Sunflowers make a beautiful addition to gardens in the summer and a great science project for kids but are their seeds also an overlooked source of essential nutrients?
What are the benefits of sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, copper, B vitamins like thiamine, selenium, magnesium, fiber, folic acid, and more. They are a source of essential fatty acids; especially linoleic acid and oleic acid. Additionally, sunflower seeds are also an excellent source of amino acids (especially tryptophan) which make up the building blocks of proteins, B Vitamins, phytosterols, and more. They are also a source of healthy polyunsaturated fats which your body needs.
What is the nutritional breakdown of sunflower seeds?
Can sunflower seeds help improve my health?
As well as helping maintain your body, sunflower seeds are are most highly correlated with boosting cardiovascular health thanks to their ability to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and to prevent hypertension.
Since they also contain minerals like magnesium and selenium, you may also find they help with ‘growing pains’, leg cramps, and tension headaches.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body. This makes it popular for warding against everything from heart disease, to helping with IBS, or with chronic inflammation as the result of multiple allergies / intolerances.
In my case, I have a child with multiple allergies (from grass pollen, to dust mites, to food), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and autism (with associated digestive / gut issues), so anything I can include in her diet that helps with inflammation is great!
What are easy ways to include sunflower seeds in my diet?
You could buy them coated in chocolate or dusted in flavourings (like sour cream and chives) but that’s off-setting their health benefits with other calories and additives! Here are some healthier (and still easy!) ways to eat sunflower seeds:
- Toast raw sunflower seeds in the oven with a little rice bran or coconut oil + salt.
- Make sunflower butter. (Just like making your own peanut butter!)
- Add sunflower seeds (raw or toasted) to salads.
- Use fine ground sunflower seeds to dust your meats with in place of flour.
- Sprinkle some ground LSA (linseed-sunflower-almond) onto rice or porridge.
- Include 1-3 Tablespoons of ground LSA (linseed-sunflower-almond) when baking bread or making Easy Carrot Cake or Fruit crumble etc.
- As a seasonal treat, for Thanksgiving or Christmas, consider making candied sunflower seeds instead of Candied Salted Caramel Pumpkin Seeds.