The last hour has been spent researching the benefits of Sunflower Seeds. I have to say I am impressed with what I found out, even though a little cautious due to the high calorie content of 1/4 cup of seeds daily.
Dr. Oz peaked my curiosity once again today on his program when he featured sunflower seeds on part of his show. He stated that only 1/4 cup a day provides almost 61% of the Vitamin E recommended per day which he claimed could have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and health. I am always looking for things to reduce blood pressure so I thought I would do further research.
There is a detailed analysis of sunflower seeds at www.whfoods.com/genpage.
where you can read more.
In summary, I will list what I found out at the site below. See the article itself for details.
This amount can have anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. Their phytosterols can reduce immune response and decrease the risk of certain cancers, along with reducing cholesterol levels.
The magnesium in this amount (32% daily value) calms nerves, muscles and blood vessels and can reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The Selenium content (30.6% daily value) is used by the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules and might result in cancer prevention.
All of this from an inexpensive (I buy the seeds in bulk at my local grocery outlet), nutty, easy to carry with for snacks, and delicious food seems to me worth including in my diet.
The above article suggests several ways to incorporate the seeds into your diet
* adding sunflower seeds to your favorite tuna, chicken, or turkey salad recipe
* garnishing mixed green salad with sunflower seeds
* adding sunflower seeds to scrambled eggs to give them a unique taste and texture
* using fine ground sunflower seeds to dust your meats with in place of flour
* sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals
In addition I know I love to just munch on the little seeds. Because they are so small they take a long time to consume if you have them one at a time and are delicious. You can toast them to make them even more flavorful.
They do come with a drawback. 1/4 cup of seeds has 186.2 calories, total fat 15.9g, saturated fat 1.7g, but also have many healthy fats including polyunsaturated fat 10.5 g, monounsaturated fat 3.0 g, and best of all have no trans fat, no cholesterol, only 1.0 mg sodium if the unsalted variety, potassium 372.0mg, only 7.7 g total carbohydrates, dietary fiber 3.6g, only 0.9 g sugar, and 5.2 g protein.
Check the Spark Nutritional Report for all of the vitamins and minerals that they provide. It is an impressive list and quite a pack of nutrition for 1/4 cup.
I have decided that the calorie hit is worth the health benefits. I plan to add 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds into my daily nutrition for the next two weeks and see how it goes. I don't think it will be much of a sacrifice as I think I would rather have them than many treat foods with the same amount of calories and fat. This step will be part of my plan to eat healthier. At the end of the two weeks I will decide if I wish to continue consuming the 1/4 cup daily or at least several times a week.
I am so grateful to SparkPeople, Dr. Oz, and other sources that introduce me to these superfoods. Eating healthy can be fun.
Does anyone have recipes or ideas for sunflower seeds that they would like to share?