Sunflower a superlative choice for diet and health



Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) belongs to the family Compositae. Its plant is 5-feet tall and it produces large brilliant yellow flowers and edible seeds. This tall plant earned its name because its flowers resemble the sun and twist on their stems to follow the sun throughout day. While sunflowers are thought to have originated in Mexico and Peru, they are one of the first plants to have ever been cultivated in the United States. They have been used for more than 5,000 years by the Native Americans.


A. Sunflower Seed:


Sunflower seeds are very rich in protein and in essential fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for the good health of the nerves, brain and eyes and for the general health.Two types of sunflower seeds are produced, oilseed and confectionary. Sunflower seeds can be dried or roasted and used as a medicine in world.


Amazing health benefits of sunflower seeds


There are great benefits of sunflower seeds but some of these are given below.


I. Avoids cellular destruction:


Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is a vital component of your day-to-day nutritional needs. These seeds are great antioxidants that stop the extensive spread of free radicals within the human body. These free radicals can lead to a variety of cellular damage and diseases. Rich, natural sources of vitamin E are rare, but sunflower seeds are rich in this vitamin, which aids in the proper functioning of the circulatory system.


II. Increases the process of digestion:


Sunflower seeds have a large amount of dietary fiber. If your body is deficient in fiber, you may experience a host of health problems like constipation, piles and colon cancer etc. The recommended amount of fiber is around 30 grams per day for an adult and most people fail to consume even 15 grams per day. By including sunflower seeds in your diet, you can easily get a rich supply of the dietary fiber and reduce the possibility of digestion-related problems.


III. Supports Bones and Mus cles:


The iron in sunflower seeds distributes oxygen to your muscles, while zinc strengthens your immune system and helps you to avoid coughs and cold. Magnesium is also essential for strong bones and energy production. Almost 2/3 of the magnesium in the human body is stored in the bones. Magnesium aids the bones in their physical structure and strength, while the remaining magnesium is found on the surface of the bones, which is used up by the body as required.


IV. Recovers Brain Health:


It has been proven in several studies that sunflower seeds can actually have a calming effect on your brain and also help uplift your mood. This property of sunflower seeds is due to the high content of tryptophan present within the seeds. When you have foods containing tryptophan, it efficiently increases your brains fabrication of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. Serotonin also effectively reduces tension, thereby creating a relaxed feeling.


B. Sunflower oil:


Sunflower oil has cleansing properties; it is both a diuretic and an expectorant. Sunflower oil and kernels meet that challenge with their combination of health benefits and flavor.


HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUNFLOWER OIL


i. Anti-Inflammatory and Cardiovascular Benefits


Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the bodys primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions where free radicals and inflammation play a big role. In addition, vitamin E plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is one of the main antioxidants found in cholesterol particles and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol.


ii. Phytosterols decreases the level of cholesterol:


Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers. Phytosterols beneficial effects are so dramatic that they have been extracted from soybean, corn, and pine tree oil and added to processed foods, such as “butter”-replacement spreads, which are then touted as cholesterol-lowering “foods.”


iii. Calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels with sunflower seeds magnesium:


Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Natures own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue.


iv. Improved detoxification and cancer prevention from sunflower seeds selenium:


Sunflower seeds are also a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that is of fundamental importance to human health. Accumulated evidence from prospective studies, intervention trials and studies on animal models of cancer has suggested a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence. In addition, selenium is incorporated at the active site of many proteins, including glutathione peroxidase, which is particularly important for cancer protection. One of the bodys most powerful antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase is used in the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. Its selenium richness is another reason that sunflower seeds can make a good snack.

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