There are a number of ways in which you can cosume sunflower seeds for weight loss. Sunflower seeds taste great when consumed solo, salted and unsalted. You can toast the seeds with or without butter and consume in moderate amounts as well. Sprinkle roasted sunflower seeds in your yoghurt to have a healthy breakfast for weight loss. Crush sunflower seeds to powder in a coffee grinder and use as animal protein substitutes. Studies have proved that sunflower seed butter has 30% less saturated fat than peanut butter.
Sunflower seeds taken from the sunflower plant are increasingly in demand because of their health benefits. The archaeological evidence is that Sunflower was first cultivated in North America as early as 3000 B.C. With their high proteins and healthy fat content, they are regarded worldwide as the new superfood aiding in weight loss.
How to consume sunflower seeds for weight loss
On their own
Sunflower seeds taste great when eaten on their own, either salted or unsalted. They can be toasted with or without butter and consumed in moderate amounts as well.
Baseball players are famous for chewing sunflower seeds during a game for their calming effects.
Just do not consume the husk as it is hard and may lead to digestion problems. Keep the seed in between your molars, and after separating the grain from the shell, spit the cover out and eat the kernel.
Shelled seeds are available in the stores as well. Opt for the unsalted ones as they are healthier and more helpful in weight loss than the salted ones.
Sprinkled as a topping
There are many dishes where sunflower seeds can be sprinkled as a topping adding a crunch. Be it in sweet foods like granola bars and muffins or savoury foods like sunflower seeds infused in pieces of bread and cheese balls; the result is a good-looking and good-tasting dish with a difference. The flavour is also increased along with its health benefits, making it a superfood for everyone.
You can even sprinkle roasted sunflower seeds in your yoghurt for a healthy breakfast or snack option and use them in your soups, especially chowder or broccoli soup, for giving a kick to their flavours. After all, who doesn’t want a healthy as well as a tasty option for weight loss?
As trail mix
A trail mix, also called Scroggin, gets its name because of being used as a quick snack or food by hikers or mountaineers when on a trail or hike.
It refers to a combination of nuts, seeds, granola and even dried fruits.
A fascinating mix consisting of dried cherries, blueberries, broken cashews, walnuts and either raw or dry roasted sunflower seeds is trendy these days.
Apart from this combination, other trail mixes like a mixture of almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cashews is an equally popular and healthy trail mix with both adults and children alike.
In powdered form
Sunflower seeds can be powdered in a coffee grinder and used as a substitute for animal protein. The powder can be used as flour for baking purposes. The seeds can also be ground with other seeds making an excellent weight gain formula for babies.
An exciting form of Sunflower sour cream can be made by wet grinding soaked sunflower seeds with lemon instead of the original sour cream in pasta and other dishes. Not only is it packed with flavours, but it is an excellent substitute for vegans as well.
As a salad
A variety of salads combining sunflower seeds with avocadoes, cucumbers, lettuce, apples and even cherry tomatoes with pine nuts can be made as a healthy breakfast or lunch option.
Whether you dress them with honey, mustard and grape seed oil or team the seeds with chicken, bacon and Broccoli, you are guaranteed to get a lip-smacking dish that can be a one-bowl meal with the star of a get-together party. Everyone loves a good salad, after all.
By cooking foods with sunflower oils
You can substitute your regular oil with sunflower seed oil and use it for anything you cook, from bread to oven-roasted vegetables and even as a dressing for salads.
Its omega-6 and Omega-3 content can help weight loss, reduce heart problems, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
In butter form
Studies have proved that sunflower seed butter has 30% less saturated fat than peanut butter. That, along with its high levels of magnesium, niacin and Vitamin -E and less risk of allergies than peanut butter, makes it a welcome substitute to peanut butter.
Now let’s know about the types of Sunflower seeds with their nutritional value.
Types of Sunflower Seeds
There are more than 70 varieties of sunflower plants available worldwide. But it does not mean there are as many types of Sunflower seeds.
There are three types of Sunflower seeds most commonly used
- Linoleic (Having high omega-6 content)
- High Oleic (Containing a high level of monosaturated fats)
- Sunflower oil seeds (Which are used to get sunflower oil)
The sunflower seeds that we eat have black and white striped shells. And the sources used for extracting sunflower oil have black covers.
