Health Benefits of Eating Sunflower Seeds
By Ryan J Bell
Several cultures have enjoyed sunflower seeds for thousands of years. Harvested from tall sunflowers, the seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, or used for flavor and texture in a variety of meals. Today, they're often eaten as a healthy snack between meals, providing an energy boost in a convenient package. Despite this, many people are unfamiliar with the benefits of eating sunflower seeds. In this article, you'll learn how the seeds are a powerful source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Plus, we'll explain how sunflowers seeds can even have a mild relaxing effect on your brain.
A Rich Source Of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an essential component of your daily nutrition. It's an antioxidant that stops the rampant spread of free radicals within your body. Because free radicals can cause cellular damage, having a source of Vitamin E is critical. Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E and can help your circulatory system function properly. It also allows your blood to clot more readily when your body sustains external wounds, aiding the healing process. Other benefits include a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Dietary Fiber For Easy Digestion
Sunflower seeds are a bountiful source of dietary fiber. A deficiency in daily fiber consumption leads to a host of health problems. While the recommended amount of fiber is approximately 30 grams per day, most people fail to consume more than 15 grams per day. This can cause digestive problems which leads to increasing toxicity within your intestines. By eating sunflower seeds, you can take advantage of a powerful supply of the dietary fiber your body needs. Doing so can reduce the likelihood of cancer, lower your cholesterol levels and aid your body's elimination process.
Protein, Carbohydrates And More
One of the reasons why many athletes enjoy eating sunflower seeds is that they provide a supply of protein and carbohydrates. Both are important for maintaining energy levels while training or competing. The seeds can also stimulate the liver to release glycogen into the bloodstream. Because glycogen is a form of sugar, this provides an additional boost of quick energy.
Your body also requires a store of minerals in order to function properly. Sunflower seeds are a heavily-laden resource of magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc and iron. Each of these has inherent health benefits. While magnesium lowers your blood pressure (and thereby, reduces the chances of a heart attack), selenium can aid in repairing cellular damage while slowing the spread of cancerous cells. Meanwhile, iron helps to distribute oxygen to your muscles and zinc provides your immune system with the boost it needs to defend against common colds.
Sunflower Seeds For The Brain
Most people don't realize that sunflower seeds can actually have a calming effect on your brain. This is due to high levels of tryptophan contained within the seeds. When you consume foods that have tryptophan, it effectively increases your brain's production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter). High levels of serotonin reduce tension which creates a relaxing effect.
Enjoying Sunflower Seeds For Long-Term Health
The trend toward fast foods and meals that are heavy with unhealthy ingredients can have a lasting impact on your health. Many of these foods don't provide a source of protein, carbohydrates and essential nutrients. A deficiency in dietary fiber aggravates the problem. By eating sunflower seeds regularly, your body can enjoy a rich source of the minerals, nutrients and fiber that it needs to function properly. If you've been looking for a convenient snack that's tasty, healthy and can provide a quick jolt of energy, consider adding sunflower seeds to your diet.
About the Author: This sunflower information is brought to you by The Sunflower Guy, the best way to send sunflowers.