Sunflower seeds… they’re not just for baseball dugouts anymore. Many of us are familiar with the lowly sunflower seed as an alternative to chaw in baseball dugouts across America. From little leaguers to MLB all-stars, they’ve been packing cheeks and spit on to floors and fields from Saco Maine to San Diego California. But when you strip away the salted coarse shell, you expose one of nature’s real treats. As It turns out, these tasty little kernels are packed with nutrition that offer some pretty impressive health benefits.
Reducing Inflammation - For those with short-term or chronic inflammation, sunflower seeds can offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, flavonoids, and other plant compounds that can reduce inflammation. A study found that consuming sunflower seeds and other seeds five times or more each week resulted in lower levels of inflammation, which also lowered risk factors for several chronic diseases.1
Heart healthy - Sunflower seeds are rich in ‘healthy’ fats, including polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. A three-fourths cup serving of sunflower seeds contains 14 grams of fat. Studies found that consumption of seeds — including sunflower seeds — was linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Immune System Support - Sunflower seeds are a source of many vitamins and minerals that can support your immune system and increase your ability to fight off viruses. These include both zinc and selenium. Zinc plays a vital role in the immune system, helping the body maintain and develop immune cells. Selenium also plays a role in reducing inflammation, fighting infection, and boosting immunity.
Boosting Energy Levels - While the high levels of protein in sunflower seeds already help boost your energy levels, other nutrients like vitamin B and selenium can help keep you energized. The vitamin B1 (also known as thiamin) present in sunflower seeds can help you convert food to energy, which can keep you active throughout the day. Selenium can increase blood flow and deliver more oxygen to your body.
Sunflower seeds. Who knew? We did. Now showing in brownies, blondies, pancakes and pizza crusts near you :)
1. American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 163, Issue 3, 1 February 2006, Pages 222–231, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwj033