Sunflower seeds: An important addition to your diet
Like a sunflower, that follows every movement of the sun…
So you can turn to the sunflower seeds to absorb all the nutrition you need from the sunflower seed. You may have heard people saying that sunflower seeds are good for you because they absorb all the sun’s rays. That may not be the most scientifically accurate reason for the nutritiousness of the seed, but there is absolutely no doubt regarding the benefits of this natural snack itself.
The high nutritive value of sunflower seeds has given them the status of a superfood. Sunflower seeds are especially rich in vitamin e, selenium, phenolic acid and flavonoids. These play a major role in skin and heart health apart from functioning as antioxidants to protect the body against free radical damage. Take a look at the nutritional content of this superfood and it is bound to blow your mind.
If you are not a numbers person, the table above might just seem like gibberish. So, let’s break it down. What exactly are the benefits of including sunflower seeds in your diet?
- Improves heart healthYou may have noticed that sunflower seeds are high in fat but less than 20% of it is saturated fat. The American Heart Association says that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) actually help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Bolsters the immune systemSince the pandemic there have been many tall claims of every other food being good for your immunity; but look into the claims and most of them fall flat. With sunflower seeds, all you have to do is research the vitamins and minerals it is packed with to know that this is the real deal. The zinc and selenium contained in these kernels play a vital role in boosting immunity and warding off infections.
- Aids in diabetes managementWith a glycemic index ranking of 35 points, sunflower seeds are a great replacement snack for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. They keep you feeling full for longer while not creating any significant spike in your blood sugar.
- Is anti-inflammatoryInflammation is a natural and necessary response of the body’s immune system to any external attack. But research proves that chronic inflammation is correlated with many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. With its anti-inflammatory properties, sunflower seeds just might be the right choice for patients suffering from chronic systemic inflammation.
- Helps in weight lossWith their low glycemic index that keeps you feeling fuller for longer and their high protein content supporting healthy metabolism, sunflower seeds, in moderation, are a great weight loss hack. But beware of the pitfalls of buying salted seeds or consuming too much of it. (Refer to the CAVEAT section)
- Boosts energy levelsWith their high calories and protein content, sunflower seeds are an obvious choice for maintaining high energy levels throughout the day. Also, the high levels of vitamin B1 present in sunflower seeds help the body break down food into fuel, keeping you charged for longer.
There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when including sunflower seeds in your daily diet.
- The dose makes the poison. Remember that sunflower seeds are a rich source of calories. So, they should be treated as a major part of your balanced diet. Eat no more than ¼ cup of sunflower seeds in a day.
- The how is as important as the what. Sunflower seeds on their own are a great source of nutrition, but if you buy a salted variety, it can be dangerous for somebody suffering from hypertension. Also, some internet sources might claim that sunflower seed shells (or hulls) are a great source of fiber. But please DO NOT eat sunflower seed shells. They can not only cause constipation but physically injure the digestive tract because of their sharpness.
And that is where the raw, unprocessed, unsalted and shelled sunflower seeds from Deccan Mudra stand out. Choose wisely for a healthy future.