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The health benefits of sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are already a popular snack across the world, and you’ve probably seen them sold, with or without the hull, at supermarkets and convenience stores. Sunflower oil is also a global staple, with some countries and regions depending on it for all of their household cooking needs.

Most sunflower oil is used to promote good heart health and claims other health benefits. Are sunflower seeds really good for you?

Well, let’s take a look at the nutrient content

According to the USDA Nutrient National database, sunflower seeds are filled with vitamins and lipids that are good for your body [1]. They also contain a fair amount of protein and dietary fibre, which makes them more nutritious than some other seeds. Sunflower seeds are mineral rich and contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc [2]. Sunflower seeds also contain Vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, Vitamin B-6, Folate, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin A (RAE), Vitamin A (IU), Vitamin E, Vitamin D2 and D3, and Vitamin K. 

The lipids in sunflower seeds are what make them good for heart health, as they contain unsaturated fat. Per 100g, sunflower seeds on average have around 18g of monounsaturated fats and 23g of polyunsaturated fats [3]. Both these values vastly outstrip the 4g of saturated fat, or the bad kind of fat, present in the seeds. 

Are sunflower seeds really good for you?  

Yes. They help with cholesterol management

The high amount of unsaturated fats in sunflower seeds versus the amount of saturated fats makes them a good source of healthy fats required for the human body. By replacing saturated fats in your diet, like meats, hard cheeses, cakes, and so on with small amounts of healthy fats like sunflower seeds, you can reduce your cholesterol levels and also prevent them from rising [4]. 

Yes. They are a healthy and nutritious snack food

 As sunflower seeds contain significant amounts of proteins and dietary fibre, they are excellent snack foods. Hulled sunflower seeds contain less fibre than unhulled ones, and should be eaten more if possible

Yes. They can help prevent bladder cancer

According to the NHS, replacing saturated fats in your diets with sunflower seeds can help reduce your risk for bladder cancer [6]. A low-fat, high fibre diet is prescribed for bladder cancer, a diet that works well with sunflower seeds as they are naturally low fat and high fibre. Sunflower seeds also help with bowel cancer, hypertension, and cardiac health. 

As a snack food or in small quantities in the form of oil, sunflower seeds can have a positive impact on your health, especially if they replace the saturated fats in your diet. Start using sunflower seeds in your diet today to see a healthy change in your body.


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