Sunflower seeds might appear tiny but are extremely nutritious. They contain varied nutrients, required by our body to carry out different internal functions. The white seeds are especially high in vitamin E, zinc and selenium. These nutrients protect your body’s cells against free radical damage, reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and boost immunity. Besides, they also contain compounds like phenolic acids and flavonoids.
Here are some health benefits of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds can reduce inflammation, which is responsible for several chronic diseases including heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. As per a study carried out on 6,000 adults, eating sunflower and other seeds at least five times a week lowered the level of C-reactive protein by 32 per cent as compared to others. It is believed that the potential benefits of the seeds are basically due to the presence of vitamin E.
Cuts down the risk of developing heart disease
Sunflowers seeds contain a compound that can block an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict. This can lower down your blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and can also cut down the risk of stroke. The tiny seeds also contain magnesium that can reduce the pressure of blood against the wall of the arteries.
Good for people who have diabetes
People who have diabetes always have to keep their blood sugar level in check, and sunflowers seeds can even help in that. The tiny seeds have been tested to be effective in lowering the blood sugar level in several studies. Eating a handful of seeds daily may reduce fasting blood sugar by about 10 per cent within six months. This happens basically due to the plant compound chlorogenic acid.
Supporting the immune system
Sunflowers seeds contain zinc that is known to activate about 300 enzymes in the body and boost immunity. They also contain selenium and other vitamins, which can fight infection and boost immunity. Building internal immunity is important to protect oneself from chronic diseases.
Reduces the risk of cancer
Cancers are among the leading causes of mortality worldwide. While there is nothing that can prevent the growth of cancerous cells, making changes in diet can definitely lower the chances. Sunflowers seeds contain beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol that can prevent breast cancer. It represses the growth of tumour cells. There are several other nutrients found in sunflower seeds that can help with the same. Taking these seeds also reduces the chances of colon cancer.
The fiber content in sunflower seeds can decrease the level of bad or LDL cholesterol in the blood. Apart from that, the high amount of niacin or vitamin B3 also helps in reducing the level of cholesterol and vitamin B5 increases HDL cholesterol.
Boosts brain function
If you are looking to boost your brain function and increase concentration, sunflower seeds can be a great addition to your diet. The presence of vitamin B6 in it can improve mood and concentration and enhance memory. It even helps to ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Good for the skin
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of these seeds also prevent infections, keeping your skin clear and acne-free. Oleic and linoleic acids, present in sunflower seeds help in the formation of collagen. They slow down the ageing process and reduce blemishes.