Sunflower seeds are obtained from the large flower heads of the sunflower plant. A single sunflower head may have approximately 2,000 seeds. These seeds are incorporated into meals or are consumed as a snack. Sunflower seeds are mild and nutty in flavour. They can be consumed either raw or roasted.
Nutritional Value of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds have abundant nutrients, minerals, and plant compounds. They contain oleic acid, linoleic acid, fiber, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin E. They have a high content of plant compounds such as flavonoids and phenolic acids.
As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of edible sunflower seeds with a hull, weighing 46 gm, contains 269 calories, 9.5 gm proteins, 4 gm fiber, 9.2 gm carbohydrates, 23.6 gm fat, 1.2 gm sugar, 2.4 mg iron, 304 mg of phosphorus, 36 mg calcium, 150 mg of magnesium, 297 mg of potassium, 2.3 mg of zinc, 0.8 mg of copper, 24.4 mcg of selenium, 4 mg of sodium, 3.8 mg of niacin, and 104 mcg of folate, 16.1 mg of vitamin E, 1 mcg of vitamin A, and 256 mcg of phytosterols.
Potential Health Benefits of Sunflower seeds…
1/4. Promotes heart health
1. Sunflower seeds lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and promote heart health.
2. The abundant fibre content of sunflower seeds helps in unclogging the arteries and reducing “bad” cholesterol.
3. The magnesium content of sunflower seeds helps in reducing the blood pressure levels.
4. A compound in sunflower seeds blocks an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict thus, relaxing the blood vessels and lowering the blood pressure.
5. The linoleic acid content of sunflower produces a hormone-like compound that relaxes the blood vessels, leading to decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
2/4. Improves bone health
1. The high phosphorus content of sunflower seeds helps build stronger bones and maintain bone mineral density.
2. The copper content of sunflower seeds along with manganese enhances bone mineral density.
3/4. Relieves constipation
1. The presence of high fiber content in sunflower seeds helps ease constipation.
2. Sunflower possesses anti-inflammatory properties that relieve irritable bowel syndrome.
4/4. Other possible benefits…
Sunflower seeds produce numerous health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as aids in weight loss, clears and glows skin, beneficial for detoxification, reduces inflammation, prevents and fights sickness, good for expecting mothers, possesses antimicrobial property, reduces blood sugar, supports the nervous system,prevents the onset of chronic disease, lowers anxiety, and regulates oestrogen imbalances.
Sunflower “Surajmukhi” helps calm the nervous system due to the presence of large dosage of B completely vitamins. It is also full of more than a dozen health enhancing vitamins and minerals like Thiamin (Vitamin B1), phosphorus, potassium, vitamin E etc.
How to use Sunflower Seeds in Cooking?
Sunflower seeds can be added to various dishes. They can be consumed raw or roasted; salted or unsalted. They are used as a whole or ground for cooking. Sunflower seeds can be used in a variety of ways, some of them are as follows…
- As a snack.
- Added to salads.
- Added to burgers.
- Added to stir-fries.
- Added to smoothies.
- In hot or cold cereal.
- Used to coat fish and meat.
- Sprinkled over sautéed vegetables.
- Sprinkled on leafy green vegetables.
- Stirred into homemade granola bars.
- Sprinkled over fruits, ice creams, or yogurt.
- Added to baked products such as muffins and bread.
How to make garlic sunflower seed dressing?
Take 1 cup, raw and hulled sunflower seeds and soak them in water for approximately 1-2 hours.
Drain and rinse the sunflower seeds.
Put the sunflower seeds in the blender and add the 2/3 cup fresh water, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 large, peeled garlic clove, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of ground pepper. Blend all of them, until completely smooth.
Pour the dressing in a glass jar and top it with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives. You can utilise it as a salad dressing or as a dip.