When we talk about sunflower, many have the association of sunflower oil which is recommended to be replaced with olive oil due to a number of better properties. Namely, what is charged with sunflower oil are omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are healthy only if they are in the right ratio with omega 3 fatty acids. Nutritionists point out that the perfect ratio is 2: 1 in favor of omega-6.
However, the average diet contains up to 20 times more omega-6 fatty acids, which is the basis for the development of a number of diseases, such as mental illness, inflammatory processes, increased risk of bleeding and the like. But while sunflower oil is advised to bypass in the kitchen, sunflower seeds should be given the space they deserve.
Namely, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins E, B1, B3, B6, folic acid and minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium. At the same time, since they have a high caloric value (584 kcal in 100 g), the daily intake of sunflower seeds should be adjusted to the nutritional needs. A handful of sunflower seeds a day is recommended.
Nutritional value of sunflower seeds
• Energy 584 kcal
• Carbohydrates 20 g – of which sugars 2.62 g • Dietary fiber 8.6 g
• Fat 51.46 g (saturated 4,455 g • monounsaturated 18,528 g • polyunsaturated 23,137 g)
• Protein 20.78 g (Vitamins: • Thiamine (B1) 1.48 mg • Riboflavin (B2) 0.355 mg • Niacin (B3) 8.335 mg • Pantothenic acid (B5) 1.13 mg • Vitamin B6 1,345 mg • Folate (B9) 227 μg • Choline 55.1 mg • Vitamin C 1.4 mg • Vitamin E 35.17 mg
- Trace elements: • Calcium 78 mg • Iron 5.25 mg • Magnesium 325 mg • Manganese 1.95 mg • Phosphorus 660 mg • Potassium 645 mg • Sodium 9 mg • Zinc 5 mg
Health benefits of consuming sunflower seeds
A handful of these high-quality seeds will reduce your feeling of hunger and supply you with quality nutrients. Vitamin E found in sunflower seeds is the most important among fat-soluble antioxidants. It “travels” through our body and neutralizes free radicals that threaten cell membranes and cause a number of diseases.
By protecting cells and molecules, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and reduces the symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in which inflammatory processes have a significant impact. Vitamin E is considered to be responsible for reducing the risk of bowel cancer and reducing menopausal symptoms, but also preventing the development of cardiovascular disease.
The phytosterols found in sunflower seeds have a similar structure to cholesterol, and are thought to be responsible for lowering blood cholesterol levels and improving immunity. In addition to pistachios, sunflower seeds are the richest snacks of this type with phytosterols (270-289 mg / 100 g). Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps reduce asthma symptoms, lower high blood pressure, prevent migraines, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Magnesium is essential for bone health and energy production. Magnesium also affects calcium levels thus regulating the nervous system and muscle tone. Magnesium deficiency can be the culprit for high blood pressure, muscle cramps, migraines, fatigue and exhaustion.
Selenium is also one of the minerals found in sunflower seeds in a large percentage. Selenium promotes DNA recovery and regeneration of damage at the cellular level, which reduces the risk of developing malignant diseases.
How to consume sunflower seeds?
When buying sunflower seeds, be sure to choose unroasted and unsalted ones. Heat the pan yourself (without oil) and add a handful of sunflower seeds and let them bake a bit. You can add such sunflower seeds to a salad with meat or tuna or lettuce. Stir the sunflower seeds baked in this way into the beaten egg before making the scrambled eggs and fry. It will give the eggs extra flavor and enrich them even more nutritionally. In addition to oatmeal, you can add a handful of sunflower seeds to breakfast. You can also add these seeds to lean cheese or yogurt and add a portion of healthy fats to the protein food.