Sunflower seeds are small, but they provide a powerhouse of nutrition! But among all the nuts and seeds that are touted for their nutrition, these seeds are often left out. I decided to show them some love in this blog post, and convince you why you should love some today!
Are Sunflower Seeds Good for You?
To be clear, all nuts and seeds are healthy–they all provide similar but different nutritional punches. Here are the top five reasons why you should eat the small seed that’s easy to eat and one of the most economical!
- Vitamin E Luckily, they provide 82% of the Daily Value of vitamin E in just 1/4 cup. Why do you need vitamin E? It has many important roles in the body–it’s an antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties, is important for your immune system and it’s also good for your skin. Most Americans don’t get enough of this vitamin.
- Phytosterols. Have you seen margarines containing phytosterols? Plants like corn, soybeans and sunflower seeds contain compounds called phytosterols, which can help lower cholesterol. They are put into special margarines to help lower cholesterol. Eating sunflower seeds can help you get those compounds from a whole food.
- Magnesium. Sunflower seeds have 27% of the Daily Value of Magnesium in 1/4 cup. Why is magnesium important? Magnesium helps the muscles relax, which gives it super powers. For example, magnesium can help the body maintain a healthy blood pressure as well as affect the severity of asthma. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who experience migraine headaches have lower levels of serum and tissue magnesium than those who do not. Surveys show that 48% of American’s don’t get enough magnesium.
- Selenium is a hard-to-find mineral that’s a powerful antioxidant. Research shows it protects DNA from damage, therefore it may help prevent cancer. If you are receiving fertility treatments, you may be told to eat foods high in selenium.
- Easy to eat. Sunflower seeds are easy to eat and a great substitute for other nuts and nut butters due to allergies. So it’s perfect to send to school or sports practice.
How to Eat These Healthy Seeds!
Of course the easiest way to eat them is to just grab a handful, but here are some other ideas!
- Add to your morning hot or cold cereal. This adds protein to your grain, which will help you stay full longer.
- Use sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter on sandwiches and in sauces.
- Use them in place of other nuts in pesto. Toast them to give them a roasted flavor.
- Add them to granola or trail mix.
- Use them in your Buddha Bowl.
- Keep a jar in your desk drawer for a quick snack.
- Add them to rice, quinoa or other cooked grains.
- Sprinkle on a salad–it’s a great way to add crunch. Most restaurant salad bars have them for the sprinkling!