Packed with loads of nutrients, sunflower seeds are actually fruits of sunflower (Helianthus annuus). These are tiny white coloured seeds are encased in greyish black shells. Sunflower seeds are harvested from the flower head of the sunflower plant. While the seed itself is encased in a black and white striped shell, sunflower seeds are white and have a tender texture.
Nutritional Value –
Sunflower seeds are high in protein and rich in healthy fats, as well as antioxidants that can lower your risk of developing serious conditions.
It’s also an excellent source of –
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin B1
• Vitamin B6
How to use Sunflower seeds?
You can also eat these seeds in a variety of dishes. Here are a few ways you can incorporate them into meals –
• Sprinkle on top of a salad
• Add to trail mix
• Stir into oatmeal
• Sprinkle over stir fry or mixed vegetables
• Add to veggie burgers
• Mix into baked goods
• Use sunflower butter in place of peanut butter
• Cook with sunflower oil instead of other oils
Sunflower seeds should not be consumed more than 1 small cup ( around 30 grams ) per day.
• Reducing Inflammation
For those with short-term or chronic inflammation, sunflower seeds can offer anti-inflammatory benefits. These seeds contain vitamin E, flavonoids, and other plant compounds that can reduce inflammation.
• Immunity Booster
Immunity boosting effects of these seeds are due to the presence of vitamin E, zinc and selenium in them. Vitamin E enhances immune responses and protects against several infectious diseases. It is also a powerful antioxidant and prevents free radicals from damaging healthy cells in our body.
• Reduces Cholesterol
Niacin or vitamin B3 present in such seeds reduces total cholesterol levels and risk of heart diseases. Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid in sunflower seeds increases HDL cholesterol and reduces total serum cholesterol levels.
Sunflower seeds are useful in reducing blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
• Boosts function of Brain
Theses seeds contain vitamin B6. It improves mood and concentration and enhances memory. It releases serotonin and norepinephrine in our body.
• Premenstrual Syndrome
Sunflower seeds also help to ease symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
• Weight Loss
These seeds are rich in proteins and fibre. They make us feel full for a long time, reduce our food intake and finally reduce the number of calories consumed. This helps in reduction of weight.
• Build Muscles
These seeds are a good source of thiamine ( vitamin B1 ). Thiamine helps to breakdown carbohydrates, proteins and fats present in our food into energy. They also help in muscle building.
These seeds are a good source of iron. Consuming th ese seeds helps to up our iron levels; thus helping people suffering from anaemia.
• Good for our Skin
Consuming such seeds keep our skin glowing. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of these seeds also prevents infections, thus keeping our skin clear.
• Nutritious During Pregnancy
These seeds are loaded with Vitamine E, which is a nutrient known to be extremely beneficial for prenatal health. This means, Vitamin E helps in the development of the baby inside the womb. Therefore, sunflower seeds are an effective source of nutrition for pregnant women and their babies.
Side Effects –
• Excess consumption of sunflower seeds may cause vomiting, stomach ache and constipation.
• People allergic to sunflower seeds may show symptoms like vomiting, rashes, breathing problem, swelling and itching around the mouth etc.
• These seeds contain traces of cadmium. Eati ng too many seeds can be harmful to our kidneys.
• Eating contaminated sprouted seeds may lead to bacterial infection (Salmonella).
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