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Sunflower Seeds Benefits

Sunflowers seeds are the small kernels produced by large sunflowers. Confectionary sunflowers are a type of sunflower that produces the edible seeds found in grocery stores and products containing sunflower seeds. This type of sunflower seed is usually sold in shell or as dehulled kernels. They are easily added to salads or trail mixes or eaten alone, making an ideal snack. Sunflower seeds provide numerous health benefits.

Lowers Cholesterol

Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences states that sunflower seeds are ranked at the top of the nuts and seeds list for containing phytosterols or cholesterol lowering compounds. Sunflower seeds are full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good fats that help keep the bad cholesterol away. Sunflower seeds are full of fiber that may be a contributing factor in lowering cholesterol in some people.

Decrease Risk of Cancer

Sunflower seeds have high amounts of vitamin E, selenium and copper, which have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may help prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. These nutrients protect tissue from oxidant and free radical damage, and may prevent cancer by reducing and suppressing cellular damage from oxidants, according to Vanderbilt University Health Psychology. Sunflower seeds may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer that can be attributed to their high phytosterol content, according to Virginia Tech. Ligans, a compound found in sunflower seeds, may protect against some cancers as well, according to the National Sunflower Association.

Mood Enhancer

Sunflower seeds may have a beneficial effect on your mood, lessening the chance of depression in some people, according to the Happy Juicer site. Sunflower seeds contain Tryptophan, which is an amino acid responsible for processing serotonin in our bodies. When serotonin is released in bodies it relieves tension, relaxes our bodies and promotes sleep. Choline, a compound found in sunflower seeds, plays a positive role in memory and cognitive function, according to the National Sunflower Association.

Nutrition

Sunflower seeds are a nutrient-rich food, containing vitamins E and B, and minerals that include selenium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and zinc. They are high in protein, containing 22.78 grams per 3.5 ounce. serving. Sunflower seeds are a good source of fiber and have 10.5 grams per 3.5 ounce serving and are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with only 160 calories per serving ounce. According to the National Sunflower Association, sunflower seeds are a functional food in which the seeds add a nutritional wallop to a variety of products, including muffins, crackers and snack foods.

Photo Credits:

  • sunflower seeds 3 image by James Lewis from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.