Dr Libby on sunflower seeds
People who consume nuts and seeds on a regular basis have been shown to lower their risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and sunflower seeds, with their numerous vitamins and minerals, are a convenient way to add extra nutrients to many meals to help your body maintain optimal functioning.
Sunflower seeds are a nutritional gift from the sunflower. They’re a good source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E helps protect your cells against free radicals — chemicals that oxidise and damage your proteins, cell membranes and DNA. Oxidation is one way we age so by consuming more antioxidants, such as vitamin E, we slow the ageing process from the inside out. This vitamin also promotes healthy circulation by helping you make red blood cells.
Magnesium — necessary for healthy bones and energy production is also found in sunflower seeds. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is in our bones, helping to give bones their physical structure. The rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed.
Eating sunflower seeds is a great support for beautiful skin hair and nails, as they contain zinc. Zinc is essential for wound healing and for the reduction of scar tissue formation. It is also critical to a healthy immune system and is a mineral many people today don’t get enough of.
Sunflower seeds contain nutritious fats that are prone to rancidity so it is best to store them in an airtight container or in the fridge. They can also be stored in the freezer.
- Eat them alone, add them to trail mix or sprinkle on top of cereals and salads.
- Add to salads.
- Sprinkle on top of scrambled eggs or a stirfry.
- Soak the seeds in water overnight, then blend into pureed soups to add nutrients and texture, or grind them to make your own sunflower seed buter, an alternative to peanut butter.
- They make a great pesto.