Sunflowers have abundant health benefits that ensure a healthy life in the long run. You can reap the health benefits of sunflowers in two different ways, one way is with sunflower seeds and the other is from sunflower oil. Sunflower seeds are popular in trail mix, multi-grain bread and nutrition bars, as well as for snacking straight from the bag. They’re rich in healthy fats, beneficial plant compounds and several vitamins and minerals. Cultures all around the world have been enjoying sunflower seeds for generations. However, many people are unacquainted with the health benefits of eating sunflower seeds. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, these seeds are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. They are rich in magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc and iron. The health- improving, natural sunflower oil comes from sunflower seeds. This oil is light both in taste and appearance. Sunflowers are known to be the most versatile vegetable oil, as you can cook nearly any recipe with this oil.
These flowers are believed to have originated in Mexico and Peru. In the United States, sunflowers are known to have been cultivated during ancient times. The Native Americans used sunflowers for more than 5,000 years. Sunflower seeds are especially high in vitamin E and selenium. These function as antioxidants to protect your body’s cells against free radical damage, which plays a role in several chronic diseases. Some people worry about eating sunflower seeds because of their high fat content. Although these seeds are rich in oil, it is the healthy form of plant oil that provides your body with polyunsaturated fats.
Amazing health benefits of Sunflower seeds
- Heart Disease:
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. A compound in sunflower seeds blocks an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict. As a result, it may help your blood vessels relax, lowering your blood pressure.
- Lowers Blood Cholesterol Level:
Sunflower seeds may lower bad cholesterol (LDL) in serum. You also feel a sense of satiety when you eat them. This is because they are high in calories. Eating sunflower seeds can fill you up, so you don’t binge on high-cholesterol foods.
Studies suggest that people who eat 1 ounce (30 grams) of sunflower seeds daily as part of a healthy diet may reduce fasting blood sugar by about 10% within six months, compared to a healthy diet alone. Eating them and pumpkin seeds can prevent your blood sugar levels from shooting up (hyperglycemia). Sunflower seeds can decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through their menopause, thereby reducing the development of diabetic complications.
- Stool Blockages:
Eating sunflower seeds in the shell may increase your odds of fecal impaction, as you may unintentionally eat shell fragments, which your body cannot digest.
- Cardiovascular Health:
Sunflower seeds may help in controlling your blood cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol level means a low risk of atherosclerosis and other heart diseases. Sunflower seeds also exhibit anti-hypertensive effects. Oxidized cholesterol adheres to the blood vessels and initiates the process of atherosclerosis, which can block the arteries, leading to heart attack and stroke. folate has been shown to promote cardiovascular health from birth to old age. It metabolizes homocysteine, an indicator of cardiovascular concerns into methionine an essential amino acid.
- Anti-Inflammatory Benefits:
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E neutralizes the effects of free radicals, preventing the damage of fat containing structures and molecules. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce the symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Sunflower and its oil and seeds are known for their anti-inflammatory effects as they contain active tocopherols (vitamin E), linoleic acid, linolenic acid, triterpenes and miscellaneous polyphenolic compounds.
- Lower risk of Cancer:
Sunflower seeds enhance the immune response, thereby decreasing the risk of certain cancers. The vitamin E and high fiber content in sunflower seeds reduce the possibility of colon cancer.
- Vitamin E:
Vitamin E also protects the components of lipoproteins, which traffic fats throughout the body. Failure to get enough vitamin E can result in neurological problems, such as balance problems, lack of coordination, muscle weakness and eye damage.
- Eases Constipation:
High fiber foods like sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, soy nuts, and other nuts/seeds work as laxatives to help ease constipation.
- Regulates Estrogen Imbalances:
Sunflower seeds are one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant-based metabolites.
- Might Possess Antimicrobial Property:
Sunflower seeds are a filling, healthy and tasty snack. These seeds can be eaten by young and old, whether you have diabetes or are battling cancer.
- Allergic Reactions:
One might develop a skin condition, rashes, swollen tongue and larynx, allergic rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis, conjunctivitis and/or edema after eating sunflower seeds. If you already have acne vulgaris, sunflower seeds can aggravate it because these seeds have high-fat content and trigger comedogenic sebum.
- Alzheimer’s disease:
Some evidence suggests that failure to get enough copper may be associated with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions. It is also important for cardiovascular functioning.
- Nervous Health:
A deficiency in magnesium causes the nerve cells to become overactive, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction.
Sunflower seeds are usually employed to extract the edible oil. Sunflower oil is one of the most popular oils in the world. Its success, as well as its safety, made it a valuable option. Today magnesium plays an essential role in homeopathic therapies for mental health. Research has shown that sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E. They have almost zero cholesterol! Binging on them can be great for your skin, heart, liver and overall health. It also has recently been identified for its critical role in thyroid hormone metabolism.
Sunflower seeds may turn blue-green when baked. This is due to a harmless chemical reaction between the seeds’ chlorogenic acid and baking soda. Sunflower seeds are a great snack but it’s important to keep it healthy. Many of the available-everywhere varieties are roasted and loaded with high-sodium flavorings.