With all the minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids present in sunflower seeds, you are spoiled for recipe choices where this amazing health seed is concerned. In fact, one of the healthiest oils in the world is sunflower oil, extracted from the kernels.
- With the sheer wealth of polyphenols present in these seeds, especially caffeic, quinic, and chlorogenic acids, you can expect an amazing boost to your health. These natural antioxidants battle harmful oxidants in your system. On a similar note, blood pressure is greatly reduced by chlorogenic acid. It does this by reducing the liver’s glycogen breakdown functions.
- As for B-complex vitamins, you will find pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) and niacin in large quantities in sunflower seeds. With just 100g of these seeds, you get 52% of the daily recommended intake. Working to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) in your blood, sunflower seeds battle a plethora of ailments. In fact, its B-complex vitamins ensure healthy GABA activity in your brain; neurosis and anxiety is reduced if not removed. Other such vitamins present in sunflower seeds include thiamin (vitamin B-1), pantothenic and folic acids, and roboflavin.
- Particularly rich in linoleic acid, which is a type of poly-unsaturated fatty acid, you will find that sunflower seeds pack ‘burnable’ calories. Also containing oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, the good cholesterol HDL in your blood is encouraged and LDL, as mentioned earlier, is taken down.
- Loaded with ideal amounts of tryptophan, a natural compound essential for growth, in addition to proteins and amino acids, sunflower seeds are quite the all-rounders in the health department. In the same 100g measure, you get 21g of protein, which is 37% of the daily recommended intake.
- Minerals crucial to the health of your body exist in sunflower seeds. Iron selenium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper are all present to aid in bone mineralization, skeletal and cardiac muscle functions, enzyme secretion, red blood cell production, and hormone regulation. In this sub-benefit alone, the sheer power of sunflower seeds is made amnifest.
- One of the most sublime fatty acids extant in these seeds is folic acid, renowned for its role in DNA synthesis. Folic acid has even shown to prevent neural tube defects for mothers in pre-conception periods. 100g of sunflower kernels contain 227 µg of folic acid, which is remarkable indeed.
- One of the richest sources of Vitamin E, sunflower seeds possesses one of the most potent lipid soluble antioxidants among natural foods. Containing about 37g of vitamin E per 100g of seeds, you get a whopping 234% of RDA recommended intake levels to ensure cell membrane integrity of mucus membranes, not to forget skin. Oxygen-free radicals are the enemy. By battling it, Vitamin E promotes youthful skin and healthy internal functions.
- Not only are they crunchy and nutty, sunflower seeds are powerful sources of organically-produced energy. There are only 584 calories in 100g of sunflower seeds, meaning your body will readily burn that handful of calories and convert them to energy not fat.
With such wholesome benefits coming from sunflower seeds, you can imagine what they can do for your health if you add them to your daily diet. If you happen to shop for them online or in stores, you will find sunflower seeds taking different forms: roasted, hulled, and salted, whole-seeds, and so on.
Once you buy sunflower seeds, do not heat, merely store them at room temperature. You will need to subject them to something different only when you use them in cooking. If you want to refrigerate them, put them in an airtight container before doing so.
There are several culinary options for you to select to best enjoy sunflower seeds:
- Add to casseroles, salad dressings (they impart superb crunchiness to salads), and baked goods including cakes and muffins.
- Take them as health-snacks, roasted or salted.
- If you can get your hands on dark bread, aka sunflower bread, well and good; these are a staple in Germany and Central Europe.
- You can add them as garnishing on sautéed vegetables or take the kernels to fried-rice dishes.
For more information on buying sunflower seeds, go here.