Sunflower seeds may look a little boring compared to the bright, beautiful flowers from which they are taken, but that doesn't mean they don't have a lot of great health benefits to offer. In fact, these tiny seeds are packed with plenty of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to survive. Sunflower seeds are also a great healthy snack because they are small, easy to carry around with you and can be eaten on the go. Consuming sunflower seeds regularly may even prevent certain diseases and health conditions. Read this article to learn all about the wonderful ways in which you can improve your health by simply eating these delicious seeds.
Vitamins and Nutrients
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B5
- Folate (Vitamin B9)
- Phenolic Acids
You can get a significant amount of the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs just by eating sunflower seeds. A single serving of sunflower seeds, which comes out to about one quarter cup, actually contains about 90 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E. Additionally, that same serving also contains more than half of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B1.
Other healthful nutrients found in sunflower seeds include vitamin B5, folate, manganese, magnesium, copper, tryptophan, selenium, phosphorus, lignans, arginine and phenolic acids.
In addition to containing all of these amazing vitamins and minerals, sunflower seeds also contain polyunsaturated oil. The fats in sunflower seeds have been recognized as good, heart-healthy fats rather than harmful ones. One serving of these tiny seeds equals only about 205 calories. Sunflower seeds have a winning combination of being high in protein but low in carbohydrates.
Preventing Disease and Sickness
Sunflower seeds can prevent or help with certain diseases and sicknesses like:
- Cancer (e.g. colon cancer)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart attack
- Clogged arteries
Thanks to all of the healthy vitamins and nutrients which they contain, sunflower seeds actually have the power to help prevent certain diseases and sicknesses. Since vitamin E is found in abundance in sunflower seeds, this vitamin can have a considerable impact upon those who eat sunflower seeds regularly. Vitamin E is actually a very powerful fat-soluble antioxidant which is capable of wiping out harmful free radicals. By removing these substances, the vitamin E in sunflower seeds can protect the cells and tissues which may have been damaged by the free radicals. This may prevent very serious diseases from developing in the body, such as colon cancer.
Vitamin E also plays an important role in reducing inflammation. This makes it a great thing to consume for people who have or are prone to inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Additionally, vitamin E is very important for cardiovascular health. Acting as an antioxidant, this vitamin found in sunflower seeds is able to prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the body. This can prevent a number of very serious cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis, blocked arteries, heart attack and even stroke. Many studies have proven that consuming sufficient amounts of vitamin A in your daily diet can greatly reduce the risk of having a heart attack.
Sunflower seeds also contain compounds called phytosterols, which are linked to lower cholesterol levels. These compounds have also been shown to enhance the immune system's response and even reduce the risk for certain kinds of cancer.
Additionally, cancer may be prevented by the selenium found in sunflower seeds. This trace mineral is able to trigger the repair for damaged DNA and cells while also preventing cancer cells from reproducing. Selenium also helps to improve detoxification within the body.
Other Health Benefits
Sunflower seeds are also useful for treating or relieving a number of other health conditions as well. For example, the vitamin E in sunflower seeds has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes for women experiencing menopause.
Magnesium is another very important nutrient found in sunflower seeds. This mineral offers many great health benefits, including the prevention of migraine headaches and lowering high blood pressure. Additionally, magnesium helps build healthier, stronger bones and can having a calming effect on your nerves.
Final Note About Sunflower Seeds
Before consuming them for their possible health benefits, remember that packaged sunflower seeds may contain other ingredients that can have negative effects on your health rather than positive effects. For instance, many packaged sunflower seeds are either salted or flavored, which typically means that they have a high sodium content. Look for sunflower seeds that have not been salted if you really want to get the full health benefits from these little seeds.
Although unsalted sunflower seeds are undeniably good for your health, they shouldn't be used solely as a treatment for any specific disease or condition. If you'd like to know more about how incorporating sunflower seeds into your diet can benefit your health, consult your physician.