Sunflower seeds are well known as a delightfully salty snack, but what many people don’t realize is how seriously nutritious they are. Packed with vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fats, sunflower seeds have been linked to a number of health benefits ranging from supporting thyroid health to reducing the risk of heart disease.
We think that everyone deserves to reap the health benefits of these tiny seeds, which is why we use them as the base of our Gourmet Seed Butter.
History of Sunflower Seeds
The benefits of sunflower seeds may be new to us but were common knowledge of our ancestors. Native to North America, the sunflower was an important crop for Native Americans. Evidence suggests that cultivation of the wild plant began over 3000 years ago.
Every part of the plant was used – a dye was extracted from the leaves and the dried stalks were even used as a building material! However, it was the seeds themselves that were the most valued, both as a food source and as medicine.
Early explorers brought sunflower seeds back to Europe where they gained popular appeal, especially in Russia. By the early 19th century, over 2 million acres of Russian farmland were dedicated to growing sunflowers.
100 years later, sunflowers were again being planted in the US, and today, amid their rising popularity as a health food, over 2 million acres are dedicated to growing sunflower seeds.
So what exactly are the health benefits of sunflower seeds?
So, What Are The Health Benefits Of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are rich in a number of heart-healthy vitamins, minerals and compounds. A number of factors contribute to the risk of heart disease, including sustained inflammation.
Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that reduces the body’s inflammation. They also have high levels of phytosterols, a beneficial plant compound that helps to reduce the body’s levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, high levels of which can lead to heart disease.
In one study, researchers found that eating just 30 grams of sunflower seeds a day led to lower levels of triglycerides, bad LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
Sunflower Seeds Support Thyroid Health
Sunflower seeds are rich in selenium, a mineral crucial to thyroid health. Selenium cannot be made by the body, so it can only be taken in through foods or supplements. The thyroid gland regulates several functions within the body, including temperature, metabolism and heart rate.
Health experts estimate that some 6% of the population suffers from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Eating foods rich in selenium is the best way to support thyroid health.
Sunflower Seeds Help Fight Cancer
Cancer is a complex disease that has many causes. Antioxidants, like those found in sunflower seeds, block the chemical processes that lead to cancer. Vitamin E and selenium are also anti sacrilegious, as they both aid in deterring tumor development.
Antioxidants are also great for the skin, keeping it hydrated and strong. So in addition to feeling healthier on the inside, sunflower seeds can also give skin that youthful glow that makes you look healthier on the outside!
Sunflower seeds are a virtual powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and fiber but they also have a delicious, nutty taste and crunchy texture that is impossible to resist, making them an obvious first choice for our Gourmet Seed Butter.
At Betsy’s Best, we know that good health starts with food but good food starts with taste. By using the freshest, highest quality ingredients, we make eating healthy a delicious experience!
Sunflower seeds are the key ingredient of our Gourmet Cinnamon Seed Butter, so bring a little more sun into your life with these surprisingly delicious and healthy little seeds. Now that you know the health benefits of sunflower seeds, maybe it’s time for you to branch out beyond our Gourmet Peanut, Cashew and Almond Butter.