Sunflower seeds are a unique food, rich in many types of essential nutrients. In fact, sunflower seeds definitely make Top 10 List for foods rich in Vitamin E, copper, B Vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium, and many more. Sunflower seeds, like nearly all types of nuts and seeds provide a healthy source of essential fatty acids. Their specific fatty acids are in the form of linoleic acid. Moreover, sunflower seeds are a great source of fiber, amino acids which make up the building blocks of proteins, B Vitamins, and more. Although we have been led to believe that consuming fat can lead to weight gain, the opposite is in fact true. Consuming healthy fats actually leads to a healthy cardiovascular system, a stable healthy body weight, and reduced levels of body-wide inflammation. Here are the most important benefits of sunflower seeds.
1. Promotes Heart Health
Sunflower seeds contain two nutrients that promote cardiovascular health — vitamin E and folate. Only a quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds contains more than 60% of the daily value of vitamin E. This essential vitamin performs important antioxidant function. Furthermore, balanced levels of vitamin E have been linked to a reduced risk of early death from cardiovascular disease. Also, vitamin E helps neutralize free radicals to protect brain health and cell membranes against redness and swelling. Another benefit is that vitamin E has been linked to protection from more than one serious health risk. Additionally, folate has been shown to promote cardiovascular health from birth to old age.
2. Weight Loss
While these seeds are really high in calories, they also possess a good amount of dietary fiber. This can help to speed the digestive process and lower cholesterol levels. Moreover, fiber helps to make the body feel full, preventing the occurrence of overeating.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Sunflowers seeds have been ranked at the top of the nuts and seeds list for their high content of phytosterols - cholesterol lowering compounds. These seeds are loaded with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good fats that lower bad cholesterol. On top of that, they are rich in fiber that contributes to lowering cholesterol in some people.
4. Great Source of Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency can lead to a number of health problems that affect the cardiovascular, nervous, and immune systems. The muscles and skeletal system also require magnesium for proper function. Homeopathic practitioners have long used magnesium to promote respiratory function, heart health, and reduced PMS tension. A quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds provides more than 25% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. That’s protection for your brain, heart, muscles and more and is extremely helpful!
5. Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, a nutrient that’s very important for your health. You can get 8.4 mg of vitamin E from a quarter cup of roasted sunflower seeds when the daily requirement for an adult is 15 mg. Vitamin E can also help protect against Parkinson’s disease, a movement disorder that makes it difficult to do simple things like walking, talking, and swallowing food. According to research, dietary vitamin E can have a neuroprotective effect, thereby lowering the risk of Parkinson’s disease tremendously.
6. Supports a Healthy Mood
There’s an added bonus to the magnesium in sunflower seeds, it promotes a healthy mood. More than one hundred years ago, magnesium sulfate was given to patients suffering from depression. Its success, as well as its safety, made it a valuable option. Nowadays, magnesium plays an essential role in homeopathic therapies for mental health.
7. Prevent Cancer
Some studies have connected selenium to preventing the occurrence of cancer. This trace mineral functions as a powerful antioxidant in the body. It can also slow down the oxidative stress and neutralize the free radicals before they can cause too much damage.
These nutty and crunchy sunflower seeds can become a popular part of your diet. There are endless possibilities to use them and thus enjoy great benefits they offer. However, if you notice any health issues on consuming them, it is good to discuss it with your healthcare practitioner.