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the benefits of sunflower seeds

What are the benefits of sunflower seeds?

Published on July 7, 2020

Sunflower seed, as its name indicates, is the seed that grows inside a sunflower. There are hundreds of seeds inside every sunflower that develops when they face the sun. As a result, they are very nutritious and also excellent sources of plant-based protein and oils.

Sunflower seed has a black cover, and the kernel inside this hull is edible. Sunflower seeds are sold hulled or whole with the hull. The hulled seeds are sometimes roasted and salted or come in a variety of flavours. Now you may ask: what are the benefits of sunflower seeds? Follow this post to the end to know how you can benefit from these delicious seeds.

10 Benefits of sunflower seeds

How many sunflower seeds can I eat per day?

  1. They are heart-healthy
    One of the benefits of sunflower seeds is that they are so heart-healthy. High blood pressure and high cholesterol level are the major risk factors that may lead to heart diseases, such as heart attack or stroke. Sunflower seeds contain an enzyme that can constrict blood vessels and help them relax. As a result, consuming sunflower seeds can help you lower blood pressure. Moreover, these seeds contain a significant amount of dietary fibers and unsaturated fatty acids, they can unclog arteries and reduce bad cholesterol level. Therefore, consuming sunflower seeds can help you have a healthier heart. However, to have a healthy life, you should always take care of all the other foods you eat in a day.
  2. Fight with inflammation
    Vitamin E is an essential vitamin for your immunity. This vitamin can help the body fight with inflammation. Sunflower seeds are very high in Vitamin E. Having an adequate amount of this vitamin in the body can help reduce and even destroy infection and lower the risks of neurological problems, such as muscle weakness, eye damage, or balance problems. Moreover, Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can support cell function and prevent oxidative damage in cells.
  3. Reduce blood sugar
    The complex carbohydrates in sunflower seeds can have an impact on reducing blood sugar. Since the body needs more time to digest these carbs, our blood sugar doesn’t take up immediately after eating a meal. This is so helpful for Diabetics because they can better control their blood sugar. However, more research is needed because other factors have an impact on blood sugar too, and you cannot only rely on sunflower seeds to control and reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes.
  4. Help you relax
    One of the benefits of sunflower seeds is that they can help you relax and have a better sleep. It’s the magnesium that can improve your sleep and reduce your stress. Each quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains 28% of the DV for magnesium. Therefore, the daily consumption of sunflower seeds may lead to a relaxed and stress-free sleep. It also can lower anxiety during the day. Magnesium can improve brain function and activate mechanisms that calm you. It also plays an important role in your nervous system and can help relieve anxiety and depression.
  5. Improve bone health
    Sunflower seeds are rich in phosphorus, which is the second most common mineral found in our body and helps strengthen the bones. Phosphorus not only can improve bone health and build strong teeth but also can reduce muscle pain after exercise. Moreover, besides phosphorus, it’s the copper that can improve bone mineral density. Together, they will make strong and healthy bones for the body. Therefore, consuming sunflower seeds is so beneficial to the bones.
  6. Reduce the risk of cancer
    The lack of selenium is the main reason that may increase the risk of cancer. Selenium is so essential to the body. It contains at least 25 types of proteins in the human body and can prevent cell damages that may cause cancer.  Fortunately, sunflower seeds are rich in selenium. Every 30 grams of sunflower seeds can provide 32% of the selenium needed for the body. Thus, it can help the body stay fresh against the risk of cancer. However, other factors may increase the risk of cancer too. Although these seeds can reduce the risk, it is not a cure for this disease.
  7. Are a great source of antioxidants
    You can reduce the risk of many diseases by following a diet high in antioxidants. Antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage to the cells and protect the cells against free radicals. Moreover, antioxidants can slow down cell aging. Therefore, consuming food that is high in antioxidants can have many benefits to the body. Being rich in antioxidants is one of the main benefits of sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant in these seeds that has anti-aging properties. It can improve the elasticity of the skin and also reduce the risks of diseases related to cell damages, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and different cancers.
  8. Improve immune system
    To have a healthy life, you need to boost your immune system too. Due to the high level of antioxidants and vitamin E in sunflower seeds, they are great edibles to improve the immune system. A healthy and strong immune system can help the body to fight against different diseases.
  9. A good addition to a weight loss diet
    Sunflower seeds are loaded with polyunsaturated fats, which are considered good fats. Therefore, you can easily add these mildly nutty seeds to your weight loss diet. Moreover, these seeds are rich in fiber and protein, which will make you feel fuller for a long time. Therefore, adding sunflower seeds to your diet can also help you eat less and lose more weight.
  10. Good for skin
    As mentioned earlier, sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, both are essential for skin health. Vitamin E can reduce UV damage to the skin, it also can help the skin look at its best. Consuming an adequate daily amount of this vitamin and other antioxidants can help the skin look younger and brighter. Therefore, sunflower seeds can help you have better skin. However, you should also follow your daily skincare routine too, and don’t rely on sunflower seeds to reach the best result.

Eating too many of any edibles can have side effects, and sunflower seeds are no exception. It would help if you always took care of the number of seeds you eat per day.

Usually, it’s OK to eat 30 grams of sunflower seeds per day. It will be equal to ¼ cup. However, the amount of calories you take each day depends on all the foods you eat during the day. So you can mix sunflower seeds with other nuts or dried fruits to have a healthy and energy-boosting snack.

You may wonder what happens if you eat too many sunflower seeds? By overeating sunflower seeds, you may increase the risk of digestive problems or stool blockages.

Moreover, if you eat these seeds with their black shell, your body can’t digest them properly, and it may increase your odds of fecal impaction. These problems may lead to abdominal pain and nausea. If the problem doesn’t go away, you may need to visit a doctor. 

Additionally, although being allergic to sunflower seeds is so rare, some people may have reactions like asthma, mouth swelling, itching in the mouth, fever, or skin rashes.

These symptoms indicate that you shouldn’t continue eating sunflower seeds, and it might be better to visit a doctor too.

shelled-sunflower_seeds

Sunflower seeds nutrition facts

Sunflower seeds calories163
Saturated fat1.5 grams
Polyunsaturated fat9.2 grams
Monounsaturated fat2.7 grams
Fibre3 grams
Protein5.5 grams
Vitamin E37% of the RDI
Vitamin B611% of the RDI
Iron6% of the RDI
Magnesium9% of the RDI
Copper26% of the RDI
Zinc10% of the RDI
Manganese30% of the RDI
Selenium32% of the RDI
(every 30 grams or ¼ cup)
Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sunflower-seeds#nutrition

How to consume sunflower seeds?

If you buy the seeds with their shells, you need to crack them open to eat their kernels. However, you can always be more creative and add these seeds to your foods, especially salads. Just sprinkle the shelled seeds over your green salad and enjoy eating them.

You can also add them to your yogurt or eat them alongside fruit salads. Some people also add sunflower seeds to their sandwiches, and some make delicious cakes using these healthy and nutty seeds. You can find many recipes that can help you create different dishes or salads with sunflower seeds.

sunflower-seeds-salad

Bottom Line
Sunflower seeds are popular snacks. They are healthy, delicious, and rich in vitamins and minerals. You can easily add these seeds to your diet and enjoy eating them.

However, it would help if you always took care of the number of seeds or nuts you eat per day because eating too many seeds can have side effects instead of benefits.

Moreover, it’s always better to consume raw seeds instead of salted or flavoured ones because they are healthier and more beneficial to the body.

PS. This article is written based on the Natural Moreish content team’s research on different blogs, websites, and articles. Natural Moreish doesn’t suggest acknowledge or claim the information on this post.

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