The golden spiraled sunflower, is a flower that can grow into a gargantuan beauty, with its center studded with seeds, forming a spiral-like pattern circled with bright-yellowed petals. There are many kinds of sunflowers out there, and growing these in one's backyard can be quite an experience. The seeds are edible, encased in shells that come in black, or grayish green, or even in black and white stripes.
My mom loved eating these seeds, although not overindulging herself since there are a lot of ill effects that can take place if you overeat these tasty bits. The name sunflower, takes its root from the Latin name, Helianthus annuus, from the family Helianthus. They contain high oil content and is used in making polyunsaturated oil. Sunflower seeds can be eaten as a quick snack, and can be used for many other purposes.
Sunflower Seeds Nutrition
The mineral and vitamin content within these seeds is abundant and healthful in their individual properties. The minerals comprise magnesium, copper, phosphorous and selenium, with vitamins like vitamin B1 and B5, folate, and vitamin E. A quarter cup of these a day give you a dose of vitamin E that accounts for about 90 percent of one's recommended daily serving of this vital element. Because sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, they also help combat against cardiovascular problems linked to high cholesterol levels. It can greatly reduce the effects of anxiety, stress and depression, being a rich source of nutrients that encase vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that protect one's system and most importantly for heavyset people - their heart.
Are Sunflower Seeds Bad for Your Health?
Sunflower seeds are known to have many health related properties, that benefit those who include these seeds into their everyday diet. You need to eat these seeds in moderation since overeating sunflower seeds can cause some serious health problems.
- It improves one's eyesight.
- Acts as a diuretic.
- Increases energy levels.
- Has a relaxing effect on the brain, due to the presence of tryptophan, which increases serotonin in the brain.
- Helps ease constipation.
- Treats osteoarthritis.
- Helps lessens the effects of asthma.
- Promotes bone strength and flexibility due to the presence of magnesium and copper.
- Lowering blood pressure.
- Treats rheumatoid arthritis.
- Eases chest pain.
- Eliminates ulcers.
- Repairs, builds and maintains body tissues, being a rich source of protein.
- Good source of vitamin E.
- Sunflower seeds and heart health are interlinked, since it removes homocysteine which is an amino acid that is linked to heart disease.
- Strengthens the immunity system.
- Balances one's glucose levels.
- Lowers cholesterol levels.
- Helps in treating worms.
- It is a healthy source of B complex vitamins.
- Regulates the amount of calcium that hurriedly enters into nerve cells, thus keeping them relaxed while also easing muscles from stress.
Effects of Eating Too Many Sunflower Seeds
Eating these seeds are perfectly harmless, but knowing just how much is all right for your body is key.
- One cup of sunflower seeds adds up to about 800 calories, which can cause weight gain if you overindulge yourself.
- They can easily go bad, so make sure you store them in airtight containers and refrigerate them, since stale seeds aren't good for consumption.
- If seeds aren't chewed properly before being ingested, it can cause problems to the intestines.
- A cup of sunflower seeds (with the shells on), is the ideal, adequate serving that a person can consume in a day. Eating more than this can lead to nerve damage. B6 is an important vitamin for the body, but if ingested in large amounts, can prove to be problematic. Symptoms like a tingly sensation in the neck or feet, lack of muscle coordination, and numbness, are commonly witnessed after an overdose of B6.
- Since one needs to constantly crack open the shell, this habit can later cause tooth damage. It is advisable to buy shelled sunflower seeds.
- Seeds that are deep-fried, coated with salt or chemicals are not safe to eat, and can cause damage over the long run.
Uses of Sunflower Seeds
These seeds can be used in anything that you'd wish to add their flavor to. It gives a nice added texture to food, adding a nutty taste to it especially if you first roast them, or lightly fry them in olive oil. You can use these seeds for.
- Garnishing salads, to give it that nice flourish of flavor.
- Crumble and lightly dust it on desserts and snacks like mousse, ice cream, Jell-O, muffins, cookies or custard.
- Add it to your eggs in the morning when making omelet.
- Can be eaten as a healthy snack to munch on during midday.
- Add it to meals like lasagna, pasta or cream-based dishes.
Sunflower seeds like other kinds, can be experimented with in the kitchen. They may be good for you, but like all foods you need to go easy on eating these. Have a healthy tomorrow.