Till recent times there was not much talk about the Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds, not because there were no benefits as such, but because we were not aware of superfoods, especially sunflower seeds.
I took almost two complete days writing this post, I had gone through so many research papers that I could write a review paper on the Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds.
Well, this post is almost similar to a review paper, I have simplified it into different heads so that you would not want to just skip anything.
Sunflower seeds botanically are cypsela and arise from the head of sunflower. These seeds have a hard pericarp and are edible only when the pericarp is removed.
After the pericarp is dehulled (removed), the sunflower seeds become the tasty kernels or heart.
Sunflower seeds are differentiated depending on the stripes on their hulls. Black seeds are suitable for oil extraction and the striped ones are suitable for eating raw or processed. These are called the confectionery sunflower seeds.
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower Seeds are superfoods and are rich in rare but essential nutrients which otherwise is not easily from food.
If you were to check top 10 list of foods rich in vitamin E, Copper, B Vitamins, Phosphorus and Selenium – Sunflower seeds would be among the first few.
Health Benefits of sunflower seeds begins with the presence of specific fatty acids – Linoleic Acid.
I know you must be thinking why I have directly come to fatty acids. While for a few decades we have been made to believe that all fatty acids are bad for the heart. Fatty foods are directly related to weight gain.
Well you need to understand that it is technically and scientifically disproven and healthy fat that is good for heart has begun being proposed for healthy lifestyle.
Even our own Ghee and coconut oil have made a comeback (from west of course)
Sunflower seeds also contain great amounts of fiber that would sooth you digestive and excretory systems.
Nutritional Facts of Sunflower Seeds
A ¼ cup serving of sunflower seeds provides (in value recommended values)
190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber
- 82% of Vitamin E
- 70% DV of copper
- 43% Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- 34% of manganese
- 34% of selenium
- 33% of phosphorus
- 28% of magnesium
- 28% of Vitamin B6
- 20% of folate
- 18% of Vitamin B3
Here is a list of 6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds you are going to be amazed with.
Helps You Say Bye To Heart Diseases
Presence of high amounts of cancer prevention agent Vitamin E (80% of the daily prescribed amount in just ¼ cup of seeds) reduces risk of promoting or aggravation many diseases.
Vitamin E, otherwise called gamma-tocopherol, is an effective cell fortification is found in nuts and seeds including sunflower seeds.
Specialists now realize that regular consumption of sunflower seeds would give you relief from extended hazard of coronary illness, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and even genuine neuro-degenerative issues like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s ailment.
Sunflower seeds have seen to balance cholesterol levels, decrease hypertension and thereby reduce occurrence of coronary illness (which usually arises due to cholesterol accumulation in the blood vessels)
In a recent study published in NCBI on Health Benefits of Nut Consumption it was definitely proved that nuts such as sunflower seeds consistently showed beneficial effects on hypertension, cancer, and inflammation.
Nut intake also showed cholesterol-lowering effect, beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Blood pressure, visceral adiposity and the metabolic syndrome also appeared to be positively influenced by nut consumption.
Thus it is clear that nuts have a beneficial impact on many cardiovascular risk factors
Presence of Vitamin E in high amounts is very beneficial for human health. Vitamin E plays a key role in building strong immunity in our body.
Vitamin E is actually a collection of 8 molecules. These molecules have different forms of tocopherol and tocotrienols. They are collectively called vitamin E.
Vitamin E is seen to have great importance especially in fighting against diseases.
- They improve T-cell mediated immune function, which boosts the immune system.
- enhance the body’s antibody response to vaccinations
- Vitamin E may also be able to protect against age-related cognitive decline particularly Alzeimers and Parkinsons
2. Avoids Cancer Due to High Antioxidant Content
Before we go into how cancer is avoided let us know what induces cancerous growth. According to a paper published in Nutritional Journal the following play a major role in increasing cancer risk.
- nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour,
- low fiber intake,
- consumption of red meat, and
- imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats
However you would be glad to hear that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone.
Diet containing vitamin E, selenium, folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, chlorophyll, and antioxidants such as the carotenoids (α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin) taken regularly will help in reducing 60 to 70% of cancer risk.
How Sunflower Seeds Fight Cancer
Studies have demonstrated that vitamin E is a natural cancer fighter and ¼ cup of sunflower seeds have in them 80% of daily recommended dose.
The major function of Vitamin E in the body is to act as an antioxidant. Free radicals which have destructive effect on the cells and even DNA are quickly recognized and acted upon by Vitamin E.
This prevents mutations and tumorous growths. Specific results have been seen in prostrate, colon and lung cancers.
Selenium an antioxidant that is found to be effective against breat cancer is present in sunflower seeds. Selenium aids in DNA repair and also stops any growth in cancerous cells. It also induces self-destruction of tumors.
3. Sunflower Seeds and Thyroid Function
Thyroid imbalance is on a raise these days. In India it is estimated that 42 million people suffer from thyroid imbalance. Women are more susceptible to the different forms of thyroid disease especially hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that arises from deficiency of minerals such as selenium and magnesium.
Thyroid gland as we have already seen is very important for the overall body metabolism and has serious increase in weight and hair fall and even skin texture.
Selenium and magnesium micronutrients are found to be present in thyroid gland. Selenium has found to be in the highest amount per gram of thyroid gland tissue .
A recent study has suggested that selenium supplementation to patients with thyroid imbalance has reduced the antithyroid antibody levels which in turn has improved thyroid disease conditions especially hypothyroidism.
Maintaining selenium and magnesium is a prerequisite to prevent thyroid disease and thereby overall health. Supplementation with organic source of these micronutrient is more effective and patients with autoimmune diseases have benefited immunologicaly.
Thus the presence of high amounts of selenium and magnesium increases the health benefits of sunflower seeds to magnanimously.
4. Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds On Bone Structure
Magnesium is micronutrient that controls the formation of your body’s bone structure.It helps in making your bones strong and also your teeth hard.
- Magnesium basically helps the thyroid gland to produce calcitonin which is a bone preserving hormone
- Regulates the function of Parathyroid hormone – the function of which is to break the bone structure.
- Magnesium is also necessary to convert vitamin D into its active form and if there is a deficiency of magnesium a syndrome known as vitamin D resistance occurs, which hinders the formation of new calcium crystals.
- Magnesium also stimulates the enzyme alkaline phosphatase which helps in formation of new calcium crystals.
So with no further ado, let me tell you that magnesium is intricately involved with bone formation and maintenance of bone health. A deficiency in magnesium is going to causes osteoporosis in the long run.
Sunflower seeds are thus a boon to help you maintain magnesium at good levels in your blood and body.
5. Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds For Diabetes
Diabetes especially type two diabetes or the one which is not dependent on insulin is a widely occurring metabolic disorder in middle aged people and is mostly characterized by hyperglycemia.
Sunflower seeds have very less calories and are rich sources of minerals vitamins and essential fatty acid. The kernels are rich sources of B complex vitamins especially niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
In a study conducted on the blood glucose levels of type two diabetes patients sunflower seeds have proved to show positive and better results in regulating the Fasting blood glucose levels. It also helped in increases of HDL (good cholesterol) in the patients.
6. Enhances Skin Health
Studies have demonstrated that cancer prevention agent Vitamin E is particularly helpful for maintaining soft, well nourished, taunt and healthy skin.
Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin E and Linoleic acid that helps in keeping skin hydrated and free from sun harm.