Did you know that munching on some sunflower seeds, also known as 'surajmukhi ke Beej' in Can't offer incredible health benefits? Sunflower seeds are actually considered good for health due to its nutritional value. Find out how here. These sweet and nutty sunflower seeds are increasingly gaining popularity as snacks and as they are capable of filling. Their mild nutty flavor makes them a filling as well as nutritious food. Bones are extremely nutritious consisting of calories, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Sunflower seeds are obtained from the large circle center of the sunflower which turns throughout the day to follow the course of the day. The bright yellow center of the sunflower produces gray-green or black seeds encased in tear-drop shaped gaey or black shells often having black and white stripes. These are generally three types of sunflower seeds namely linoleic, high oleic, and NuSun. They are categorized on the basis of their levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
Now let's review the health benefits of sunflower seeds:
Sunflower Seeds: Health Benefits
1. Cardiovascular Health
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin C, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Being an antioxidant, vitamin E prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol. With oxidation, cholesterol sticks to the blood vessel vessels and causes atherosclerosis, leading to blocked arteries, heart attack or stroke. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides more than ninety percent of the daily amount of vitamin E.
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2. Lowers Cholesterol
Sunflower seeds are ranked at the top of the peanuts and seeds list for their high content of phytosterols or cholesterol lowering compounds. The bones are full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good fats that lower bad cholesterol. Besides, they are rich in fiber which contributes to lowering cholesterol in some people.
3. Supports Digestion
Due to their high content of dietary fiber, raw sunflower seeds can aid in digesting food and even cure constipation.
4. Prevents Cancer
Sunflower seeds have a high content of vitamin E, selenium, and copper with antioxidant properties. According to research, antioxidants prevent cellular damage that often leads to cancer. These nutrients prevent cancer by reducing and suppressing cellular damage from oxidants and protecting tissue from oxidant free radical damage. Sunflower seeds can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer due to their high phytosterol content. They also contain a compound called lignans, which also protects against certain types of cancer. These naturally occurring compounds can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, thus preventing colon, prostate and breast cancer.
5. Bone Health
Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium which is also necessary for strong seeds besides calcium. Most of the magnesium in the body is present in our bones and helps lend bones their physical structure while the rest is located on the surface of the bones where it is stored for the body to use as needed. Bones also contain copper which is essential for the function of enzymes involved in cross-linking collagen and elastin, thus providing strength and flexibility to bones and joints. Vitamin E is effective in reducing arthritis symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
6. Useful For Nerves
Magnesium in sunflower seeds keeps our nerves relaxed by preventing calcium from rushing to nerve cells and activating them, thereby relaxing our blood vessels and muscles too. Too little magnesium results in too much calcium having an entrance to nerve cells, causing it to send too many messages and lead to too much shrinkage.
7. Mental Health
Sunflower seeds have a positive effect on your mood by reducing the chances of depression. They contain tryptophan, an important amino acid that helps produce serotonin, an important neurotransmitter. When serotonin is released into our bodies, it relieves tension, calms the brain and promotes relaxation. Choline, a compound found in sunflower seeds helps improve memory and cognitive function. Magnesium helps reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and prevents heart attacks, pain, and fatigue. Sunflower seeds also have high amounts of potassium which helps to balance the effect of sodium on your blood and lowers blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of developing hypertension.
8. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Vitamin E in sunflower seeds is the body's main fat-soluble antioxidant. This vitamin travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. Thus, vitamin E shows significant anti-inflammatory effects, resulting in the reduction of diseases caused by free radicals and inflammation such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
9. Origin Of Antioxidants
Sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants such as selenium and vitamin E. These antioxidants prevent or limit oxidative damage to your cells, thereby protecting you from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
10. Delicious Nutty Flavor
Sunflower seeds have a crisp, nutty flavor that makes them pleasant (1). Include them in your daily diet of granola, salads and stir-fries. You can also add them to yogurt, rice, pasta, sandwiches or mix them with bread dough.
11. Stress Buster
Sunflower seeds contain a natural amount of magnesium that soothes the nerves, and eases stress and migraines, thereby relaxing your mind (2). The bones also contain tryptophan and choline which help fight anxiety and depression. Choline improves brain function and boosts memory.
12. Prevents Free Radical Damage
Sunflower seeds are full of vitamin E (tocopherol). It is a fat-soluble antioxidant that neutralizes cancer-causing free radicals and prevents them from damaging brain cells, cell membranes, and cholesterol. It also helps to maintain blood circulation and production of red blood cells (RBCs) (3).
13. Promotes Cell Formation
Sunflower is a good source of folic acid (folates). Vitamins are essential for the production of new DNA, which is necessary for the formation of new cells (4). Folates form an integral part of the diet of pregnant women because it promotes healthy neural tube formation, adequate birth weight and proper development of the baby's face, heart, spine and brain. Thus, sunflower seeds, sprouts, and oils are considered to be very useful for pregnant women.
14. High Blood Pressure Controls
Sunflower seeds and sprouts can provide a boost to your antioxidant capacity because they have rich amounts of vitamin E. This vitamin works in tandem with vitamin C and selenium to reduce high blood pressure (5).
15. Chest Congestion
Sunflower seeds and sprouts are a natural remedy to get relief from chest congestion. In Ayurveda, sprouts are thought to have the ability to encourage clearance of the lungs.This natural expectorant serves as a preventive measure against lower respiratory infections to prevent invasion of pathogens (6).
16. Prevents Osteoporosis
Sunflower seed sprouts are the best vegetarian source of protein. Protein helps in repairing muscle tissue and aids in various enzymatic functions of the body. Protein is also important for bone development and thus, prevents Osteoporosis. It helps in the proper development of the bone matrix and also supports bone strength, all your life. Sunflower seeds can be a great alternative to meat, beef or pork protein for strict vegetarians (7).
17. Potassium For Fluid Balance
Sunflower seeds are extremely rich in potassium (8). They help to meet the daily requirements of potassium ie 4,700 mg of potassium per day easily. Potassium is also useful to balance the effects of sodium on fluid balance and on lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of hypertension.
Magnesium in sunflower benefits your nerves by preventing calcium from entering nerve cells and activating them. They act as nerves, blood vessels, and muscle relaxants. Adding sunflower seeds to your daily diet can get rid of migraine, pain, high blood pressure, muscle tension, and fatigue. They can also be useful in reducing the frequency of migraines and heart attacks.
Sunflower seeds also contain tryptophan (amino acid) which produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which is responsible for relieving tension, calming the brain and promoting relaxation.
18. Lowers Risk Of Infection In Babies
Sunflower seeds lowers the risk of infection in infants and prevents disorders such as premature deliveries and low birth weight. Preterm babies are at higher risk of infection due to their underdeveloped organs and skin will act as a protective barrier (9).
19. Anti-Cancer Properties
Sunflower seeds contain a good amount of selenium proven to fight cancer. Selenium boosts DNA repair and prevents the proliferation of cancer cells. This mineral provides protection against skin, bladder, colon, and prostate cancers. Sunflower oil is also rich in carotenoids that help control cell damage and thus averts the risk of developing lung, uterine, and skin cancers (10).