April 29, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated April 30, 2021
Eating sunflowers seeds is not just for pleasure
Recipes and meals apart, nuts and seeds make part of our daily lives from morning till bedtime. Most of us would use these crunchy tiny nuts and kernels in various recipes to obtain a unique nutty flavor. Others love them so much that they would prefer to keep them close by for bites between meals and snacks. While the remaining category of people who are nuts about seeds and the like will probably have their pocket full for all tie use, just like me!
Sunflower seeds have been my most loyal companion during my walking hours, my reading time, my late-night movies, and my private stolen moments. I’m quite sure that many people would relate strongly. Well, if you are a huge fan of these seeds then I have excellent news for you; eating sunflowers seeds is not just for pleasure.
Are sunflower seeds nuts?
Are sunflower seeds nuts? This question has been on the most heated debate list for quite a while. To answer it once and for all, sunflower seeds are not even close to tree nuts. Despite the popular belief that has been the result of misunderstanding and mostly the way we treat these seeds, sunflowers are not nuts.
As a matter of fact, all seeds, such as sesame seeds, pumpkin, chia…etc, come from plants not related to nuts-bearing trees. They neither have the same biological roots nor do they contain the same proteins and nutrients.
So what are these seeds? Sunflower seeds are the fruits of the sunflower or the Helianthus annuus. This species is mostly cultivated in tropical and temperate regions. They thrive during the summer up until the early fall season.
They originate in the Americas. It is believed that they were first cultivated by Native Americans and later transported to Europe.
Sunflowers are the namesake of the sun as they do actually look it. They can grow for up to 300 cm. and they bear one or more flower heads. Many people plant them for ornamental purposes; indeed, their sight is breathtaking.
Today, sunflower seeds are cultivated and commercially distributed worldwide. The top five producing countries, during recent years, are Ukraine, Russia, European Union, Argentina, and Turkey.
The nutritional profile of the sunflower seeds:
A serving of 100 grams of these seeds has the following nutritional profile, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Calories: 584Total Fat: 51 g
- Saturated fat: 4.5 g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 23 g
- Monounsaturated fat: 19 g
- Sodium: 9 mg
- Potassium: 645 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 20 g
- Dietary fiber: 9 g
- Sugar: 2.6 g
- Protein: 21 g
- Vitamin A: 1 %
- Vitamin C: 2 %
- Calcium: 7 %
- Iron: 29 %
- Vitamin B6: 65 %
- Magnesium: 81 %
Health benefits of sunflowers:
Sunflower seeds contain plant-based anti-inflammation properties such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and vitamin E. vitamin E and selenium protect against free radicals damage. One study revealed that people who included sunflower and other seeds in their daily meals had lower levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, which is one risk factor for heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium has significant effects on blood pressure levels and relaxing blood vessels. A review of thirteen studies revealed that people who had linoleic acid as part of their diets witnessed a 15 percent lower risk of heart diseases.
Chlorogenic acid, a plant-based compound found in sunflower seeds, is said to have positive effects on blood sugar levels.
sunflower seeds are high on fats, probably that’s why most plantations are meant for extracting oil; however, the fats in these seeds are mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are heart-friendly and essential for the body.
Zinc is essential for the development of the immune system and its good functioning. This compound is found in sunflower seeds. Vitamin B6 is vital for the brain.
Cause of allergies?
Since the general misunderstanding has been classifying sunflower seeds with nuts, most people ask can they eat sunflowers if they are allergic to nuts. Well, the answer is, even if you are allergic to nuts or some varieties of nuts you still can eat seeds. Being allergic to the former does not mean that you are allergic to the latter because they don’t have the same allergy foils. Nevertheless, seeds too might cause allergies. Therefore, you need to check with your dietician or expert first.
How do you eat these seeds?
Like all nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds are a great addition to trail mixes, energy bars, and granolas. They are of course an excellent food on their own for a movie hour or a match broadcast. They are indeed savory substitutes for popcorn.
These seeds can be also part of salads, desserts, baked goods, and muffins. You can be creative when it comes to using sunflower seeds because they can be added to a variety of dishes because of the more or less neutral taste. There is really no just one way to eating sunflowers seeds.