5 Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Health

Sunflower seeds have a myriad of health benefits and apparently not many people know about this. This little-known sunflower seed is rich in nutrients and healthy fats. One serving of sunflower seeds produces 14 grams of fat with a mixture of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in sunflower seeds show health benefits, especially those related to cardiovascular health and the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, one serving of flower seeds contains about 6 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber in which fat, fiber, and protein play an important role to make a person feel full.

Sunflower seed seeds are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E which has strong anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Then there are folic acid, phosphorus for bone health, selenium (antioxidants) which protect against cell damage, manganese which can help produce bone, copper, vitamin B6, and zinc.

Sunflower seeds are technically the fruit of sunflower plants. The seeds are harvested from large flower heads of plants that can measure more than 12 inches (30.5 cm) in diameter. One sunflower head can contain up to 2,000 seeds.

There are two types of sunflower plants. One type is planted for edible seeds, while the other type is grown for oil.

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Health

Here are some of the health benefits that can be obtained from sunflower seeds as reported by the Healthline website.

1. Antioxidants

Sunflower seeds are very high in vitamin E and selenium which function as antioxidants to protect body cells from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds are a good source of beneficial plant compounds, including phenolic acids and flavonoids which also function as antioxidants.

2. Lower cholesterol and blood sugar

Sunflower seeds can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar because they contain vitamin E, magnesium, protein, linoleic fatty acids and some plant compounds.

3. Reducing inflammation

Short-term inflammation is a natural immune response that occurs in the body, but if there is chronic inflammation it is a risk factor for causing chronic disease. For example, increased levels of C-reactive inflammatory marker protein in the blood and are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

In a study published by NCBI after more than 6,000 adults were reported, people who ate sunflower seeds at least five times a week had C-reactive protein levels 32 percent lower than those who did not eat.

4. Treat heart disease

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Compounds in sunflower seeds can block the enzymes that cause blood vessels to constrict. As a result it can help blood vessels to relax and reduce blood pressure.

Magnesium in sunflower seeds also helps reduce blood pressure levels. In addition, sunflower seeds are also rich in unsaturated fatty acids and linoleic acid to make compounds such as hormones that relax blood vessels, and increase blood pressure. These fatty acids also help reduce cholesterol.

5. Reducing diabetes

The effect on sunflower seeds can reduce blood sugar and type 2 diabetes and has been tested in several studies. One study showed that people who consumed 1 ounce (30 grams) of sunflower seeds every day can reduce blood sugar by about 10 percent in six months.

The effect of lowering blood sugar from sunflower seeds is caused by the content of chlorogenic acid present in plant compounds.

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