When talking about sunflower (sunflower seeds), many have an association of sunflower oil that is recommended to be replaced by olive oil because of a number of better qualities. Namely, what is placed on a bad side of sunflower oil are omega-6 fatty acids.
Specifically, these fatty acids are only healthy if they are in the correct ratio of omega 3 fatty acids. Nutritionists say the perfect ratio is 2: 1 for omega-6. However, the average diet contains up to 20 times more omega-6 fatty acids, which is the basis for the emergence of a number of diseases, such as mental illness, inflammatory processes, increased risk of bleeding, etc.
But while sunflower oil is advised to bypass from the kitchen, sunflower seeds need to have the space they deserve. Namely, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins E, B1, B3, B6, folic acid and minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. At the same time, since they have a high caloric value (584 kcal per 100 g), daily intakes of sunflower seeds need to be adjusted to nutritional needs. One handful per day is optimal.
Nutritional value of sunflower seeds per 100 g:
Energy 584 kcal
Carbohydrates 20 g
Sugar 2.62 g
Dietary fiber 8.6 g
Fat 51.46 g
Saturated 4.455 g
Monounsaturated 18.528 g
Polyunsaturated 23.137 g
Proteins 20.78 g
Thiamin (B1) 1.48 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.355 mg
Niacin (B3) 8.335 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 1.13 mg
Vitamin B6 1,345 mg
Folate (B9) 227 μg
Choline 55.1 mg
Vitamin C 1.4 mg
Vitamin E 35.17 mg
Calcium 78 mg
Iron 5.25 mg
Magnesium 325 mg
Manganese 1.95 mg
Phosphorus 660 mg
Potassium 645 mg
Sodium 9 mg
Zinc 5 mg
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seed Consumption
The handful of these high-quality seeds will reduce your sense of hunger and supply you with quality nutrients. Vitamin E found in sunflower seeds is the most important among the fat-soluble antioxidants. He “travels” through our body and neutralizes free radicals that threaten cell membranes and cause a variety of diseases. By protecting cells and molecules, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and reduces the symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in which inflammatory processes have a significant effect.
Vitamin E is considered deserving of reducing the risk of developing bowel cancer and reducing menopausal symptoms, but also preventing cardiovascular disease.
The phytosterols found in sunflower seeds have a similar structure to cholesterol and are considered to be responsible for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood and improving immunity. With pistachios, it is just the sunflower seeds of the richest snacks of this type with phytosterols (270-289 mg / 100 g).
Sunflower Seeds are also a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps reduce asthma symptoms, lowering blood pressure, preventing migraines, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium is essential for bone health and for energy production.
Magnesium also affects the level of calcium regulating the nervous system and muscle tone. Lack of magnesium can be a culprit for elevated blood pressure, muscle cramps, migraine, fatigue, and exhaustion.
Selenium is also one of the minerals that in sunflower seeds have a high percentage. Selenium stimulates DNA recovery and regeneration of damaged cells, which reduces the risk of malignant diseases.
How to consume sunflower seeds?
When purchasing sunflower seeds, make sure that you buy those that are raw. The best is to grind them. When grinding the seeds it might make the nutrients more bioavailable, as tiny seeds might go through your system whole without being digested. Grinding sunflower seeds also makes it easier to add them to foods like oatmeal or fruit smoothies without changing the taste or texture of the food. you will need special equipment to grind seeds.
You will need a coffee grinder or blender or Vitamix.
Buy organic sunflower seeds because pesticides concentrate in fats–sunflower seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids.