Sunflower seeds (surajmukhi ke beej) are tiny in size but packed with many essential nutrients. The use of sunflower seeds for nutrition is believed to date back to 3000 BC. In India, Sunflower seeds are cultivated mostly for making sunflower oil though the concept of eating whole sunflower seeds is catching on.Sunflower seeds are high in magnesium (100g contains 129 mg, 31% RDA), Vitamin E (1/4 cup can give 60% RDA), Vitamin B complex, important trace elements like selenium and folate.
Here are some amazing health benefits of these seeds:
1 . Promote Heart Health
The high amount of Vitamin E has been shown to cut down incidences of cardiovascular disease. In addition, sunflower seeds contain linoleic acid (Omega-6) and oleic acid (Omega-9) which are two fatty acids that lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.
2. Help Fight Cancer
Vitamin E is an important fat-soluble antioxidants that is required to be taken along with fat for better absorption by the body. Since sunflower seeds contain fatty acids, the Vitamin E is easily available. Vitamin E and other antioxidants found in sunflower seeds prevents the cell from undergoing oxidative damage and repairs cell membranes thereby cutting down the risk of cancer. Selenium present in the seeds helps prevent breast cancer.
3 . Improve Bone Strength
Magnesium, found in large amounts in the seeds is required by the body to build bone and muscles. Regular intake of sunflower seeds cuts down risk of bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Magnesium deficiency can cause chronic fatigue, depression, headaches and stress.
4 . Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
It has been proven that people having a diet rich in seeds and nuts are at a lower risk of developing diabetes. For patients of diabetes, sunflower seeds can help regulate the blood sugar levels and prevent sudden spikes. They also prevent the development of insulin resistance.
5 . Fight Inflammation
The host of antioxidants that are present in sunflower seeds help in reduction of inflammation and related conditions like arthritis and skin eruptions. The magnesium found in the seeds also helps in relaxing the nerves.
6 . Improve Skin Health
Vitamin E present in the seeds is known to bring a glow to the skin and helps retain a youthful look. It protects the skin from oxidative damage and sun damage.
WAYS TO INCLUDE SUNFLOWER SEEDS IN YOUR DIET
-Sunflower seeds can be consumed raw with or without the shell, in the form of snack.
-You can have them as roasted but opt for unsalted ones.
-Add them as toppings to salads, sauces, baked dishes, breakfast cereals and cut fruits.
-You can also add them to milkshakes, smoothies and chutneys.
-Grounded sunflower seeds can be added to cookies, cakes, muffins and crackers.
-Sunflower butter is another product that is available which can be used in place of peanut butter.
So, go ahead and add these healthy seeds to your daily diet and reap the countless health benefits that they have to offer. Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy!