Sunflower seeds are the fruits of sunflower that are harvested from the flower head of sunflower plant. The seeds are white and are encased in a white and black striped shell. These seeds have a mild, nutty flavor with high nutritional value. These seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, a firm yet delicate texture with high nutritional value. You can roast the seeds or fry them with butter, or eat them raw. Moreover, the seeds can be added even to cookies, muffins, smoothies, salads, and many other sweets and dishes for extra flavor. Once the flower heads are emptied, they can be used as a disposable scrubbing pad for jobs too tough for your cleaning tool.
The Botanical name of this annual flower is Helianthus annuus. The name comes from the Greek “helios,” meaning sun, and “anthos,” which means flower. The flower has got its name because they track the sun.
Botanical Classification of Sunflower
Common Names of Sunflower
- Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus
- Tamil Name: சூரியகாந்தி
- English Name: Sunflower
- Malayalam Name: സൂര്യകാന്തി/sūryakānti
- Kannada Name: ಸೂರ್ಯಕಾಂತಿ/Sūryakānti
- Telugu Name: పొద్దుతిరుగుడు/Poddutiruguḍu
- Marathi Name: सूर्यफूल/Sūryaphūla
- Hindi Name-:सूरजमुखी/soorajmukhi
- Punjabi Name:- ਸੂਰਜਮੁਖੀ/Sūrajamukhī
- Urdu Name: سورج مکھی/ surajmukhee
- Gujrati Name: સૂર્યમુખી/ Sūryamukhī
- Odia Name: ସୂର୍ଯ୍ୟମୁଖୀ
- Nepali Name:- सूर्यमुखी/Sūryamukhī
- French Name:- Tournesol
- Russian Name: – подсолнечник/podsolnechnik
- Persian Name:- گل آفتابگردان
- Arabic Name:- دوار الشمس/duwwar alshams
Interesting Facts About Sunflowers
More than 70 species of sunflowers are there in this world. A single sunflower head may contain up to 1000-2000 seeds. The seeds are developed in the mid-section of the flower called the ovary. Each sunflower head is made of thousands of tiny flowers.
Sunflowers can be grown in different shapes; some may be tall while some may be short. The tallest sunflower ever recorded was over 30 feet, 1 inch, and grown in Germany in 2014. This was recorded by Guinness World Records on 28-August,2014.
Sunflowers are native to America over 5000 years ago where they developed for oil, food, dye, and medicine. Like many wide-spread plants, a sunflower is also known by various names such as Wild sunflower, Common Sunflower, and Annual flower. They produce large nutritious seeds, and they are used as food for both humans and birds.
Sunflowers are available in all parts of the world, but not all the seeds are used to extract oil. The oil extraction is done in two methods, and they are Warm pressed and Cold pressed. Sunflower seeds are categorized into two types as Oilseeds and Non-oil seeds. Each variety has its unique levels of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
The species which produce oilseeds are grown commercially for the production of sunflower oil. The oil can also be used for cooking, skincare remedy, and to make some medicines.
The species that produce non-oil seeds are known as confectionary flowers. These seeds cannot produce oil, but they are used as a great snacking for humans to eat. The seed contains proteins, vitamin B-6, E, selenium and folate, and other rich nutrients which are healthy for your body. You can also roast the seeds with a little bit of salt to enhance the taste.
The following nutritional information list is for serving one-ounce of dry roasted sunflower seed kernels without adding salt:
Sunflower Seeds Nutrition
Total Fat: 14 grams
Monounsaturated Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat: 9 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 1 milligram
Carbs: 7 grams
Sugars: 0 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 5.5 grams
Calcium: 20 milligrams (2% DV)
Vitamin A: 2.5 IU (0% Daily Value)
Vitamin C: 0.5 mg (4% DV)
Iron: 1 milligram (6% DV)
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds help boost the immune system as it’s loaded with rich nutrients, including vitamin B-6, Vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. Consuming sunflower seeds in a moderate amount supports your immune system and increases your ability to fight against several infectious diseases. The tiny crunchy seeds also contain selenium that helps the body to fight against certain types of cancer and boosts the immune system.
