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Sunflower Seeds: Fun to Eat and Healthy

By Paul Rothbart

Sunflowers are beautiful, especially an entire field of them. Van Gogh chose to capture them on canvas. They can also provide a snack. Sunflower seeds are tasty and fun to eat. They have essentially replaced chewing tobacco for major league baseball players. That's a good thing for them as tobacco is harmful to one's health. Sunflower seeds on the other hand have many health benefits.

Increased Energy

Perhaps one of the reasons baseball players eat sunflower seeds during games is because they can boost your energy. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains 5.8 grams of protein which helps provide the body with energy. The protein is supported by Vitamin B1 and selenium. The former helps your body derive energy from food while the latter can increase blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the body's cells. This combination of nutrients can help you stay active throughout your busy day.

Good for Heart Health

Sunflower seeds are loaded with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. High levels of these increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Eating sunflower seeds is therefore very good for heart health and the prevention of heart disease. This has been confirmed by research.

Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is part of how the body heals itself. However, chronic inflammation can lead to numerous diseases. One of the main nutrients contained by sunflower seeds is Vitamin E. They also contain flavonoids and other plant compounds. Together, these substances can significantly reduce inflammation. Research found that by eating sunflower seeds in combination with other types of seed five times a week, participants' levels of inflammation decreased. Less inflammation lowers the risks of many diseases. 

Immune System Boost

When it comes to staying healthy, the immune system is of extreme importance. It's how the body fights harmful microbes that cause illnesses. Sunflowers seeds have a good amount of zinc. Together with the selenium they contain, the zinc helps increase the production of white blood cells which are the primary way the body fights viruses and germs. The nutritional content of sunflower seeds is very helpful in boosting the immune system and allowing it to do its job in preventing illness.

Portion Size

Although sunflower seeds are loaded with nutrition and are very healthy, they are also high in calories. For this reason, it is recommended to limit portions to a quarter cup. There are 207 calories in that serving size and it contains plenty of nutrients. Consuming a quarter cup five times a week is sufficient to reap the benefits.

Sunflower seeds are an easy to eat and tasty snack. They are also packed with nutrition and offer several health benefits. Instead of chips, give sunflower seeds a try.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Roswell, Ga.

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