Sunflower seeds seem like an unlikely snack, but as I picked them up in the grocery store, came home to crack and eat a plateful of them like it was chocolate fondue I realized the healthy lifestyle had caught up with me. Sunflower seeds are packed with healthy oils, vitamins, and minerals. Their nutritional value makes it rank as one of the world’s healthiest foods. These seeds despite containing all these nutrients have zero calories which makes them the best snacks to have. Not only do they promote cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol, but also prevent cancer and are great for the skin and hair.
So what are some of the benefits of sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin C is great for preventing cardiovascular diseases, while vitamin E, an antioxidant, prevents oxidation of cholesterol. When cholesterol oxidizes it sticks to the walls of blood vessels causing atherosclerosis which in turn causes, blocked arteries, heart attack or stroke. Balanced levels of vitamin E have been linked to overall reduced risk of death by cardiovascular diseases.
Beneficial for the nerves.
Magnesium, which is present in sunflowers seeds, help to keep our nerves calm. They do so by preventing calcium rushing into the nerve cells and activating them (this happens when magnesium levels are low in the body). When too much calcium rushes into nerve cells, many messages and signals are sent causing the cells to contract excessively. Magnesium works to control the calcium levels, in turn, calming the nerves.
Improves brain functioning.
Omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are recommended to boost cognitive abilities. This is why most people take omega pills, drink cod liver oils and look for omega supplements. Sunflower seeds are packed with this fatty acids and improve brain functioning with persistent consumption.
The vitamin E, selenium, and copper present in sunflower seeds have antioxidant properties which are great for preventing cellular damage. They prevent cell oxidation and tissue oxidation by free radical cells which in turn protect the cells against damage. These nutrients have displayed great anti-cancer properties. The high phytosterol content and lignans prevent certain kinds of cancer. These naturally occurring compounds inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Lowers cholesterol levels.
Despite these seeds having fats, they are all naturally occurring thus health and cholesterol free. They also work to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. The phytosterols present in sunflower seeds reduce blood levels of cholesterol while enhancing the immune response. They are also rich in fatty acids and fibres which reduce cholesterol as well.
Moisturize the skin and hair.
The fatty acids and other unsaturated fats contained in the seeds work to deeply moisturize the skin and hair cells. The presence of linoleic acid is also attributed to helping the skin retain its moisture.
Vitamin E in sunflower seeds is a primary fat-soluble antioxidant. This vitamin travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules like cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. Thus, vitamin E exhibits significant anti-inflammatory effects, resulting in the reduction of diseases caused by free radicals and inflammation such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Great for your skin
Want healthy, glowing skin? Sunflower seeds have all essential fatty acids such as linolenic, oleic and palmitic acid which encourage the formation of collagen and elastin giving you soft and smooth skin
Sunflower seeds also prevent acne, make bones stronger, and promote a healthy digestive system among many more benefits. They are the best snack to have and come in handy, especially if they are shelled, to have as a snack. Try these healthy seeds and benefit from its pool of nutrients.