Mix ‘em with cereals, sprinkle ‘em over salad, top ‘em over bread, or simply enjoy them all on their own—there’s so many ways to enjoy the nutty, delicious taste of sunflower seeds. Despite their size, sunflower seeds are full of vitamins and minerals, essential oils and antioxidants. Eaten in moderation, they’re a great way to add more seeds into your diet.
Enjoy a handful of sunflower seeds and reap the health-promoting benefits they have to offer.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, a potent fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals and inhibits cholesterol oxidation. Oxidized cholesterol sticks to arterial walls and initiates the development of atherosclerosis, which could lead to blocked arteries, heart attack and stroke.
Much of the calories found in sunflower seeds come from polyunsaturated fatty acids; linoleic acid constitutes 50% of its fatty acid content. They are also rich in monounsaturated oleic acid that are shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood.
Bone and Nerve and Muscle Tone Benefits
Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium, which helps your body produce energy and healthy bones. A one-fourth cup serving of sunflower seeds supplies you with 28% of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium.
Sunflower seeds can also help you relax. Nerve cells rely on calcium to regulate the release of neurotransmitters. Magnesium regulates the entry of calcium into the nerve cells, keeping the nerves from becoming overactivated and the blood vessels and muscles relaxed.
These tiny seeds supply an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that is linked with several anti-cancer properties. Research has shown that selenium promotes DNA repair and production in damaged cells, helps stop the spread of cancer cells, and induces their self-destruction or apoptosis.
Sunflower seeds provide a good supply of polyphenols, such as quinic acid, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acids. These compounds act as antioxidants which protects cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to many chronic illnesses and premature aging.