What is 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 (hull). Botanically speaking, it is more properly referred to as an achene. When dehulled, the edible remainder is called the sunflower kernel.
There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds. Linoleic (most common), high oleic, and Nusun. Each variety has its own unique levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats. The information in this article refers mainly to the linoleic variety.
For commercial purposes, sunflower seeds are usually classified by the pattern on their husks. If the husk is solid black, the seeds are called black oil sunflower seeds. The crops may be referred to as oilseed sunflower crops. These seeds are usually pressed to extract their oil. Striped sunflower seeds are primarily used for food; as a result, they may be called confectionery sunflower seeds.
- Sunflowers seeds are widely known for their delicious, nutty and crunchy flavor. They provide high amount of energy and also contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for the body.
- Sunflower seeds are a great source of proteins with fine quality amino acids, such as tryptophan that are essential for growth, especially in children.
- They contain monounsaturated oleic acid which helps in lowering LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ and increase HDL or ‘good cholesterol’ in the blood. Studies prove that regular intake of sunflower seeds helps in preventing coronary artery disease and stroke by favoring a healthy lipid profile.
- Sunflower seeds possess health benefiting poly-phenol compounds, such as chlorgenic acid, quinic acid and caffeic acids. These natural antioxidants are very effective in removing harmful oxidant molecules from the body. Antioxidants, like chlorgenic acid, helps in reducing blood sugar levels by reducing the breakdown of glycogen in the liver.
- A rich source of vitamin E, a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, sunflower seeds maintain the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals.
- Sunflower seeds are major sources of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and is given to expectant mothers during peri-conception periods to prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
- Sunflower seeds are one of the finest sources of B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These vitamins help in reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and lowering anxiety and neurosis.
- With sufficient amount of dietary fiber present, sunflower seeds promote easy digestion, prevent constipation, lower bad cholesterol levels and monitor blood sugar levels. Additionally, the fiber is also helpful for controlling weight and preventing obesity.
- Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper are present in significant amounts in sunflower seeds, which are important for bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, and regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
- Enriched with selenium, sunflower seeds promote DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce their apoptosis, thereby eliminating worn out or abnormal cells.
- Magnesium present in sunflower seeds helps in the severity of asthma, lowering high blood pressure, preventing migraine headaches and reducing the risk of heart attack, asthma attacks and stroke. Magnesium is also important for healthy bones and energy production.
- The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.
Names In Other Languages for Sunflower Seeds(Arabic, Assamese, Bengali,Chinese, French, German, Gujarati,Hindi, Kannada, Malay, Malayalam, Oriya, Sinhala, Spanish, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Urdu):
Substitute for Sunflower Seeds
I use Pumpkin seeds
Where it can be used
Salad or eaten raw
How to Store Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflower seeds have a high fat content and easily go rancid; hence, they should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Sunflower seeds can also be stored in the freezer for a longer duration as the cold temperature doesn’t affect their texture or flavor.
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