Sunflower plants attract the sun’s energy all day long with a happy golden face full of amazing nutritional benefits. The name sunflower is adapted from the botanical name and Greek words helios (sun) and anthos (flower). For thousands of years, originating in Mexico and Peru, the sunflower plant has provided nourishment and herbal benefits from its seeds, stems and flowers. Within the enormous sunflower, hundreds of seeds develop. For edible purposes, the inner kernel of the seed is used unless you are a cockatoo and live for 100 years entirely on the whole sunflower seed.

Sunflower seeds are the richest natural food source of vitamin E (31-35mg or 115% d.v.). A regular intake of sunflower seeds will promote protection from ageing, free radicals and skin cell damage, as vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Delicious cookies or pancakes (refer to the section entitled as Nutrition and Diet Summary) can be made with the sunflower kernels, or grind them and sprinkle over a fruit salad, or add them to your daily breakfast cereal; they have a soft nutty texture and are grey in colour. A sunflower butter spread is also delightful on breakfast toast.

Sunflower kernels are low in saturated fat (5g) and a good source of monounsaturated (9.5g) and polyunsaturated (33g), mainly in the form of omega-6, (30g) with a trace of omega-3. The protein content of sunflower seeds is complete in all essential amino acids and they supply 23% protein and are the 10th best protein food with 58% useable protein (NPU.). The supply of minerals, especially magnesium (354mg), is very good with the copper value (1.8mg or 85% d.v.) also abundant and vital for blood development, skin healing, nerve fibre protection and cartilage repair.

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The supply of phosphorus (700mg or 70% d.v.) is most beneficial for the brain, nerves and bones, and in combination with the abundant supply of silicon (554mg) also essential for the brain, nerves and bones sunflower kernels will keep you thinking straight and walking strong. The supply of calcium (354mg or 12% d.v.) is good and the supply of potassium (700-900mg or 20% d.v.) all add up to promote strong muscular action and proper digestion. The price of sunflower kernels is really a big, bright bonus, considering the effort involved. And for added nutritional value to cookies, they are very worthwhile. Sunflower meal is also available at most health stores; it is a rich source of protein (57%) with no fat content. Sunflower meal can be added to homemade bread or mixed with honey for a delicious spread does that rhyme?

The selenium content of the kernels is very good at 59mcg (70-80mcg is the daily requirement). This combined with the exceptional vitamin E content makes the sunflower seed a potent antioxidant. Selenium works with vitamin E to protect against free radicals and promote DNA repair and also to induce apoptosis, or the self-destruction of cancerous cells.

Sunflower kernels are an excellent source of zinc (5mg), essential to fight infections and for body healing. Also, sunflower seeds are ideal for the reproductive system, in combination with the abundant vitamin E content. The supply of manganese (2mg) and iron (7mg) are further proof that the sunflower is the brightest supplier of surprising sun-filled health benefits.

NOTE: All amounts in this blog are measured in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams, unless stated otherwise.

CALORIES – total: 573 kcal. per 100 grams Calories from: Carb: 96 Protein: 61 Fat: 416


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