Published: 09/20/2014 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei, PhD
Sunflower seeds are a dry product obtained from sunflowers, which are native to the Tibetan hills, and they grow wild. There are a lot of sunflower varieties, with colors of honey, white, red, etc. But the most known variety is the grey seeds with with white stripes.
Sunflower seeds properties:
- They have a good percentage of fatty acids.
- Rich in minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc.
- CIRCULATION: due to their high content of fatty acids, they reduce the risk of suffering from circulatory problems, heart attacks, and cardiovascular problems.
- ATHLETES: sunflower seeds contain a high percentage of Potassium and Magnesium, making them indispensable in athletes’ diets or people that make constant physical efforts.
- Their high levels of phosphorus and magnesium also promote good brain function.
- They are very good for keeping important organs, like the brain and heart, healthy.
- FOLIC ACID AND PREGNANCY: they are rich in folic acid, which is indispensable in pregnancy as it helps prevent deformations in the fetus.
- IMMUNE SYSTEM: they help strengthen the immune system, maintaining and increasing the body’s defenses, helping prevent and eradicate all sorts of illnesses.
- THIAMINE: or vitamin B1, is another of its elements. One of this vitamin’s functions is to prevent problems with the nervous system and to prevent tiredness.
- MEMORY: they help have a good memory.
- VITAMIN E AND THE SKIN: they possess a high vitamin E content. They are a perfect food for nourishing and rejuvenating the skin, as vitamin E is considered as one of the most potent of antioxidants, because it rejuvenates and refreshes the skin.
- OSTEOPOROSIS: they have a large amount of Calcium, which deserves attention for problems with fragile bones or calcium deficiency.
- A highly recommended food for elderly people, women who are pregnant or nursing, and children who are growing. It can be an extraordinary breakfast in the morning (note below).
- VEGETABLE MILK: it is a perfect substitute for animal dairy: sunflower seeds are an excellent substitute for milk for people who are lactose intolerant, or those that don’t consume animal products, like vegans. Sunflower seed milk is very nutritious, and can be made at home. (See final detail)
- It is said that they can help women to be fertile. Tradition says that gypsies used to frequently eat sunflower seeds, which is what gave them their fertility.
Nutritional information for 100 grams of sunflower seeds:
- 22 mg vitamin E
- 730 mg of potassium
- 100 mg of calcium
- 595 mg of phosphorus
- 395 mg of magnesium
- 8.5 grams of carbohydrates
- 47 grams of healthy fats
- 28 grams of protein
How do you keep them fresh?
If you buy sunflower seeds, it’s best to keep them fresh by storing them in a glass jar with a lid, and do not expose them to sun or hot places, but rather, fresh places. This will prevent them from easily becoming rancid.
How to consume
They can be eaten as an appetizer or as an hors d’oeuvre or a treat (substitute for junk food treats for children). You can add them to salads, breads, and some pastries or soups. Sunflower seeds can be used to make special bread. By blending sunflower seeds with other seeds or dried fruit, like beans, pumpkin, or corn, you can make a certain type of cake. The seeds are considered to be one of the foods of the future, as they contain a fair amount of nutrients that are not found in these concentrations in other foods.
Vegetable drink with sunflower seeds
- 1 cup of soft, raw, and peeled sunflower seeds, previously soaked in fresh water for 4 or 5 hours.
- Molasses, powdered brown sugar, or brown sugar to taste (try to sweeten as little as possible, you can omit the sweets and drink without sweetening)
- 6 cups of fresh water
- 1 tsp. cinnamon or vanilla, powdered
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend.
2. Strain. If it is very thick, add a bit more water. If there is a lot of liquid, add a few more seeds.
3. If you don’t want lumps in your milk, strain with a towel. However, if you eat a few of the blended seeds, that too, is very healthy. If you blend this milk with some other fruit, like a banana or strawberries, you will have a delicious and nourishing smoothie, perfect for kids before school. You can also add it to cereal in the morning or to make oats or atole.
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