Do a quick google search for superfoods or plant-based protein sources and you’re apt to come across recommendations for sunflower seeds. These delicious seeds make a quick, easy snack, or can be added into healthy recipes. They’re an easy source of plant-based protein, perfect for vegetarian or vegan diets. They’re also a recommended paleo food. So what’s so special about sunflower seeds? Let’s take a look.
To understand what’s so special about sunflower seeds, we first need to look at their nutritional value. For such a small food, they pack a huge nutritional wallop. Here are just a few of the benefits to adding sunflower seeds into your life:
One of the most important reasons so many people love sunflower seeds is that they’re a quick and easy plant-based protein source. In fact, one serving of sunflower seeds provides almost half of a day’s protein requirements. Protein is necessary to build and repair cells, including muscles and bones. Even on a keto diet or a paleo diet, protein is an important component to your nutrition.
Often, people mistakenly think that fat is the enemy in a healthy diet. In fact, there’s an amount of healthy fat that is necessary in a well-rounded diet. Healthy fats, like those found in seeds and nuts, actually lower LDL cholesterol. This, in turn, reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Fiber-rich diets are amazing for your digestive system. Fiber helps to clear nasty toxins out of your body. Fiber also slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into your blood, which, in turn, lowers your chances of developing diabetes or worsening diabetes.
One of the most important nutrients in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, is folic acid. Sunflower seeds are a great, natural source of folates. Proper consumption of folic acid in the first trimester can help prevent neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida. In addition to these folates, sunflower seeds also provide potassium, which can help reduce lower blood pressure during pregnancy.
In addition to these many specific benefits to eating sunflower seeds, they’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals. These nutrients work together to keep your body functioning at its optimal level.
Of course, all of these nutritional boons are only a part of the reason sunflower seeds have attained such notoriety. They’re also easy to find and easy to work into your diet.
Sunflower seeds are actually native to North America. This makes them cheap to produce and transport right here in the USA. As a result, you don’t have to go to specialty health food stores to get your hands on sunflower seeds: They’re available in regular grocery stores. You can also buy them here and have them delivered right to your front door.
You can also grow your own sunflowers and harvest the seeds in your home garden. This convenience makes adding sunflower seeds into your diet cheap and easy.
Sunflower seeds are delicious all by themselves. They make a convenient grab-and-go snack, perfect for a busy, on-the-go lifestyle. But if you want to be fancy, you can also incorporate sunflower seeds into easy recipes. For example, they’re great added into salads for crunch and protein. They’re also delicious in muffins, overnight oats, and protein bars.
When you look at all this information, it’s clear what makes sunflower seeds so special. They’re packed with nutrients, delicious, and easy to add into your diet. At this point, the more compelling question is: Why aren’t they in your pantry already?