Nutritional Value of a Sunflower Seed
Below is the chart showing the nutrition in 30 grams or 1/4th cup of sunflower seeds
R.D.I= Required Dietary Intake
The nutritional value of an ounce of dry-roasted Sunflower seeds is
|Vitamin E||37% of RDI|
|Niacin||10% of RDI|
|Vitamin B6||11% of RDI|
|Folate||17% of RDI|
|Panthothenic Acid||20% of RDI|
|Iron||6% of RDI|
|Magnesium||9% of RDI|
|Zinc||10% of RDI|
|Copper||26% of RDI|
|Manganese||30% of RDI|
Let’s compare sunflower seeds with other nuts and seeds in terms of their calories and nutritional value.
Nuts and seeds- Nutritional Comparisons
|Nuts and seeds||Calories||protein||Fat||Fibre||Net carbs||Price per pound|
Importance of Sunflower Seeds
Apart from weight loss, sunflower seeds have a lot of other benefits as well. Let’s discuss some of them
Helpful in Reducing Inflammation
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E and flavonoids, which are essential for reducing Inflammation. Studies have confirmed that consuming sunflower seeds regularly significantly reduces the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s in the long run.
Supports our Immune System
Sunflower seeds contain Zinc and Selenium, which are very important in fighting infection and help the body develop immune cells, which supports our immune system. Studies have proved that patients with Myasthenia and lupus have shown significant changes with sunflower seeds in their diets.
Boost our Energy Levels
Sunflower seeds contain high proteins with vitamin B1 or thiamin, which convert our food into energy and keep us active throughout the day. Experts recommend at least 70milligrams of sunflower seeds daily as the selenium in sunflower seeds increases blood flow and boost our energy levels.
Good for Our Heart
Sunflower seeds are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, which are heart-friendly and can lower the incidence of cholesterol and high blood pressure in the Heart and reduce the risk of a heart attack by 30%.In a study conducted with around 6000 people, it was noticed that eating sunflower seeds reduced the levels of C- reactive protein, an inflammatory marker related to heart disease.
A Boon for Women
The enzymes in sunflower seeds are crucial in regulating the hormonal balance of the body. They can control premenstrual syndrome, manage thyroid and even curb morning sickness occurring in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Help in Weight Loss
Fitness enthusiasts hail sunflower seeds as one of the best ways of weight loss. Rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibres, zinc and folate, sunflower seeds are incredibly filling and highly beneficial in weight loss when consumed in moderate amounts. After all, why would we eat if we feel complete?
Side effects of eating sunflower seeds
It turns out there are a few. Let’s discuss them in brief
Though rare, there have been allergies with Sunflower seeds like itching of the mouth, skin rashes, hay fever, asthma and sometimes even anaphylaxis. Get yourself tested about your allergies before consuming them to stay on the safe side.
Digestive problems on eating the seed with the husk
The husk of the seeds is fibrous and indigestible. Eating them can damage our digestive tract causing stomach aches and constipation with many other problems not worth the hassle.
Impact on the kidneys
Sunflower seeds contain high levels of phosphorus. If not consumed in moderation, it can affect our kidneys and cause potential damage.
The selenium in sunflower seeds is a highly effective cancer treatment. But again, when not consumed in moderation, it can cause mood swings and fatigue and even rashes on the skin.
Frequently asked questions
Let us answer some commonly asked questions about sunflower seeds
How many sunflower seeds to eat daily?
Sunflower seeds can be included in our daily diet in place of high-calorie snacks. Around 30grams or 1/4th bowl of seeds are enough to help our cholesterol, improve immunity, and boost our energy levels.
Can a dog eat Sunflower seeds?
Dogs can eat Sunflower seeds but in moderation like human beings. The iron and copper levels in small quantities are great for his digestion, but when overeating can affect his pancreas.
Ensure you do not exceed 10-20 seeds for a smaller dog and 20-40 seeds weekly for a larger dog. Separate the husk from the kernel and give it only the kernel.
How do dry sunflower seeds eat?
First, soak the seeds overnight. Strain them the next day and spread them out on a newspaper to thoroughly dry them. Only after they have completely dried, bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes. They are now ready to eat.
Are Sunflower seeds good for fatty liver?
Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that is great for the liver and helps fight fatty liver. A moderate amount of seed in the diet daily can help reduce fatty liver.
Do we need to wash sunflower seeds? What is the easiest way to open them?
Yes, rinsing the seeds is very important to wash off any dirt or bacteria on them outdoors.
Sunflower seeds can be opened with our molars, after which the husk can be spitted out.
But another easy way is to fill a plastic bag with only sufficient seeds so that they can be visible individually and roll a rolling pin gently over them. The outer cover will break, after which the seed can be separated and kept aside.