Sunflower Seeds Benefits
Are you looking for a health-promoting snack? Enjoy a small bunch of mild nutty-tasting sunflower seeds with their firm, however tender texture to deal with your hunger and get a wealth of nutrition at the same time.
Here's everything you have to know about sunflower seeds, including their nutrition, benefits, and how to eat them. Let’s explore more.
What Are Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are actually sunflower plant fruits (Helianthus annuus). The seeds are reaped from the plant's large flower heads, measuring more than 12 inches in diameter. A single sunflower head can have at least 2,000 seeds.
There are two primary types of sunflower crops. One sort is grown for the seeds you eat, while the other is mainly farmed — grown for the oil.
The sunflower seeds we eat are encased in inedible black-and-white striped shells, additionally called hulls. Those utilized for extracting sunflower oil have solid black shells.
Sunflower seeds have a gentle and nutty flavor along with a firm, however tender texture. Their taste is periodically compared with the Jerusalem artichoke, another Helianthus family member.
The seeds can be eaten as a flavorful, crunchy snack or topping, or they can be used to make sunflower seed oil. They're often cooked to enhance the flavor; however, you can also buy them raw.
Nutrition Facts About Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds may seem tiny however are extremely nutritious. They contain numerous nutrients needed by our body to do diverse internal functions. The white seeds are exceptionally high in vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. These nutrients secure your body's cells against free extreme damage, reducing the danger of developing chronic diseases and increase immunity. Furthermore, they also contain compounds like flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Almost 30 grams of shelled, dry-roasted sunflower seeds contains:
- Calories: 163
- Total fat: 14 grams
- Protein: 5.5 grams
- Carbs: 6.5 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
- Niacin: 10% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
- Iron: 6% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 9% of the RDI
- Zinc: 10% of the RDI
Vitamins and Minerals
Sunflower seeds are considered a vitamin and mineral powerhouse. They are rich in vitamin E, offering about 7.4mg or just fewer than 50% of the FDA's everyday value. They are additionally a decent source of thiamin and other nutrients in smaller quantities such as niacin, vitamin B6, and folate.
Minerals in sunflower seeds include copper (68% of your daily intake), magnesium (10%), phosphorous (31%), manganese (31%) and selenium (35%), and smaller amounts of zinc, iron, and potassium.
Moreover, sunflower seeds are the decent source of beneficial plant compounds, including phenolic acids and flavonoids — which also function as antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
- Reducing inflammation
- Sunflower seeds can diminish inflammation, which is reliable for a couple of chronic diseases, including heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. According to the study done on 6,000 adults, eating sunflower and other seeds at least five times a week decreases C-reactive protein level by 32% as contrasted with others. It is believed that the possible benefits of the seeds are basically due to the presence of vitamin E.
- Good for people who have diabetes
- Individuals who have diabetes always need to keep their blood sugar level under control, and sunflowers seeds can assist with that. The tiny seeds are viable in decreasing the blood sugar level in a couple of studies. Eating a small number of seeds on a daily basis may reduce fasting blood sugar by around 10% within six months. This usually happens because of the plant compound chlorogenic acid.
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Cancers are among the primary causes of mortality around the world. While there isn't anything that can stop cancerous cells' growth, making changes in diet can reduce the chances. Sunflowers seeds include beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol that can forestall breast cancer. It controls the growth of tumor cells. There are a few different nutrients found in sunflower seeds that can assist with something similar. Taking these seeds additionally reduces the chances of colon cancer.
- Supporting the immune system
- Sunflowers seeds include zinc that is known to activate around 300 enzymes in the body and uplift immunity. They likewise contain selenium and different vitamins, which can boost immunity and fight infection. Building internal immunity is critical to protect oneself from chronic diseases.
- Reduces Cholesterol
- The fiber content in sunflower seeds can diminish the level of awful or LDL cholesterol in the blood. Apart from that, the high amount of vitamin B3 or niacin likewise reduces the level of cholesterol and vitamin B5 and increases HDL cholesterol.
