We often take sunflower seeds for granted, but these tiny and delicious seeds are actually packed with nutrition. Discover some of the health benefits you will gain by eating sunflower seeds regularly.
1. Sunflower Seeds Are An Excellent Source of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is sometimes known as a heart-healthy vitamin. It is a very powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the cells of the heart and the circulatory system from free radical damage. Unfortunately, many of the highly processed foods we eat today contain little or no Vitamin E.
2. They Provide A Good Source of Protein
Protein is an essential building block the body uses to repair muscle tissue. Although meat is an excellent source of protein, too much meat consumption can be damaging to health. Fortunately, there are many plant-based sources of complete and incomplete proteins. By eating a wide variety of plant-based proteins such as sunflower seeds, rice, and beans, the body will be supplied with the building blocks it needs to repair itself.
3. A Good Source of Zinc
Zinc is a mineral that helps promote fertility and may help to reduce the severity of colds.
4. A Good Source of Potassium
Potassium is a mineral that helps the heart to maintain a steady rhythm. It also helps to counteract the effect of too much salt in the diet and helps to reduce hypertension.
5. Snacking on Sunflower Seeds Can Help Reduce Hunger
Many people who are trying to lose weight by dieting find it difficult to overcome their hunger pangs between meals. Eating sunflower seeds as a snack is a healthy way to distract the mind from hunger while providing the body with nutritious food.
6. A Good Source of Healthy Fats
Many people today consume too many unhealthy fats such as saturated fats in meat and hydrogenated oils. Sunflower seeds are filled with healthy fats such as monounsaturated fatty acids.
7. Sunflower Seeds Contain the Mineral Selenium
Selenium is a mineral the body needs to have in small quantities. Studies have shown that people who live in an area where the soil is deficient in selenium have higher rates of cancer. Sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium which may play a role in reducing the incidence of cancer. Selenium can help damaged cells to repair themselves.
8. Sunflower Seeds Provide Magnesium
Magnesium is a vitally important mineral that is used in hundreds of chemical reactions that take place in the body. Unfortunately, many people do not consume adequate amounts of magnesium for optimal health. Magnesium plays a key role in regulating the heartbeat and it helps the heart to contract more forcefully. It also acts as a natural tranquilizer.
9. The Seeds Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Phytosterols in sunflower seeds can help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. This reduction in cholesterol can play an important part in maintaining good heart health.
To get the maximum health benefits from sunflower seeds, be sure to buy seeds that are very fresh and that have never been roasted or salted. Whether you prefer to buy sunflower seeds that are shelled or unshelled, the freshest seeds will have the greatest nutritional value.
Bonus: Sunflower Seed Sour Cream
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup of water
- 4 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- ¾ tsp onion powder
- ¾ tsp salt
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth. If consistency is too thick, you can simply add a bit more water. (Adding a bit more lemon juice will give it an added zing.) Garlic and onion powder can be increased for your taste preferences.