Summer is just around the corner, which means there will soon be flowers bursting into full bloom. One flower in particular houses a tiny secret that can powerfully boost your health – sunflowers! Sunflowers aren’t just beautiful, they’re also quite nutritious thanks to the edible seeds that they produce. Not only do sunflower seeds contain the highest natural source of the antioxidant vitamin E (just ¼ cup provides you with nearly your entire daily recommended value), but they also contain copper, B vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium and more! Not to mention, they have an abundance of polyunsaturated fat, also known as good fat. Needless to say, you don’t have to feel guilty for indulging in this healthy snack.
Five Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
- Improved skin: Who doesn’t want supple, radiant skin? Since sunflower seeds contain such a mighty dose of the antioxidant vitamin E, eating them may improve skin tone while protecting cells from free radical damage, which is a major health benefit, especially in the aging process.
- Reduced cancer risk: Antioxidants found in sunflower seeds are utilized for DNA repair, thus working to slow the growth of mutated cancer cells. Studies show that the nutrients found in sunflower seeds have chemo-preventive compounds that stall early phases of cancer development by shutting off tumor growth.
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression: Feeling blue? Studies suggest that increasing your magnesium intake can significantly reduce symptoms of both anxiety and depression. When magnesium levels drop, serotonin (the feel-good hormone) levels in the brain are inadequate and may lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. Sunflower seeds contain one-third of the amount of magnesium we need each day in just a ¼ cup serving. High levels of magnesium also help to combat osteoporosis, bone loss and muscle cramps.
- Balanced blood sugar levels: A well-rounded diet rich in nuts and seeds has been shown to reduce hyperglycemia and normalize blood sugar levels.
- Enhanced thyroid function: Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of selenium, which can help combat thyroid diseases, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Need we say more? Grab a handful and start snacking!
“The One Ingredient You Should Add to Your Breakfast Every Day,” Sarah-Jane Bedwell, self.com, June 12, 2015.
“10 Foods Nutritionists Love,” WebMD, webmd.com, Aug. 6, 2015.
“Nutrition and Cancer: A Review of the Evidence for an Anti-Cancer Diet,” Michael S. Donaldson, nutritionj.com, Oct. 20, 2004.