Health benefits of sunflower seeds
- Delicious, nutty, and crunchy sunflower seeds are widely considered as healthful foods. They are high in energy; 100 g seeds hold about 584 calories. Nonetheless, they are one of the incredible sources of health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.
- Much of their calories come from fatty acids. The seeds are especially rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid, which constitutes more 50% fatty acids in them. They are also good in mono-unsaturated oleic acid that helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet which is rich in monounsaturated fats help to prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by favoring healthy serum lipid profile.
- Like in other seeds and nuts, sunflower also are an excellent source of proteins loaded with fine quality amino acids such as tryptophan that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 21 g of protein (37% of daily-recommended values).
- Also, sunflower seeds contain health benefiting polyphenol compounds such as chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, and caffeic acids. These compounds are natural anti-oxidants, which help remove harmful oxidant molecules from the body. Further, chlorogenic acid helps reduce blood sugar levels by limiting glycogen breakdown in the liver.
- Further, the seeds are indeed a very rich source of vitamin-E; contain about 35.17 g per 100 g (about 234% of RDA). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. By protecting these cellular and molecular components, vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions where free radicals and inflammation play a big role. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications.
- In addition, vitamin E plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is one of the main antioxidants found in cholesterol particles and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol. Only after it has been oxidized is cholesterol able to adhere to blood vessel walls and initiate the process of atherosclerosis, which can lead to blocked arteries, heart attack, or stroke. Getting plenty of vitamin E can significantly reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis. In fact, studies show that people who get a good amount of vitamin E are at a much lower risk of dying of a heart attack than people whose dietary intake of vitamin E is marginal or inadequate.
- Sunflower kernels are one of the finest sources of the B-complex group of vitamins. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
- Sunflowers are incredible sources of folic acid. 100 g of kernels contains ۲۲۷ µg of folic acid, which is about 37% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given in anticipant mothers during the peri-conceptional period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
- Niacin and pyridoxine are other B-complex vitamins found abundantly in the sunflower seeds. About 8.35 mg or 52% of daily required levels of niacin is provided by just 100 g of seeds. Niacin helps reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. Besides, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
- The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sunflower seeds. Many of these minerals play a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme secretion, hormone production, as well as in the regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
Calm Your Nerves, Muscles and Blood Vessels with Sunflower Seeds’ Magnesium
Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. Some helps give bones their physical structure, while the rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed.
Magnesium counterbalances calcium, thus helping to regulate nerve and muscle tone. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Nature’s own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium’s entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they ennervate) relaxed. If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and the nerve cell can become overactivated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction. Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue.
Improved Detoxification and Cancer Prevention from Sunflower Seeds’ Selenium
Sunflower seeds are also a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that is of fundamental importance to human health.
- Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and to induce their apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells. Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells.
- Just a handful of sunflower kernels a day provides much of the recommended level of phenolic antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.
- Inhibits Diabetes:Sunflower seeds can decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through their menopause, thereby reducing the development of diabetic complications.
- Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases:Sunflower seeds can also prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that people who consume a good amount of vitamin E are at a much lower risk of dying due to heart attack. Sunflower seeds reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Vitamin E also prevents the free radicals from oxidizing the cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol adheres to the blood vessels and initiates the process of atherosclerosis, which can block the arteries, leading to heart attack and stroke.
- Skin Health:Regular consumption of sunflower seeds will add a glow to the skin. It combats the UV rays and keeps the skin youthful and beautiful. Copper in sunflower seeds is required to produce melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color.
|(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)|
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||۵۱٫۴۶ g||۱۷۲%|
|Dietary Fiber||۸٫۶ g||۲۳%|
|Pantothenic acid||۱٫۱۳۰ mg||۲۲%|
|Vitamin A||۵۰ IU||۱٫۶%|
|Vitamin E||۳۵٫۱۷ mg||۲۳۴%|