Sunflower seeds are known for their high nutritional value and distinctive nutty flavor that makes them a healthy and delicious addition to our diet.
Seeds have always been a part of various cuisines around the world. They are easy to add to any plate of food, salad, desserts or smoothies.
Sunflower seeds are packed with beneficial health properties and are rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
In this article you will find everything you need to know about sunflower seeds: what nutrients they provide, their benefits and how to eat them.
Sunflower seeds health benefits
Sunflower seeds are very healthy for our body and are so easy to add to your diet that a simple handful a day can make a difference.
You can add it to all your meals: to your breads, yogurt, salads, puree, soup, smoothie, etc.
Sunflower seeds are very good since they are very high in nutrients and are also low in calories.
This makes them great allies if you want to consume a healthy and low-calorie snack if you are looking to lose weight in a healthy way.
Increase cardiovascular health
Unlike saturated fats, moderate consumption of unsaturated fats (healthy fats) has been shown to improve heart health.
A Harvard University study found that higher consumption of seeds, including sunflower seeds, is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure.
So consuming more healthy fats, such as the fats found in sunflower seeds, can have a big impact on cardiovascular health.
Lower cholesterol levels
Flaxseeds contain several polyphenols, especially lignans, which act as powerful antioxidants in the body.
The fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds may help lower cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease.
In fact, a meta-analysis published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the results of 28 other previous studies and concluded that the consumption of seeds reduced LDL cholesterol levels (better known as bad cholesterol).
Control the functioning of the nervous system
The seeds are full of nutrients and contain substances that can help stimulate blood circulation and support the nervous system.
In this sense, sunflower seeds are rich in B vitamins, which are essential for a healthy nervous system.
Sunflower seeds can help you reduce inflammation, cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol thanks to their monounsaturated (healthy fats) and omega-6 fats.
Simply add a tablespoon of sunflower seeds to your meals and enjoy its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Fight fungal infections
According to a study published in the Chilean Journal of Infectious Diseases, sunflower seeds can fight infections caused by fungi.
According to the study, people who applied ozonated sunflower oil twice a day managed to end the fungal infection.
Slow cell degeneration
Sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants and vitamins B and E, which are essential for healthy skin.
They also contain beneficial fatty acids that can help protect the dermis and epidermis from oxidative damage that comes with age and the sun’s UV blast.
Strengthen bones and muscles
Sunflower seeds are a good source of minerals necessary for bones and muscles such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.
For example, sunflower seeds are rich in protein that is essential for protein synthesis that helps us preserve and build muscle.
As if that were not enough, they also contain trace elements such as zinc, manganese, copper, and chromium.
They fight anemia
Iron is essential for carrying oxygen from the lungs, through the blood, and to all cells in the body.
Iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia, fatigue, and infections, is more common among women who experience regular menstrual loss.
For this reason, one ounce of sunflower seeds is a good source of iron, providing 10% of the daily value.
Thanks to its high fiber, protein and healthy fat content, sunflower seeds are an excellent option to regulate appetite and avoid cravings for foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.
Thanks to the macronutrient content present in sunflower seeds, the consumption of seeds can regulate blood sugar, which will help to avoid constant cravings for sugary foods.
Sunflower seeds contain many nutrients such as vitamin E and selenium. It is a beneficial plant compound that may help prevent cancer, as selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells.
These seeds can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce their apoptosis (the death of damaged cells). Additionally, selenium contains a protein that is important for protection against cancer.
Improve skin and hair
Sunflower seeds help promote radiant, youthful skin. This is because it is rich in vitamin E, the main fat-soluble antioxidant in the body.
These antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals that can threaten the health of skin cells.
However, this can be the result of smoking, pollution, and unhealthy foods.
In this sense, a quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides 90% of the daily needs of vitamin E, which is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce the risk of inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. .
Reduce stress and improve mood
Sunflower seeds are full of tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, both of which influence sleep and mood.
To enjoy their anti-stress and mood-boosting effects, simply add them to your favorite recipe or sprinkle some on your food for flavor, nutrients, and crunch.
Enhance male fertility
Sunflower seeds are high in zinc, the essential mineral for testosterone production. Therefore, sunflower seeds are beneficial for the reproductive health of men.
Sunflower seed consumption is linked to adequate sperm levels, thanks to vitamin E, a nutrient that increases sperm count.
Properties of sunflower seeds
Each 1/4 cup (34 g) of roasted sunflower seeds provides:
- Calories: 207
- Fat: 19g
- Sodium: 1mg
- Carbohydrates: 7g
- Fiber: 3.9g
- Proteins: 5.8g
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E, providing approximately 7.4 mg or just under 50% of your daily intake.
They are also an excellent source of thiamine and a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, and folate.
Minerals in sunflower seeds include: copper (50% of your daily intake), magnesium (23%), phosphorus (18%), manganese (27%), and selenium (21%) and smaller amounts of zinc, iron and potassium.
Although they do not belong to the lowest calorie seeds, no one can deny that a 100-gram handful of shelled sunflower seeds are not a good healthy and low-calorie snack that will keep you busy for a long time.
How to consume sunflower seeds?
There are many ways to consume sunflower seeds. You can add them to a smoothie with fruit, or sprinkle toasted and shelled seeds on your salads, puree or even in the dough to make bread or pizza.
Here are some recipes:
roasted sunflower seeds
This recipe is very simple and quick to make and you only need two ingredients.
- Shelled sunflower seeds (optional amount)
- Nonstick skillet
- Heat the pan over a moderate heat and once the temperature rises, add the shelled sunflower seeds.
- As they toast, be sure to stir so they all toast evenly.
- Once they take on a golden color, remove them from the heat and let them cool before storing in a glass jar.
Seasoned Sunflower Seeds
This recipe is ideal for a healthy snack, for parties or to snack on while watching a movie.
- Shelled sunflower seeds 50 grams
- curries 2 teaspoons
- a pinch of salt
- Olive oil 1 tablespoon
- Water 1 tablespoon
- Mix all the ingredients and leave the seeds marinating in the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
- Then, heat the nonstick skillet over moderate heat and once the temperature rises, add the shelled sunflower seeds.
- As they toast, be sure to stir so they toast evenly.
- Once golden brown, remove from heat and allow to cool before storing or serving.
sunflower seed water
This is a great way to make a healthy non-dairy milk, and best of all, you only need three ingredients.
- Sunflower seeds (raw and unsalted, 1 cup)
- Water (4 cups)
- Sweetener or Stevia to taste
- Soak the seeds in the water and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
- Then, pour everything into a food processor, along with the sweetener, and process until smooth.
- You can use a cloth to strain the liquid before storing it in a glass bottle.