The powerful antioxidants in sunflower seeds prevent free radicals and are even suitable for your skin.
The zinc present in the seeds protects your body from allergies, inflammation, and invading pathogens and prevents infections and increases overall immunity.
Moreover, selenium plays a vital role in reducing inflammation, fighting infection, and reducing free radicals’ oxidative stress.
Boosts your Heart Health
Sunflower seeds are rich in healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It also contains sodium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. They help in controlling the blood cholesterol levels and lowering the blood pressure. Low blood cholesterol means reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Research has found that people who consume the right amount of vitamin-E supplements will have a lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. So you can include sunflower seeds in your daily diet.
Three-four cups of sunflower seeds contain 14g of fat, and it’s linked to lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disorders.
Go ahead and snack on sunflower seeds to keep your heart healthy!
Studies from Science Daily have shown that sunflower seeds are great in lowering LDL cholesterol in the blood. The seeds contain phytosterol compounds that aid in reducing heart disease and carry benefits for lowering cholesterol levels.
A person with high cholesterol can be benefitted by the regular consumption of sunflower seeds. It regulates the cholesterol levels and, therefore, increases HDL cholesterol and reduces total serum cholesterol levels.
If the body’s cholesterol levels are controlled, then the chances of heart disease will reduce drastically.
A Powerhouse of Energy
Sunflower seeds contain high levels of a protein that helps in boosting your energy levels. In addition to that, it has other rich nutrients like selenium and Vitamins, especially vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin converts food into energy and keeps you energized throughout the day.
One ounce of sunflower seed contains 164 calories, which gives you sufficient energy for your body. So, adding sunflower seeds in your breakfast is the better option, as it gives you the required energy to work throughout the day.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Sunflower seeds help in preventing breast cancer due to the presence of phytosterol and beta-sitosterol. Thus it also averts the growth of tumor cells and helps in repairing DNA.
The seeds also have a powerful antioxidant enzyme that is strongly linked in reducing cancer risk and helps the liver to detoxify several harmful molecules.
Studies have shown that Sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium. High intake of selenium reduces cancer risk by up to 30%. Along with selenium, a whole range of amino acids present in the seeds protects against cancer.
A fiber present in the sunflower seeds also helps in reducing the chances of colon cancer.
Strengthening of bones and muscles
Sunflower seeds are a good source of manganese and copper. The minerals present in sunflower seeds, such as phosphorus, copper, zinc, and many others, increases the bones’ density and strength. Magnesium and copper are necessary for the synthesis of connective tissues in cartilages and also for healthy bones. About two-third of magnesium in our body is needed for our bones.
People with high magnesium intake will have higher bone density, which is essential in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Adequate intake of magnesium will help older women improve their bone density.
Helps in Treating Anaemia
Iron is a mineral, and is very much essential in making haemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Sunflower seeds contain sufficient iron, which increases iron deficiency levels and helps people from anemia.
One ounce(30 grams) of sunflower seeds provides 10% of iron required for daily usage.
Boosts functions of Brain
Sunflower seeds are a great snack to boost the functions of the brain. As it contains vitamin B6, it impacts your mental processing powers, improves overall mood, enhances memory and concentration. Also, it releases norepinephrine and serotonin into our bodies.
Sunflower seeds contain a good amount of vitamin E and zinc that boosts the progesterone levels and fights off the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Management of Diabetes
The sunflower seeds have the tendency to lower the effects of blood sugar in patients with type-2 diabetes and it is recommended as a natural household remedy.
Some studies say that it can also decrease the impact of carbs on blood sugar. The fats and proteins present in the seeds will slow down the rate of your stomach emptying, and allows a gradual release of sugar from carbs. Along with that, the seeds have high dietary fiber that prevents high sugar spikes.
Helps to Detox our Body
Sunflower seeds have potent antibacterial properties. They aid in removing the germs and bacteria from the cells effectively. The seed kernels also help to flush out toxins from the body.
