Our ancestors believed that foods shaped like the sun brought happiness and health. Eating sunflower seeds is closely intertwined with the culture of our people. Although at first, the sunflower served as an ornamental plant, people soon learned to appreciate not only the bright yellow petals but also the nutritious seeds. Today you will learn about the useful and harmful properties of sunflower seeds, the benefits of sunflower for men and women, and what nutrients and vitamins they contain.
Let’s get started!
Composition of sunflower seeds
As you know, all the most valuable substances contained in a plant are concentrated in the grain or seeds, so despite their small size, the nutritional value of sunflower seeds is enormous. According to laboratory tests, ripe sunflower seeds contain the following substances
- vitamins – A, group B (B1, B2, B5, B6, PP, B9), E, and D;
- beta-carotene and carotenoids;
- minerals – selenium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper;
- mono- and disaccharides;
- fatty acids;
- amino acids;
- dietary fiber;
- essential and fatty oils.
The seeds meet the body’s need for vitamin E by more than 100% and for B vitamins by 70%. Nutritional and energy value of the product per 100 g: proteins ~ 20.2 g; fats ~ 53.5 g; carbohydrates ~ 10.6 g; calories ~ 605 kcal.
Sunflower seeds are a high-calorie food that can satisfy the need for protein by about 40%. 1 tablespoon contains about 20 g of the product, which is equivalent to 8% of the daily protein requirement.
Useful properties of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds contain large quantities of water- and fat-soluble vitamins, trace elements, and fatty acids. The beneficial effects of seeds on the body are as follows:
- binding of free radicals in cells and tissues, rejuvenation, and prevention of premature aging;
- Normalization of brain functions and activation of mental activity, increasing perseverance and memorization;
- relieving increased nervous tension, improving concentration;
- normalization of the microflora of the mucous membranes of the internal organs;
- Improvement of the skin condition, including reduction of ulcers, healing of wounds and abrasions;
- lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood;
- normalization of blood sugar and prevention of diabetes mellitus;
- improvement of the cardiovascular system, strengthening of the heart muscle;
- restoration of vascular elasticity;
- Reducing the risk of heart attack, as well as the development of heart disease;
- prevention of anemia;
- normalization of blood clotting;
- prevention of atherosclerosis and thrombosis;
- lowering blood pressure.
In addition, sunflower seeds help strengthen the immune system and prevent the development of cancerous tumors. Hulling the seeds stimulates the nerve endings on the fingers.
The benefits of sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is used for rubbing sore joints. Useful components contained in sunflower seed oil help to eliminate disorders of the liver and biliary system.
Sunflower oil is used to make masks that improve hair structure and give it a healthy and beautiful shine.
The oil obtained from sunflower seeds has softening, regenerating, and moisturizing properties and effectively smoothes shallow wrinkles.
Linoleic acid contained in sunflower seed oil strengthens the immune system and helps the body resist infections.
Sunflower seed oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. Compounds belonging to this group not only help prevent the development of most cardiac diseases but also accelerate fat metabolism in the body. Thus, moderate consumption of sunflower oil helps to reduce weight. The oil is also used as a laxative (take 2 tablespoons on an empty stomach).
Contraindications for the use of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a high-calorie product and, if consumed in excess, contribute to weight gain. Roasted seeds contain a large amount of sodium, which can lead to fluid retention in cells and tissues.
Cracking seeds also negatively affects the condition of tooth enamel, provoking the formation of microcracks, and then more serious damage. In some cases, frequent consumption can lead to tartar formation and darkening of the teeth.
A large amount of the product is harmful in the case of liver and gallbladder diseases and can provoke constipation.
Sunflower seeds should not be eaten in case of urolithiasis or cholelithiasis.
Overeating sunflower seeds may cause nausea and bloating.
Sunflower seeds in cooking
Sunflower seeds are also used to make culinary and confectionery products, special varieties of whole grains, or dietary bread.
The seeds go well with the following foods: poultry (chicken, turkey); vegetables (raw or boiled); eggs (chicken, quail); sweet and sour berries and fruits, including citrus fruits; greens; fish and fish products; cereal porridges and bran; dairy and fermented milk products; nuts; honey.
Sunflower seeds are often used in the preparation of confectionery and sweets, the only drawback of which is their high-calorie content.
Given that the product is endowed with high nutritional value and caloric content, as well as sufficient protein content, frequent consumption of seeds in large quantities is not advisable.
You shouldn’t eat them every day, but eating them 2-3 times a week is acceptable. The optimal amount is a portion not exceeding 75-100 g.
Seeds for weight loss: truth or myth
Studies have shown that sunflower seeds are rich in nutritious vegetable protein, complex fats, and carbohydrates, and thus can quickly satisfy hunger and maintain a boost of strength and energy. And the fiber and dietary fiber contained in the seeds help improve the functioning of the digestive system, effectively removing toxins and toxins.
Natural fibers help cleanse the intestines, preventing the decay of food decomposition products.
To obtain all the beneficial properties of the product, it should be consumed raw.
It is best to use raw sunflower seeds for salads (fruit or vegetable), cocktails (milk or vegetable), or desserts (mousses, soufflés, creams). Freshly peeled seeds will give the finished dish a spicy and fresh flavor.
A good solution is to eat the seeds for breakfast by adding them to oatmeal, cottage cheese, or cornflakes. For a snack, muesli or a dietary bar with sunflower seeds are ideal.
Sunflower seeds in cosmetology
Sunflower seeds have proven themselves in cosmetology. Due to the large composition of vitamins and minerals, they are simply irreplaceable in the treatment of acne. Small particles of seeds are used in medicinal masks, scrubs, and creams.
Vitamin B6, which is present in the seeds, rejuvenates the skin, and zinc prevents skin damage. The seeds are also used to make a healing ointment that has a positive effect on the rapid healing of wounds.
Sunflower seed oil is also used in cosmetology. The oil strengthens the skin well. The skin becomes lighter and more elastic after its application. Vitamin E inhibits skin aging and relieves inflammation.
Recipe for a face and body scrub based on sunflower seeds. To do this, you need: to grind 150 g of peeled sunflower seeds into gruel. Add 70 g of sour cream to it, mix well, and store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. The scrub should be used no more than 2 times a week. After this procedure, your skin will become tender and healthy-looking.
How to choose and store sunflower seeds
When buying sunflower seeds, the consumer faces the following problem: in what form to buy the product: already packaged or in bulk? Both options are acceptable, as long as the packaging is transparent, allowing you to see the product. The seeds should not have a gray or white coating, or traces of rot, or mold, but the “lacquer” shine of the husk is also unacceptable.
When buying goods in bulk, it is important to pay attention to the smell – it is somewhat specific, but it should not give off dampness or something musty, as this indicates a violation of storage conditions.
The ripened product can be stored for a long time, with the obligatory observance of all conditions. Seeds like a dry, dark, and moisture-protected place.
Thus, sunflower seeds, if consumed properly, will help restore the functions of the gastrointestinal tract, and fill you with energy and vigor. The main thing is that a healthy habit does not develop into a harmful addiction that jeopardizes dental health and slimness. Take care of yourself and be healthy!