For gaining healthy life, we should pay more attention to our daily intake and it has been realized by scientist nutrition. By consuming complex plant foods like seeds, whole grains, and nuts can add more nutrition and fulfil daily nutrition intake. Mothe nature has created almost every nutritional plant that will add nutrients to your diet including sunflower and the seeds of course. Sunflower seed is a small pack of power that contain protein, healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, Vitamin E, selenium, copper, folate, iron, and bunchs of phytochemicals. With all the nutrients inside a pack of sunflower seeds that makes its hard to beat we just one ounce of these seeds every day can improve the nutritional quality of our diet
History of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an annual plant from family Asteraceae and one of the few crop species which originated in North America (most originated in the Fertile Crescent, Asia or South or Central America). The word “Helianthus” itself derives from greek word Helios which means Sun and “Annuus” which means year. According to the National Sunflower Association, Sunflowers are actually native plant to North America. There is some evidences showing that sunflowers were firstly cultivated by native americans as long as 3000 B.C. And it is also believed that sunflower was first introduced in Europe through Spain.
Later Russia reintroduced sunflower seeds oil to U.S after World War II. Today, Russian, USA, Peru, Argentina, Spain, France, China and Ukraine are the world most top sunflower seeds producers. Nowadays sunflower seeds not only consumed by eating the raw or salted seeds but people also manufacturize the seeds into sunflower seeds oil that has same benefits like other natural oil such as olive oil.
Sunflower seeds Nutritions
Nutrient Per Oz. % Daily Value**
Calories Per Oz. 629 Calories from fat 426
Protein 6g 12%
Fiber 3g 12%
Vitamin E 11.3 mg 84%
Selenium 22 mg 31%
Copper 0.5 mg 25%
Folate 66 ug 17%
Phosphorus 323 mg 32%
Magnesium 36 mg 9%
Iron 1.2 mg 6.4%
Calcium 4g 4%
1) thiamin 0.091 mg 6%
2) riboflavin 0.079 mg 5%
3) niacin 1.171 mg 6%
4) pantothenic Acid 1.968 mg 20%
5) B6 0.225 mg 11%
Zinc 1.5 mg 10%
Phytochemicals n/a n/a
What a great source of vitamin & Mineral
Sunflower seed is the fruit of sunflower in botanically term it called as cypsela. Sunflower seeds are mostly produced in Europe and America. It is one of healthiest snack and people used to mistakenly as a kind of nut and its has been claimed as one of top ten world healthiest snack. Sunflower seed contain most of vitamins and minerals which give a bunch of benefits for health. This are the nutritional facts table of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are about 6 mm to 10mm length with conical shape and smooth surface. It has black outer skin that called as hull with edible grey white kernel inside it. A sunflower head can produce hundreds of sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are an excellent snack and ingredient. The plant protein and fiber in a small amount of sunflower seeds can contribute to a healthy diet and may also contribute to weight loss. Protein and fiber have been shown to help with satiety, increasing satisfaction, thereby promoting weight loss. Here are the nutritiona facts of Sunflower seed
Health Benefits of sunflower seeds for your body, this is very complate grains for healthy body, It’s Contain a lot of nutrients, sunflower seeds serve many health benefits for your body including these benefit below
- Carry the bad cholesterol away
Sunflower seeds contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat which are the types of fat who can protect heart. Clinical studies has proven that higher unsaturated fat diets may be preferable even to low-fat diets because they can lower the total cholesterol inside the body. Almost 90% of the fat in sunflower seeds is good, unsaturated fat. High density lipoprotein that contained in sunflower seeds is needed to carry the bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein away from the body. The phytosterol which are the compounds that naturally found in plants also has a chemical structure whicah can help the body to reduce the blood level cholesterol.
- Reduce the risk of Heart Disease
The healthy unsaturated fats in sunflower seeds not only carry the cholesterol away from the body but it has significance effect to your heart. Sunflower seeds also contain Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may protect body from molecules called free radicals that can lead to several health problems such as atherosclerosis that can cause heart disease. Folate a type of vitamin B also involved in the removal of homocysteine, an amino acid thought to promote heart disease, from the blood. Some clinical studies from Harvard University shows arelevance between higher intakes of folate and lower risk of heart disease.
