Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds | L’Orenta Nuts
Sunflower seeds have been part of the human diet for centuries. They are one of the most popular seed foods in the world today because of the numerous health benefits they provide when eaten regularly. Yet many people aren’t aware of these benefits.
Sunflower seeds are a nutrient-dense source of essential vitamins and minerals vital to maintaining good health, including vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1, manganese, and selenium.
Where are sunflower seeds grown?
While still grown in North America, the largest producers are Ukraine and Russia, where they grow more readily than other oil-seed crops such as corn, soybeans and olives. Together they produce almost half of the world’s sunflower seeds. Argentina, China, Romania, Bulgaria, and Tanzania are also major producers of sunflower seeds in the world
What is the best way to consume them?
The two major uses for sunflower seeds are as oils and food. Sunflower seeds are commonly eaten in trail-mix, nutrition bars, in multi-grain bread or on their own. The richness of fats, minerals and vitamins are the reason behind them being so beneficial to your health.
The two major uses for sunflower seeds are as oils and food. You can tell the difference between the two seeds due to their color. The kind we eat, which come from the confection crop, have white stripes on them. Oil seeds are black and are typically smaller than confection crop seeds.
The Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflowers seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals that are
essential for good health. They also contain a high source of plant compounds such as flavonoids and phenolic acids which are powerful antioxidants. Once sprouted, the compounds and their effectiveness increases. These beneficiary compounds and nutrients are effective for the following health concerns:
1. Regulates Blood Pressure
One of the biggest risks to your heart health is high blood pressure. It can lead to a stroke or a heart attack. Sunflower seeds are a great source of magnesium and linoleic acid, which work together to lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, regulating the flow of blood.
If you have high blood pressure, just a handful of sunflower seeds, around 3 oz. a day may lower your blood pressure and help regulate it.
2. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have found that sunflower seeds contain chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. The research suggests that someone who eats a 1 oz. serving per day can lower their blood sugar level up to 10 percent within six weeks.
They are a seed highly recommended to diabetic patients, especially those with type 2 diabetes. You can consume them in a number of ways and when consumed with carbohydrates, it can decrease their effect on your blood sugar.
May Prevent Heart Disease
Sunflower seeds have the highest amount of phytosterols, which is a plant molecule closely associated with heart health. They have a superior profile in comparison to other seeds.
The fiber, fatty acids, and vitamins of sunflower seeds also help reduce the risk of a heart condition.
They are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E. Vitamin E has strong anti-inflammatory properties which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Research suggests that foods rich in vitamin E can be benefi-cial to heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. Reduced Inflammation
Chronic inflammation increases the risk of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A high consumption of nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, reduced this risk by reducing inflammation. In fact, sunflower seeds exceeded all the other nuts and seeds in this effect.
Sunflower seeds have a high monounsaturated and omega-6 content, which are known for their inflammation fighting benefits. Regular consumption of the seeds shows to reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a key chemical linked with inflammation.
The high vitamin E content of sunflower seeds also helps lower C-reactive protein levels involved in the inflammatory response. Other plant components and flavonoids present also help.
Improves Bone Health
Sunflower seeds contain a healthy amount of fats, minerals,
vitamins and proteins which are key for bone health. In particular they are high in vitamin E, B-complex and magnesium which are beneficial for osteoporosis patients, therefore can help anyone without bone disease. The magnesium content found in sunflower seeds promotes bone elasticity which is good for joints and bones to become more flexible.
The seeds are also extremely high in phosphorus and magnesium, which works alongside the calcium in your body to promote and strengthen bones. Phosphorus helps maintain bone mineral density and prevents loss of these essential bone minerals.
This is especially important for women. Osteoporosis is one of the conditions that affect women more than men. Women are four times more likely to be affected by this condition.
Improves Cholesterol Levels
A study by Science Daily found that sunflower seeds are among the best seeds for lowering cholesterol. The phytosterol compounds found in sunflower seeds help reduce heart disease by reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol. Those with a high cholesterol may therefore benefit from daily consumption of sunflower seeds, helping to balance the LDL with the good cholesterol, HDL.
The fiber in sunflower seeds also helps to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Vitamin B3 and niacin present in sunflower seeds also reduces total cholesterol levels, and vitamin B5 helps increase HDL or good cholesterol.
Supports Brain Function
The high magnesium content also provides benefits for the nervous system. Magnesium is naturally found in the neural receptors in your nerve cells and for them to function properly, and if not better, more magnesium is welcome.
Sunflower seeds contain Magnesium which supports neural receptors known as NDMA, which are required for good memory, learning and brain development.
Reduces the Risk of a Stroke
Sunflower seeds reduce the risk of stroke. An enzyme found in sunflower seeds stops blood vessels from constricting. Its high vitamin E content is beneficial for those prone to strokes.