Supports Your Nervous System
Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium content, which is suitable for your nervous system too. Magnesium is naturally found in the natural receptors of nerve cells and triggers their normal activities. Moreover, natural receptors are necessary for learning, good memory, and brain development.
Research has found that magnesium is an essential compound for your nervous system to function properly.
The high magnesium content in the sunflower seeds also improves mood and promotes a good feeling. In olden days, magnesium sulfate was widely used to treat depression and also in homeopathy treatment for mental health therapy. Hence, it keeps you away from depression, anxiety, and stress.
Supports Healthy Digestion
Fiber is a significant material that helps in maintaining your digestive tract work smoothly and healthy. Also, it is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate. Taking foods with high fiber content helps you to maintain a healthy digestive system. It also allows you to regulate food digestion, metabolism, and absorption. Some fibers are fermentable and offer you a healthy bacterial environment for your large intestines.
The seeds are a good source of insoluble fiber. Amongst the different varieties of seeds, sunflower seeds provide some fiber that can help you ease constipation. If you like to have roots, again this is one of the best ways to add more fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your daily diet to relieve constipation.
You can use 1-2 spoons of sunflower seeds to relieve constipation and grind them in a coffee grinder. Then add them into a cup of boiling water and sweeten the mixture with maple syrup or honey. Consume this sunflower drink both day and night to help ease constipation.
Helps in Weight Loss
Sunflower seeds contain Tryptophan which helps to regulate appetite. It also contains chlorogenic acid. Few studies suggest that this component can support weight loss. Fiber, Protein, and fat are incredibly filling, thus making an optimal choice for snacking.
Cures Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infection is also named onychomycosis, which occurs due to the overgrowth of fungus on your fingernails or toenails. Rarely it causes pain or a slight foul smell.
This fungal infection is quite difficult to treat, and it can also return back even after you are treated completely.
Ozonized sunflower oil is an effective remedy for treating finger or toenail fungus. Some studies show that 90.5% of people who used ozonized sunflower oil twice a day for three months were completely cured from their nastic fungal nail infection. On the other hand, about 2.8% of people who used this treatment have experienced a relapse at the same year of their treatment.
Use ozonized sunflower oil twice a day to get rid of fungal nail infections.
Improves Male Fertility
Sunflower seeds contain essential fats, nutrients, and minerals. Like zinc, these are also vital for male fertility. Research has found that intake of an adequate amount of zinc can improve sperm count, quality, and sperm motility in men.
A 100 gms of sunflower seeds may give you 5mg of zinc. Including these nutrient-rich sunflower seeds in your daily diet is an excellent way to maintain proper sperm levels without making any significant dietary changes.
Prevent Birth Defects
Sunflower seeds contain lots of folates, which are essential for spine and brain development. It also aids in preventing congenital disabilities known as neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
The deficiency of folic acid triggers various problems like developmental disorders in your growing child.
Expecting Mothers and Expected Babies
During pregnancy, eating sunflower seeds is highly beneficial because they are also rich in vitamin E, potassium, phosphorus, and antioxidants. The minerals and phosphorus found in the sunflower seeds may help in the development of the bones of an unborn baby. Moreover, the phytochemicals present in the sunflower seeds may improve your immune system during pregnancy to enhance the body’s ability to accept the growing fetus.
As they contain precious phytochemicals, your immune system typically gets compromised during pregnancy, and is improved by these seeds as well. Folate requirement increases during pregnancy so sunflower seeds can be a great addition in your diet which supplies folate.
Breastfeeding and Postpartum
Seeds are not clinically proven to have a lactogenic property like nuts. But, sunflower seeds have been used for centuries to help lactating mothers for their high vitamins, minerals, and iron contents.
Risks of Eating Sunflower Seeds During Pregnancy
Sunflower seeds are fruitful during pregnancy as it’s rich in nutrients. But they can pose health risks in pregnancy when consumed in excess amounts. Here are some of the risk factors that should be kept in mind:
An excessive amount of sunflower seeds can lead to phosphorus toxicity, leading to non-skeletal issues and kidney damage.