- Maintain and Repair body tissue
Protein is one powerful macro nutrient which is build every living celll part, every tissue including our organs, muscles, and skin. The protein which is contained in sunflower seeds supplies amino acids that needed in the process of building, maintaining, and repairing body tissues. New research showing that protein is older adults may need protein to optimize their health and protect their lean muscle. Consuming sunflower seeds can put more protein in your daily intake.
- Keeping your skin healthy
As mentioned before that sunflower seeds are excelent source of Vitamin E. The antioxidant of Vitamin E in sunflower seeds do not only protect your heart from disease but also keeping healthy skin. Scientific studies show that Vitamin E or tocopherol has very spesific benefits to skin. It protects the skin from enviromental pollution, infection, also help the healing of wound on skin and act as moisturizer for keep the skin away from dryness. Research also reported a further benefits of Vitamin E in lowering the skin aging or in other words its an anti aging substance that can make your skin looks younger. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds provides 76% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin E.
- Reduce the risk of Cancer
Selenium in sunflower seeds works with vitamin E as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage that may lead to cancer and other health problems.Although there is no Daily Value for selenium, nutrition scientists recognize its importance to health and a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has been established. The selenium in one ounce of sunflower seeds provides about 24% of the RDA for men and 31% of the RDA for women.
- Support Tyroid Gland Function
The thyroid gland is one of body part that are responsible in regulating body temperature, the production of protein, heart rate,and controlling the rate of your body metabolism. Selenium is a mineral which contained in sunflower seeds support the function of tyroid gland and fulfil the selenium daily need. Deficiency selenium can lead to several symptom such as weight gain, fatigue, abnormal body temperatures, etc. and can be hard to properly diagnose without a blood or urine test.
- Help our body carry oxygen
Iron and copper are minerals which contained in sunflower seeds Copperhelp your body carry oxygen to red blood cells in every body part and produce energy in the cells.Copper is also an important part of some antioxidant enzymes in the body, those subtances which protect body from oxydative stress.Iron deficiency can lead to anemia,fatigue and infection, and those are more common common among women who experience regular menstrual loss. One ounce of sunflower seeds is a good source of iron, providing 10% of the Daily Value. While Copper deficiency is a rare case but this trace mineral is essential to anenergy-rich life.We can find about 25% of the Daily Value for copper in one ounce of sunflower seeds.
- Initiate the making of new body cell
Folate which contained in sunflower seeds not only plays role in lowering heart disease risk but also plays a vital role inmaking new body cells by helping to form theDNA and RNA that contain each cell’s “masterplan” for reproduction. This is why consuming folate is soimportant for pregnant women and thedevelopment of infants. Folate usually pairs withvitamin B-12 in effort to help the forming ofhemoglobin in redblood cells,which allows them to carryoptimal amounts of oxygen.
Sunflower seeds are also contain other types of Vitamin such as panthotenic acid, vitamin B6, thiamin and niacin. A one-ounce serving of sunflower seeds contains 20% of the Daily Value for pantothenic acid, 11% for vitamin B6, 6% for thiamin and 6% for niacin. All those Vitamin B are play important role in the process of body metabolism.
- Strengthen immune system
Zincis a mineral that is vital for keeping your immune system strong, fending off infectionsand healing wounds.What makes zync imporatant to immune system? Zinc is key to proper T cell, natural killer function and lymphocyte activity. It can be directly involve in the process of antibody production inside the body which are essential to fight infection. Zinc deficiency usually happen in developing country. By consuming a one-ounce serving of sunflower seeds providing 10% of the Daily Value and need of zinc.
- Promote Healthy Digestion
Vegetable, nuts and seeds are the most health source of fiber so does the sunflower seed. Unlike other food components, fiber is,nt digested by your body. Fiber plays important role in your digestive system and promote the grow of good bacteria which act as probiotics. Consuming fiber promotes bowel healthand also maintaning normal body weight. Fiber tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense” which means they has lower calories for the same amount volume of food.
Sunflower seeds are fiber-filled foods with 2 grams of fiber per one-ounce serving,putting you well on your way to your daily fiber goal.
- Reduce the severity of Asthma, Calming Nerves and prevent migraine
Sunflower seeds contain magnesium which are one of important mineral for human body. Asthma is a condition whre bronchial passages go into spasm and intefere with normal breathing. Study showed that magnesium can ralax the bronchial muscle and improve the shortness of breath and wheezing. Magnesium also can calm nerves and good for people who suffer from insomnia. Migraine is a kind of headache that can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of head. Magnesium in sunflower seeds can help to get rid migraine especially for women who suffered headache during menstrual period.
