Sunflower seeds offer a multitude of health benefits that range from detoxifying properties to providing a good source of protein and healthy fats. The sunflower seeds are a small crunchy seed that is enjoyed raw or roasted as a snack or added to recipes including salads, bread and cookies.
The sunflower seed comes from the beautiful sunflower and it bears the scientific name Helianthus annus. Most sunflower species are native to North America but they are grown in South America as well.
Sunflower seeds are a great source of minerals including magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, and selenium. They also contain healthy amino acids and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
- Supports Healthy Bones: Minerals are an essential part of strong healthy bones. While calcium is important, the minerals help ensure the bone density levels and prevent deteriorating and debilitating issues such as osteoporosis. The minerals present in sunflower seeds include copper, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are all beneficial to healthy bones.
- Supports Blood Sugar Levels: Sunflower seeds are a good source of fiber, magnesium, and healthy fatty acids, all of which help the body metabolize sugar more efficiently. The fiber helps reduce the rate at which the body absorbs blood sugar and the fatty acids and magnesium help to regulate it and even support the body in being less sensitive to insulin, which maintains energy levels.
- Reduces LDL Cholesterol: The healthy fats that are present in sunflower seeds and almost all nuts and seeds support the body in proper digestion and getting rid of toxins which help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Assists in Digestion: Due to the high fiber content in sunflower seeds, bulk is added to the stools which help the body eliminate toxins and bad bacteria.
- Provides Essential Vitamins for Healthy Skin and Hair: Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E and important minerals, which help support healthy skin and hair. Vitamin E helps keep skin looking youthful and also protects the body for damage caused by UV rays. Also, the minerals that include calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium help stimulate blood flow, which supports glowing healthy skin and shiny hair.
- Helps Maintain Weight: Sunflower seeds not only help support a healthy weight but may help with weight loss. The fiber content in them helps keep you feeling full longer and it also helps the body excrete wastes. The fiber also slows down the body’s processes of absorbing glucose into the bloodstream, providing more stable energy levels. Additionally, the minerals and B vitamins work in conjunction with the fiber to help in this process.
- May Reduce Cancer Risks: The selenium content in sunflower seeds is a trace mineral that has been shown to help the body in detoxification. It works with other minerals to reduce the oxidative stress within the cells of the body. This cell damaging oxidation process occurs in the presence of free radicals is directly linked to cancer formation. Thus the presence of selenium and vitamin E both help repair cell damage that occurs from oxidative stress.
Whether you prefer sunflower seeds raw or toasted, pre-shelled or in the shell, they are a convenient tasty snack and an easy way to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, protein, and good fats. Sunflowers are also made into butter and oil providing great healthy alternatives in your kitchen.