You might suffer from selenium toxicity which may lead to symptoms like selenosis. Fatigue and irritability are common symptoms in this case.
Overeating sunflower seeds can also result in skin outbreaks and make your nails and hair brittle.
Excellent Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Skin & Hair
Tiny sunflower seeds pack in quite a punch of nutrients, and they are very high in vitamins and essential minerals; they have many significant benefits for our skin. Adequate nutrition in our food helps us quickly get flawless, gorgeous skin.
Sunflower seeds are a versatile, healthy, and tasty snack with more essential nutrients. The seeds not only keep you healthy from the inside but also enhances the health of your skin and hair. Therefore, including these healthy seeds in your diet can improve your overall health.
Sunflower seeds are perfect for lustrous and bright skin. The seeds are packed with essential fatty acids like oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acid, all of which helps in collagen and elastin formation that provides bright and smooth skin.
These seeds being a good source of nutrients, it also provides enough moisture and nourishment to the cells to keep your skin soft, smooth, supple, and healthy.
Fights Premature Aging
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin- E and are considered a potent natural remedy to fight premature aging signs.
The Vitamin-E-rich seeds protect your skin from sun damages, free radical injuries, and environmental damages, which is essential for determining the signs of aging and preserving the vitality of skin. Along with these, anti-inflammatory properties in the seeds can wreak havoc on the skin over time.
Detox inside and Beautiful skin outside
As mentioned earlier, the sunflower seeds are rich in high-magnesium content that weeds germs and bacteria, thereby flushing out the harmful toxins from the body. It also helps in preventing clogged pores and giving you an overall brighter appearance.
Additionally, the seeds contain antibacterial properties that impacts on the internal surface of the body, wards off breakouts, infections, and other skin problems.
Averts UV Damage
Sunflower seeds act as a natural sunscreen and provide excellent sun protection. The beta carotene present in the sunflower seeds facilitates melanin production in your body, thereby reducing skin sensitivity against the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays of the sun and keeping it as healthy as possible.
Moisturizes Hair Fibers
Sunflower seeds are an excellent natural hair moisturizer. It has essential fatty acids, especially omega-6 fatty acids, which infuse your hair with moisture and works deep inside to provide moisture to your hair strands and prevent them from drying. It also reduces split ends and thus helps in promoting strong and healthy hair.
Stimulates Hair Growth
The sunflower seeds are enriched with Vitamin-E and zinc, which promotes the growth of your hair significantly. Both these components can boost the circulation throughout your scalp, thereby stimulating the follicle’s healthier, faster, and stronger hair growth cycles.
Fights Hair Loss
Another fantastic benefit of sunflower seed is that it stops extreme hair fall by the presence of pyridoxine or vitamin B6, which increases zinc absorption in the body and supplies enough oxygen to your scalp. These components have the ability to fight against hair fall and thus help in reducing hair loss.Sunflower Seeds Sunflower Oil
Side Effects of Sunflower Seeds
--> Excessive consumption of sunflower seeds may cause constipation, vomiting, and stomach ache. An individual can eat only 30 grams of Sunflower seeds per day.
--> Eating spoiled sprouted seeds may lead to bacterial infection.
--> Consuming too much sunflower seeds may lead to weight gain as it is rich in calories.
--> Eating too many sunflower seeds is harmful to your kidneys as it contains traces of cadmium.
--> If an individual is allergic to sunflower seeds, it may show symptoms like breathing problems, itching and swelling around the mouth, rashes, vomiting, etc.
Sunflower seeds are a versatile vitamin-packed snack. These are all healthy, natural, and extremely versatile so that you can enjoy them by adding it to any light dishes for a nutty, crunchy, and tasty snack.
Moreover, these seeds are the safest foods when consumed in recommended dosage. While consuming these sunflower seeds, be palpable of your daily dosage to prevent unexpected weight gain.
These seeds hold good nutritional value and help in managing several health concerns. These seeds are readily available worldwide and can add many health benefits for all genders and ages