Anyone who stays abreast of health trends will be aware that sunflower seeds are now part of the elite category of super-foods that have extremely rich nutritional value. Sunflower seeds are used as cereal toppings, as part of dry trail mixes, and as a snack to munch on during the day. But very few people are actually aware of the nutritional information regarding trail mixes.
A Handful Of Sunflower Seeds A Day To Keep The Doctor Away
Nutritional information for sunflower seeds
We usually consume sunflower seeds with the tough outer shell removed. Some people even grow sprouts from the sunflower seed kernel and consume them.
- One ounce serving of sunflower seeds contains 165 calories
- A single ounce of sunflower seeds contains more than 7 grams of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is recommended by many dermatologists because of its skin healing properties
- Sunflower seeds also contain important minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron
- Sunflower seeds are very rich in anti-oxidants. These include flavonoids and phenolic acid. Anti-oxidants remove toxins from the body and keep you looking and feeling healthier
- Sunflower seeds are also rich in amino acids like arginine and glutamine. Amino acids are very important for maintaining the muscle mass of the body.
All these different nutrients present have many health benefits for the body.
How do sunflower seeds benefit your health?
There are many health benefits of sunflower seeds. While some of it is geared towards improved physical appearance (skin, hair), there are also many internal physical benefits.
- Sunflower seeds have significant anti-inflammatory properties. These seeds are also claimed to have some anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. But most of these claims are not yet well established through adequate research.
- A few studies have been conducted which claim that sunflower seeds can help combat obesity, high bad cholesterol levels, and diabetes. In the study, 50 adults were provided concentrated sunflower seed extracts and it was found to reduce their cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also reduce body mass. Scientists claim that cyarin, a compound present in sunflower seeds can help manage hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia. But the study was very inconclusive, the subjects were asked to reduce their calorie consumption during the study and they were given concentrated extracts, not regular sunflower seeds. So just daily consumption of sunflower seeds cannot be expected to produce the same results.
- Some scientists believe that compounds like carotenoids and tocopherols which are present in sunflower seeds help to remove free radicals from the body and thus protect cardiovascular health. Anti-oxidants are also believed to reduce the risk of other conditions like cancer, high blood pressure, arterial diseases.
- Sunflower seeds may also help to keep you looking youthful and glowing. Sunflower seeds are very rich in omega 6 fatty acids which reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the skin and reduce the risk of skin conditions like dermatitis.
Sunflower seeds are also credited with some other health benefits like tumor prevention, bone strengthening. But most of these claims are unsubstantiated. There is not enough research to make these generalized claims. There are also some possible side effects of consuming sunflower seeds which are not often discussed. Sunflower seeds, especially sprouted ones when purchased from unreliable sources can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella. Sunflower seeds can also cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Individuals with a history of allergies should avoid consuming these seeds without prior anti-allergy testing. Sunflower seeds are also very high-calorie foods, and may not be suitable for those struggling with conditions that require them to control calorie intake.
Sunflower seeds have good nutritional value, even if their miracle healing properties might be exaggerated. But it is always best to do thorough research and consult a nutritionist before making any permanent additions to your diet.