Including sunflower seeds in your diet is a savvy health hack, a smart and easy way to support your health. Sunflower seeds are amazing sources of a number of vitamins and minerals that many of us don’t get enough of but which play important roles in keeping you healthy.
A 1/4 cup serving of sunflower seeds covers more than 80% of your vitamin E and 70% of your copper, both of which play important roles in immune function. Sunflower seeds also provide substantial amounts of B1, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B-6, which support your immune system as well as many other bodily processes.
When your body gets the nutrients it needs, you’re far more likely to get sick less often, have more energy, and feel better all around. Sunflower seeds can help!
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and eating more vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds can lower your risk of many diseases. Vitamin E’s antioxidant powers may also help protect skin from the effects of aging and sun damage.
The selenium in sunflower seeds may help with thyroid function, which millions of people struggle with.
B-6 and magnesium can help you sleep better.
(And all of the above play a role in immune system function, along with copper, found in sunflower seeds as well.)
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Sunflower seeds contain two nutrients that promote cardiovascular health — vitamin E and folate.
A quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds contains over 60% of the daily value of vitamin E. This essential vitamin performs the important antioxidant function and balanced levels of vitamin E have been linked to a lower overall reduced risk of early death from cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E helps neutralize free radicals to protect brain health and cell membranes against redness and swelling. Make no mistake about the benefits of vitamin E, it has been linked to protection from more than one serious health risk.
Additionally, folate has been shown to promote cardiovascular health from birth to old age. It metabolizes homocysteine, an indicator of cardiovascular problems, into methionine, an essential amino acid. Folate and essential fatty acids naturally occur in sunflower seeds and have been associated with cardiovascular health.
Phytosterols Promote Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Sunflower seeds contain a high level of phytosterols. These phytosterols have physical properties similar to cholesterol; more than once, research has linked them to support healthy cholesterol levels.
Potent Source of Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency can lead to a variety of health problems that affect the cardiovascular, nervous, and immune systems. The muscles and skeletal system also require magnesium for proper function. Homeopathic practitioners have long used magnesium to promote respiratory function, heart health, and reduced PMS tension.
And a quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds provides more than 25% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. That’s protection for your brain, heart, muscles and more!
Supports a Healthy Mood
There’s an added bonus to the magnesium in sunflower seeds, it promotes a healthy mood. Over one hundred years ago, magnesium sulfate was given to patients suffering from depression. Its success, as well as its safety, made it a valuable option. Today magnesium plays an essential role in homeopathic therapies for mental health.
Contains Selenium: A Powerful Antioxidant and Great for Thyroid Health
Sunflower seeds contain selenium, an essential nutrient. Studies have found it plays a role in the antioxidant function and helps reduce redness and swelling in the body. It also has recently been identified for its critical role in thyroid hormone metabolism. Selenium has also been noted for its ability to encourage DNA repair in damaged cells.
How to enjoy the health benefits of sunflower seeds
- Eat roasted seeds as a snack
- Sprinkle roasted or raw sunflower seeds on salads
- Add to baked goods, like breakfast cookies or granola bars
- Add to granola or overnight oats
When possible, soak your seeds overnight. Like many other nuts and seeds, the nutrients in sunflower seeds become more available when soaking breaks down the phytic acid that most of us are better off avoiding when we can.