- Boosts brain function
- If you are hoping to boost your brain function and increase concentration, sunflower seeds can be an extraordinary addition to your diet. The presence of vitamin B6 can eventually improve mood and focus and enhance memory. It even assists with facilitating the side effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Good for the skin
- The antifungal and antibacterial properties of sunflower seeds additionally prevent infections, keeping your skin acne-free and clean. Oleic and linoleic acids, available in sunflower seeds, help in the formation of collagen. They hinder the aging process and reduce blemishes.
How to Select and Store
Shelled or unshelled Sunflower seeds are usually available in prepackaged containers and bulk bins. Similarly, as with any other food that you may buy in the bulk section, ensure that the bins that carry the sunflower seeds are covered and that the store has a decent product turnover so as to guarantee the seeds' maximal freshness.
When buying unshelled seeds, make sure that the shells are not dirty or broken. Additionally, they ought to be firm and not have a limp surface. When purchasing shelled seeds, stay away from those that seem yellowish as they have presumably gone rancid. If you buy sunflower seeds from a mass bin, smell them to guarantee that they are still fresh and have not ruined.
Since sunflower seeds have a high-fat substance and are prone to rancidity, you should store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can likewise be stored in the freezer since the cold temperature won't significantly affect their texture or flavor.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Sunflower Seeds
If you want to eliminate the shells from unshelled sunflower seeds, there are some more easy ways to stop the shell than by hand, which requires a great deal of diligence and time. The fastest way to shell sunflower seeds is to grind them in a seed mill and afterward place them in cold water where the shells will float to the top and can be skimmed off with an opened spoon.
While not as efficient, another option for individuals who don't have seed mills is to place a small number of seeds into the bowl of an electric mixer, pulsing the blender on and off a couple of times until the shells separate yet not too many seeds are crushed. Then dive the seeds into cold water as shown above to separate them from the shells. In any case, shelled sunflower seeds are plentiful in the stores, so there is no compelling reason to go through the trouble except you have reaped them from your garden.
How to Enjoy: A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Garnish mixed green salads with sunflower seeds.
- Add sunflower seeds to your favorite chicken, tuna, or turkey salad.
- Adding these seeds to scrambled eggs will give them a unique texture and taste.
- Utilize fine ground sunflower seeds to clean your meats with in place of flour.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals.
- Sprinkle on a leafy green salad.
- Stir into hot or cold cereal along with toppings.
- Sprinkle over fruit or yogurt parfaits.
- Add to veggie burgers.
- Dip a banana or apple in sunflower seed butter.
Sunflower seeds may become blue-green when baked. This is because of a harmless chemical reaction between the seeds' chlorogenic acid and baking soda — but you can reduce the amount of baking soda to minimize this reaction.
Are there any side effects of sunflower seeds?
Sunflowers seeds are usually safe for eating; however, people may encounter some unusual results in some cases. Here are some things that you may feel after eating sunflower seeds.
- The tiny white sunflowers seeds are very high in calcium and calories. Besides, they have high sodium. If you are watching your calorie or sodium intake, you should be careful while eating sunflower seeds.
- The tiny seeds are fully loaded with several health-friendly nutrients but, at the same time, a good source of cadmium. This heavy metal can damage your kidney when present in the body in a high amount over an extensive period. An individual weighing 70 kilos must not consume more than 490 micrograms (mcg) of cadmium in a day for better health.
- If a person intentionally eats sunflower seeds with the shell, it can become problematic for the body to digest it and be passed on to the colon. Overconsumption of sunflower seeds may even become a reason for vomiting.
- Some people may even experience a hypersensitive reaction after eating sunflower seeds. Asthma, mouth swelling, breathlessness, itching of the mouth, skin rashes, high fever, lesions, vomiting, and anaphylaxis are primary symptoms of allergies caused due to the sunflower seeds. If you have a seed allergy or suspect an allergy to sunflower seeds, speak to your healthcare provider for personalized advice.