- Keeping healthy bones
Calcium is important mineral which are needed to keep healthy bones. Sunflower seeds contain some amount of calcium that make your bone strong combined with copper and magnesium. Calcium combined with magnesium are partially responsible for keeping the skeletal structure healthy and helps the body to maintain the bone strength by prevent the bones from conditions of losing mineral density like in the case of osteoporosis. Additionally it helps with blood clotting as well as bone calcification.
- Protect against Dementia and Alzheimer
Dementia or known as senility is categorized as brain disease that cause long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember while Alzheimer is one type of dementia. Both are most problem that suffered most by older people. Zinc, choline and Vitamin E in sunflower seeds can help you to protect brain from dementia sympton and Alzheimer disease. Pantothetic acid also plays an important part in this function because it help the body in synthesizing fat, regulating hormones, and maintaining healthy brain function
- Balances Blood Sugar Levels and Prevent Diabetes
Some clinical studies have shown that diet rich in all types of nuts and seeds can reduce hyperglycemia and help to balance blood sugar levels also stabilize the insulin level. This condition will lead to stable blood sugar level so it can prevent our body for having problem with Diabetes.
A lots benefit offer by sunflower seeds and unlike nuts which can cause anaphylaxis, a terrible scene of allergy which can cause fatal condition to them who suffer it, sunflower seeds are not commonly allergenic food and are not known contain measurable amount of some allergic substance like oxalates or purines. So its almost totally save to consume sunflower seeds. People with high blood pressure should avoid to consume salted sunflower seeds because it can increase the sodium intake which can be fatal for health. Remember to take enough amount of sunflower seed will be a wise concern. Eating more raw, unflavoured and untreated seeds will not be problem but you should worry if you enjoy more dry, roasted or flavoured seeds with unwanted and controversial additive substance like Monosodium Glutamat (MSG)
How to choose sunflower seeds
You can find almost sunflower seeds on store. Sunflower seeds sold by the bag are either eaten “plain” (salted only) or some of them are added with flavor by the factory or people who made it including including barbecue, pickle, hot sauce, bacon, ranch, and nacho cheese as well as others.
If you want to purchase some sunflower seeds, you can buy the vacum packaged seeds with or without salt. If you buy the seeds with the skin, avoid moldy or yellowish sunflower seed, and if possible try to smell the seed and don’t purchase the seeds with pungent smell of rancidity.
If you want to get better, fresh and organic sunflower seeds, it is possible to grow your own sunflower and harvest sunflower seed by yourself when the sunflower has reached maturity.
Creative Ways to Include Nutrient-Packed Sunflower Seeds in the Diet
There is some easy ways for you if you want to remove the shells from coated sunflower seeds, There are easier way to remove the hull from the seeds thank using your hand. Using hand while uncoated the seed will take more time and efforts. The fastest way to uncoat the sunflower seed is by grind them in a seed mill and then place them in cold water then you can wait until the shells float to the surface of water and can be skimmed off with a slotted spoon
Since sunflower seeds are so rich in nutrients, it only takes a small portion to add the healthful benefits to your diet. You can do some simple ways to add some nutrients from sunflower seeds to your diet and fulfil the daily intake of your nutrient. Here are some tips to consume sunflowers seeds :
- For big nutrition, use a small amount of sunflower seeds throughout the day, just a small package of sunflower seeds are enough for your daily sonsumption
- Add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds on your any receipe of salad for extra nutrition and crunch. Along with nuts, sunflower seeds can add more tasteful chunky salad to your meal.
- Adding some sunflower seeds to your hot or cold cereal may be a delightful way to enjoy nutricious cereal.You can also add it to your cold yogurt to add more savoury taste.
- Instead of nut which some people may have allergy you can replace it with some amount of sunflowers seeds when you bake some breads or your favorite mufffins or when you making snacks.
- U can use sunflower seeds in most of any kind recipe to replace peanuts or any nuts that may cause allergic.
By knowing all benefits of sunflower seeds make us amazed that God has created a lot of things that contained in a small sunflower seeds. So why not try to start enjoy your day with adding some sunflower seeds as your snack or food.