Sunflower seed: 6 benefits and what is it for

Oilseeds, the sunflower seed group, are among the main sources of essential fatty acids. This nutrient constitutes what we call “good fat” in foods, bringing benefits to the heart.

But it’s not just the grain itself that brings more health to consumers, as its by-products also carry important nutrients. Good examples of this are sunflower oil and flour, as both are rich in fiber, facilitating digestion . And there is also the form of tea that takes all the stress out of everyday life.

Therefore, whether roasted or peeled, sunflower seed should be part of your daily diet. It can be added to recipes such as salads, breads and cakes, or consumed alone in the form of a natural snack.

6 Benefits of Sunflower Seed

In addition to fatty acids and fiber, this grain is rich in vitamin E, proteins, vegetable fats, selenium, copper and magnesium. All these nutritional characteristics are responsible for the benefits of this food. ( 1 , 2 )

1. Allied of cardiovascular health

The main factor that contributes to heart health is the presence of acids in sunflower seeds, they are: omega 6 and 9. These nutrients can regulate blood cholesterol levels, preventing cardiovascular problems such as atherosclerosis, known for accumulation of fat in the arteries.

These substances are called essential, as they are not produced by the body, so they must be consumed through food. In the case of sunflower, its edible oil is what stands out the most in this regard, consisting of 65% of polyunsaturated fatty acids and 11% of saturated ones.

But there is still vitamin E playing the antioxidant action and thus preventing the oxidation (degradation) of the molecules of good cholesterol. Not to mention phytosterols, compounds capable of reducing LDL (bad cholesterol). ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

2. Protect the skin

Just as vitamin E prevents cholesterol from being damaged, this nutrient also protects the integrity of skin cells. This means that the compound stops the degenerative action of free radicals, which can result in premature aging or even skin cancer.

Another beneficial effect is the greater availability of collagen in the body, considering that the mineral is essential for enzymes involved with this protein and with elastin. The latter, even though it is rarely found in the skin, is important to give tissue elasticity.

For example, the oil extracted from seeds is widely used by pharmaceutical industries in the preparation of a product with emollient characteristics. In other words, it is used to help moisturize the skin and hair, restoring the cell surface. ( 1 , 2 )

3. Helps in cancer prevention

Skin cancer is not the only type of this disease that can be prevented with constant consumption of the grain. Colon, bladder and prostate are other variations that have their chances of appearing reduced.

All this thanks to vitamin E, as the antioxidant action protects cells against degradation promoted by free radicals and the appearance of tumors. But another important factor in the fight against cancer is the mineral selenium, as it has the ability to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells and ends up inducing them to death. ( 1 )

4. Fight inflammation

Do you know about inflammatory diseases, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? Well then, with sunflower seeds these problems can be forgotten. This action occurs because vitamin E has an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing pain and inflammation in the body. ( 1 )

5. Prevents constipation

This benefit is the result of the high fiber content that this food has in its composition. First, they need more chewing, causing a feeling of fullness and aiding in the weight loss process. But it’s no use exaggerating the amount, as they are caloric, having 520 calories per 100 grams.

When they are in the stomach, they are not digested, and in the intestine they help to form the fecal lump, preventing constipation. But of course, so that fiber-rich foods can prevent constipation, you need to take some precautions.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) informs, an adult individual should consume 25 grams of this compound per day, but those who are not used to it should gradually adhere to the new habits. Not to mention the importance of intercalating with water, balancing absorption. ( 1 , 4 , 5 )

6. Avoid stress

The antioxidant effect also protects neurons and magnesium keeps the nerves relaxed. By combining these two properties and benefits, daily stress can be fought. ( 1 )

Recipes: what is this grain for?

In addition to the famous cooking oil, used in various preparations, sunflower seeds can be used to produce tea, milk, flour and bread. Not to mention that they make excellent afternoon snacks for those on a diet.

sunflower seed milk

This is a great option for those who have lactose intolerance or who are vegan and therefore do not consume traditional milk. See the following ingredients and how to prepare the Ham Vegetarian video.

  • 1 cup (of tea) of sunflower seeds
  • 5 cups (of tea) of filtered water
  • 1 puff of salt
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • Vanilla extract (optional).

roasted seeds

Nutritionist Nilvania Barbosa teaches how to make roasted sunflower seeds in a video on the Saúde channel at your fingertips. For the specialist, this shape combines perfectly with a salad, giving more flavor to the dish and contributing more benefits.

  • 1 cup (of tea) of husk sunflower seed
  • 1 puff of salt.

Place the seeds in a preheated skillet. Then add salt and stir until browned.

Follow the step by step:

sunflower seed tea

  • 2 tablespoons of roasted sunflower seeds
  • 300 ml of water.

Place both ingredients on low heat and allow to boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, set 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow another 20 minutes for the tea to cool. Strain and drink without sweetening, consuming up to one cup a day.

sunflower seed meal

This version of grains is rich in protein, fiber and antioxidants. It can be used in the production of cakes, breads, biscuits etc, replacing wheat flour. Also, it can be added to beverages such as yogurt and smoothies. To make this flour, you need to put the desired amount of unshelled beans in a blender. Then just beat them until they all turn to powder. ( 6 )

Seeds Bread

The recipe for this bread is made by combining several seeds, including sunflower seeds. Check out how to prepare!

  • 700 g wheat flour
  • 10 g dry ferment
  • 300 ml water
  • 15 g sal
  • 80 g azeite
  • 300 g sunflower seed, sesame , linseed , chia.

Heat the water to a warm temperature. Then separate the flour and yeast, pouring them into a bowl, adding salt and oil. With your hands, you should knead the dough and then let it rise in a warm environment. Finally, add the seeds to the dough and shape the loaves to bake in a form greased with oil and flour, in a medium-high oven. ( 7 )

Harm: sunflower side effects

In an interview with the Portuguese website New in Town, nutritionist Filipa Morgado advises the consumption of up to 15 grams of seeds per day. That’s because, according to the professional, oilseeds are all caloric and if consumed in excess can cause weight gain. In the case of restricted diets, such as for people who do not eat meat, the specialist allows the consumption of up to 160 grams, as it is an excellent source of vegetable proteins.

Now who are trying to get used to this food, the tip is to consume calmly. Until the body gets familiarized, sunflower seeds can cause flatulence and abdominal discomfort due to fiber. Also for this same reason, it is not advisable for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. ( 5 )

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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