seeds and the other for oil. A single Sunflower can have as many as 2000 seeds. Sunflower seeds can be consumed raw. They are normally roasted and flavored to be cherishable to your taste buds. Sunflower seed extracts are also normally a part of nutrient bars. Bars made exclusively out of Sunflower seeds are also available in the market.
A NUTRIENT LOADED FOOD
Sunflower seeds are loaded with all necessary nutrients making it a well-balanced diet. They are a credible source of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and fiber. They also have just enough calories to provide instant energy. A lot of vitamins and minerals are also present in these seeds. Vitamin B6, Niacin, Vitamin E, Folate, and Pantothenic acid are available in abundance in Sunflower seeds. Manganese, Selenium, and Copper are the most prevalent minerals in these seeds. They also have traces of Zinc and Magnesium. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of Iron. They are also rich in anti-oxidants. Thus with a variety of nutrients, Sunflower seeds are an appealing snack for any health-conscious consumer.
Sprouted benefits: The nutrient content in sunflower seeds increase multifold when the seeds are made to sprout and consumed.
AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD
One of the best things about Sunflower seeds is its anti-inflammatory properties. It is highly effective in relieving inflammations both internal and external. A study titled “A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common sunflower seed and sprouts (Helianthus annuus L.)” by researchers from Thailand and China made available in the United States National Library of Medicine has shown that the flavonoids and other elements in Sunflower seeds have a high potential to reduce inflammations. Thus, making these seeds a part of your lives can help keep all kinds of inflammations at bay.
CARDIO PROTECTIVE SEEDS
Sunflower seeds have proven cardioprotective properties. Multiple studies have shown high efficacy for these seeds to improve heart health. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of magnesium. They help improve blood flow in the arteries and also eliminate blockages. This improves heart health and prevents cardiac diseases.
The build of fat and cholesterol content in the walls of your blood vessels results in restricted blood flow. This condition is called atherosclerosis. Regular consumption of Sunflower seeds helps prevent this condition. A study by researchers from New York titled “Nut and seed consumption and inflammatory markers in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis” has recommended that regular consumption of nuts and seeds including Sunflower seeds help keep atherosclerosis away.
A DIABETIC FRIENDLY SNACK
Snacking options for diabetic patients are minimal with most chips and fries banned for their high glycemic index. Nut and seed-based snacks are an alternative for such people to munch something alongside their evening coffee. Sunflower seeds also have a low glycemic index. Studies have shown that it doesn’t cause any major spike in blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. Sunflower seeds contain an element called chlorogenic acid which might help lower blood sugar levels.
Since these seeds can be roasted, flavored, and consumed, it makes a great alternative snack for people with diabetics.
FOR LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE AND CHOLESTEROL
Sunflower seeds help regulate blood pressure. These seeds relax the blood vessels by helping to eliminate the fat and cholesterol build up on the walls of the vessels. This helps in the smooth flow of blood and in turn, brings down the blood pressure levels.
It is also highly effective in eliminating the cholesterol build up in the blood vessels. Thanks to its richness in vital minerals like magnesium!
Thus, with an ocean of health benefits and relatively free from toxic effect, Sunflower seeds are a go-to-options to add nutrients to your daily diet and to keep certain diseases at bay.