Are Sunflower Seeds Good For You?

Sonia Nair Feb 8, 2019
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People like to munch on nuts and seeds as healthy snacks. Sunflower seeds are also used in the same way, but are they good for you? Let us find out.
Most of us are familiar with sunflower oil, which is widely used for culinary purposes. The seeds from which this oil is extracted, are also edible, and are considered highly nutritious. The Native Americans have been using sunflower seeds as a food item, for a very long time.
They cultivated sunflower plants in large numbers, and collected the largest seeds year after year, thereby developing the largest sunflowers in the world. These seeds were the staple food of the Native Americans, before they started consuming corn and beans. Today, sunflower is among the major crops in the United States and many other countries.

Sunflower Seed Nutrition

Apart from satisfying your taste buds with their nutty flavor, sunflower seeds are also nutritionally dense. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds is enough to provide you 55% of your daily requirement of B1 Thiamine, 90% of vitamin E, 36% of manganese, 32% of magnesium, 25% of phosphorous, and 20% of folate.
Other vitamins and minerals are present in traces. These seeds contain around 18 types of amino acids too.

Health Benefits

Being rich in vitamins and minerals, sunflower seeds have anti-inflammatory properties and cardiovascular benefits. The high vitamin E content in these seeds is beneficial for reducing the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It can also be effective for preventing colon cancer and hot flashes in women, during menopause. Vitamin E is also useful for preventing cardiovascular diseases, like atherosclerosis, as it hinders oxidation of cholesterol.
Sunflower seeds are rich in phytosterols, which can reduce the cholesterol level in the human body; and also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
These seeds contain a good amount of magnesium, which helps to lower blood pressure, prevent migraine attacks, and to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium is also essential for bone health and for soothing nerves. Sunflower seeds contain a trace mineral called selenium, which plays a vital role in protecting the body against cancer.
Sunflower seeds are consumed mainly as a healthy snack, and are also used for garnishing. You may also use them as ingredients in some food recipes. These seeds are available with the shells or as kernels, sans the shells. These seeds can also be sprouted and consumed raw, or can be added to salads.
The kernels are also roasted and dusted with salt or flour in order to preserve them. Roasted seeds are also equally good; but raw, unsalted and shelled ones are considered the best.
Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.