Health Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds

by Yamunadevi Puraikalan
(Chennai, India)

Health Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds

The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

The term "sunflower seed" is actually a misnomer when applied to the seed in its pericarp. When dehulled, the edible remainder is called the sunflower kernel.

There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds, Linoleic, high oleic, and Nusun. Each variety has its own unique levels of fatty acids.

The health benefits of sunflower seeds are varied, although the seeds are more commonly eaten as a healthy snack than as part of a meal. Sunflower seeds can also be used as garnishes or ingredients in various recipes.

The seeds may be sold as in-shell seeds or dehulled kernels. A particular health benefit of sunflower seeds is that the seeds can also be sprouted and eaten in salads.

When in-shell seeds are processed, they are first dried. Afterwards, they may also be roasted or dusted with salt or flour for preservation of flavor.

A further health benefit of sunflower seeds is that they are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications.

Among the many other health benefits of sunflower seeds is the fact that they are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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