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Sunflower Seeds

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3076/2

The sunflower is an amazing flower, and its plentiful seeds are packed with health benefits that can help you from head to toe. They’re easily available all year round, and just a scant handful of them can mean dramatic improvement in the way you feel.

Sunflower seeds are the gift of the beautiful sunflower that has rays of petals emanating from its bright yellow, seed-studded center. The flower produces grayish-green or black seeds encased in tear-dropped shaped gray or black shells that oftentimes feature black and white stripes.

Sweet, nutty sunflower seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. By protecting these cellular and molecular components, 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. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications.

Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, help reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response, and decrease risk of certain cancers.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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