If you need a quick snack that can ease hunger pangs and boost your nutrient intake, sunflower seeds might be just what your body needs. Sunflower seeds are derived from the famous yellow flower of the same name. They are slightly darker in color and can be roasted to preserve their nutty flavor. Despite their alleged health benefits, are sunflower seeds good for you?
Reasons why Sunflower Seeds are Good for You
Sunflower seeds are fibrous and filled with vitamins. They are especially high in vitamin E, a nutrient that a number of roles in the body. Sunflower seeds are rich in minerals too, particularly magnesium, selenium, calcium, iron, zinc and manganese. Another reason sunflower seeds are good for you is because they contain heart-healthy fatty acids.
Sunflower Seeds and the Heart
Many people are not aware how much diet affects the heart. Processed, high saturated fat foods contribute to the cardiovascular damage. Sunflower seeds, on the other hand, can protect and heal your heart. They provide fatty acids and phytosterols that can reduce cholesterol dramatically. This can aid in heart disease prevention.
Sunflower Seeds and Disease Prevention
One of the vitamins highly present in sunflower seeds is vitamin E. This vitamin has been proven to have the same benefits as an antioxidant. Vitamin E eradicates free radicals, therefore being a powerful prevention agent against cancers, heart complications and many chronic conditions. Another immunity-boosting nutrient is zinc. Zinc is a hard mineral to come by, but a handful of seeds regularly can help you meet the recommended intake.
Sunflower Seeds and Bone Health
Millions of people suffer from some form of bone-related conditions. Getting older and taking certain medications also contribute to weaker bones. Sunflower seeds happen to be rich in magnesium, iron and calcium. These minerals can restore health to weakened bones and increase their density for better mobility. Magnesium can also benefit the agility of muscle.
Sunflower Seeds and Weight Loss
Adding sunflower seeds to a weight loss diet is a controversial subject. Although they are nutritious snacks, the seeds have a lot of calories. ½ cup of sunflower seeds can contain a total of up to 400 calories, depending on how they are prepared. This obviously means that you have to be strict in your portions. The upside is that sunflower seeds can manage hunger pangs and provide selenium to encourage better thyroid metabolic performance.
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Cooking with Sunflower Seeds
Food stores usually offer shelled and unshelled varieties of sunflower seeds. While both types of sunflower seeds are good for you, the shelled type is healthier. Seed shells are filled with fiber, which can help digest food in a timely manner and assist in passing waste normally. Always buy firm, fresh sunflower seeds and stay away from those with yellow spots.
Sunflower seeds are crunchy and tasty when roasted. You can also crush them in the blender to add to soups and nutritious shakes. Seeds are great additions to salads and can boost the nutritional value of cereals. Mix with green vegetables or rolled oats for optimum nutrition.