Excellent Source of Antioxidants
Sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin E. Research found that vitamin E helps with anti-aging, and fights off free radicals to protect cells against damage.
10. Supports the Immune System
Vitamin E, selenium, and zinc present in sunflower seeds make them one of the best immunity boosters. Vitamin E provides protection against infections by boosting the immune response. It is also an antioxidant and helps prevent the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Selenium and Zinc also enhance immunity and decrease oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Helps Cut Belly Fat
Sunflower seeds are packed with polyunsaturated fats or good fats. They are also a good addition to a weight loss diet. Filled with protein, fiber and essential minerals like vitamin E, folate and copper, these seeds can make for a healthy sustainable weight loss.
Supports Thyroid Function
Approximately 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disorders, and selenium deficiency is a leading cause. Since sunflower seeds are very high in selenium, just a handful daily can be of benefit. Selenium is effective for treating autoimmune thyroiditis and Graves’ orbitopathy, also called thyroid eye disease.
13. Improves Skin Health
The vitamin E found in sunflower seeds also benefits the
appearance and elasticity of our skin, and it is also helpful in reducing scarring and signs of aging. The antioxidant selenium found in sunflower seeds along with the vitamin E aids in repairing the skin as well.
The copper and vitamin E content of sunflower seeds is great for boosting collagen to improve the skin’s appearance and slow down aging. Sunflower seed oil has also been manufactured into skin care products due to their profoundness with improving skin.
Sunflowers seeds are also packed with copper which increases the production of melanin, the pigment that enhances glowing skin.
14. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
A number of vitamins and minerals found in sunflower seeds have properties to aid better function of the body, skin, bones and heart but there is one that stands out for reducing the risk of cancer. The antioxidants Vitamin E and Selenium are the beneficial factors here.
Studies suggest that vitamin E can specifically help decrease the risk of lung cancer and prostate cancer in men.
The selenium in sunflower seeds is an important antioxidant for breast cancer prevention. Research shows that selenium can help with DNA repair and detoxify the body of damaged cells. Selenium can stop cancer cell proliferation and delay tumor growth.
Research suggests that vitamin E along with the fiber and selenium content found in the seed has benefits for preventing colon cancer. Results showed to be positive in that sunflower seeds and its nutrients may be chemopreventive.
15. Aids Gastrointestinal Health
Sunflower seeds hold great nutritional fiber value, which is beneficial for digestion. The fiber in the seed helps add substance to the stool and facilitates its movement. In addition to fiber, the high amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are great for balancing bacteria in the gut.
16. Reduces anxiety and depression
Magnesium has been studied for many years for its effect on mood. Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium, the mood boosting chemical, and therefore can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression with a small amount per day.
The seeds also contain an amino acid known as tryptophan. This amino acid aids the release of serotonin in the brain, which is a mood enhancer and helps a person feel content, calm and balanced.
Since there are so many health benefits associated with sunflower seeds, how much should you eat?
Sunflower seeds are a tasty snack and are great to add into your
daily diet for all of their health benefits on offer. Like all foods, nutrients and dietary substances, there is a daily recommended amount of sunflower seeds to consume.
The recommended amount to consume is about a quarter of a cup daily. This is considered to be a healthy and balanced amount and is enough to gain from the health benefits.
You can consume sunflower seeds on their own or with other foods. Eating them alone provides you all the health benefits discussed above, but mixing them in with other nutritious food is good for you too.
You can consume them alongside or mixed with fruits, vegetables, spices, other nuts and seeds, as well as cereals, grains and even in smoothies. For example you can add them to a trail mix, sprinkle on salads, add to desserts, and even make them part of your breakfast cereal. There are so many ways to eat sunflower seeds and all adding them to your meals is an easy way to get them into your daily diet.
There are so many health benefits to eating Sunflower Seeds!!
A great source of healthy 100% sunflower seeds is L’Orenta’s Roasted and Salted Sunflower Seeds. These sunflower seeds are packed full of beneficial fats, vitamins, and minerals. Add our salted sunflower seeds to multi-grain bread or in a smoothie for an extra source of protein and vitamin E to fight heart issues and keep you going for longer.
We source our seeds from the finest American farms, ensuring they are vegan friendly and free of soy, wheat, and gluten so everyone can enjoy their salty crunch!
Would you prefer to have your sunflower seeds as part of a healthy mix?
L’Orenta’s Elite Five Nuts and Seeds Trail Mix is the way to go! It includes all of the gourmet nuts you would expect.
- Natural Chandler Walnuts
- Cashews roasted and salted
- Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
- Roasted and Salted Sunflower Seeds
- Natural Macadamia nuts
Sunflower seeds do not only hold great nutritional value, they provide numerous health benefits that address so many concerns. They should be considered an essential part of everybody’s diet. The seeds are all natural, healthy and extremely versatile so that anyone can enjoy them on their own or in countless dishes.