Sunflower seeds give best nutritional
SUNFLOWER seeds are power-packed with healthy fats, protein,
fibre, minerals, vitamin E, and phytochemicals - all
important to the nutritional quality of diet. While the
vibrant, strong sunflower is a recognised worldwide for its
beauty, it is also an important source of food.
Sunflower oil is a valued and healthy vegetable oil and
sunflower seeds are enjoyed as a healthy, tasty snack and
nutritious ingredient to many foods. Health and nutrition
rank high for consumers who want foods that are as good for
them as they are good to eat. Sunflower oil and kernels meet
that challenge with their combination of health benefits and
Healthy, natural sunflower oil is produced from oil type
sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil is light in taste and
appearance and supplies more Vitamin E than any other
vegetable oil. It is a combination of monounsaturated and
polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels.
Sunflower oil is valued for its light taste, frying
performance and health benefits. Unlike the many
high-proteins, low-carbohydrate (low-carb) foods on the
market that may be increasing risk of heart disease due to
their saturated fat contents, sunflower seeds are naturally
full of several nutrients including antioxidants that may
help prevent heart disease. For one, sunflower seeds package
76 per cent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for
vitamin E, which makes them the richest whole-food source of
Furthermore, most of the vitamin E in sunflower seeds is in
the form of alphatocopherol, the most beneficial,
biologically active form. In fact, data suggest it may be
more beneficial to eat vitamin E-rich foods such as
sunflower seeds instead of taking supplemental vitamin E.
A study has shown vitamin E-rich foods are associated with a
lower risk of death from stroke, but the same was not true
for supplemental vitamin E. Other recent studies support
that the vitamin E in foods, but not from supplements, was
found to be associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer
disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Vitamin E from foods may be better than from supplements
because nutrients are thought to work together in foods to
provide health benefits. An ounce of sunflower seeds also
provides about 25 per cent of daily needs for selenium,
another antioxidant that has been shown to work with vitamin
E to protect cells from damage that may cause heart disease.
In addition, sunflower seeds contain copper, which plays a
vital role in antioxidant enzymes in the body. This may
further prevent oxidative stress, which has been associated
with heart disease. Sunflower seeds provide 25 per cent of
the daily value for copper in one ounce.
Unsaturated fat like the kind found in sunflower seeds does
not increase heart disease risk. In fact, almost 90 per cent
of the fat in sunflower seeds is the healthiest type for the
heart “good,” unsaturated fat, which can actually reduce the
risk of heart disease.
Substituting “good” unsaturated fats for saturated and trans
fats is one of the top three most effective diet strategies
for preventing coronary heart disease. Sunflower seeds
contain mono and polyunsaturated fat, both of which are
important to health. Similarly, trans fat has been shown to
increase total and LDL cholesterol, but may also decrease
the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Sunflower seeds are naturally “low-carb” and provide
healthful unsaturated fat and fibre to replace carbohydrates
in the diet, potentially protecting against heart disease.
Sunflower seeds provide only four grams of carbohydrate per
one-ounce serving, two of which are fibre. Fibre is the
indigestible part of plants that has been shown to lower
Sunflower seeds can be added to foods that also contain
fibre, such as salads, whole-grain breads, oatmeal, or trail
mix. When eaten in these ways, sunflower seeds offer a way
to increase flavour and provide crunchy texture for other
food sources of fibre.
Experts recommend aiming for 20 to 35 grams of fibre per
day. Sunflower seeds are packed with a surprising amount of
protein — six grams per ounce. Coupled with fibre and tasty
“good” fat, sunflower seeds may help increase satisfaction
and stave off hunger, thereby promoting weight loss.
Eating sunflower seeds as part of a high-protein,
low-carbohydrate diet provides several hard-to-get nutrients
including folate and magnesium. Evidence has shown that both
nutrients, may lower risk for heart disease. Furthermore,
new research suggests that eating adequate amounts of
magnesium may lower risk of type two diabetes. Sunflower
seeds also deliver phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids
and lignins, which may help prevent heart disease and
cancer. Experts recommend eating a variety of whole foods,
like sunflower seeds, to meet nutrient needs.
Nuts and seeds are rich sources of phytosterols, a class of
plant chemicals that have been shown to reduce cholesterol
levels and improve heart health. In what is believed to be
the most comprehensive analysis to-date of the phytosterol
content of nuts and seeds, chemists at Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA., analysed
some 27 nut and seed products that are most commonly
consumed as snack foods in the United States. The
researchers found that pistachios and sunflower kernels had
the highest levels of phytosterols.
Courtesy: The DAWN