Small but mighty, sunflower seeds are packed with essential nutrients. In fact, they contain a long list of nutrients, including Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B3, along with manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and folate. Sunflower seeds are also rich in essential fatty acids that help improve cardiovascular health and fight inflammation. Health benefits of sunflower seeds also include the ability to support thyroid function, improve skin health, balance blood sugar levels, and even help fight cancer.
Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
1. Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Health benefits of sunflower seeds include the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. Because sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E, they can fight inflammation. Since Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, sunflower seeds may reduce the risk of many inflammatory diseases. High levels of inflammation are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, along with stroke, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, consuming sunflower seeds on a regular basis can help balance cholesterol, lower high blood pressure and protect the heart from disease. (1)
2. Help Prevent Cancer
Health benefits of sunflower seeds include the ability to help prevent cancer. Research has shown that the combination of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in sunflower seeds can help reduce oxidative stress, which is linked to cancer development. Additionally, sunflower seeds contains chemo-protective compounds that help stop tumor growth. Studies have shown that the health benefits of selenium, as found in sunflower seeds, may aid in cancer prevention and reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer. (2)
3. Support Thyroid Function
The health benefits of sunflower seeds also include the ability to support healthy thyroid function. One of the leading causes of thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is a selenium deficiency. Because sunflower seeds are packed with selenium, they can play a vital role in regulating body temperature, heart rate, and metabolism. (3)
4. Help Combat Osteoporosis and Muscle Cramps
Additional health benefits of sunflower seeds include improved bone health. Sunflower seeds contain high levels of magnesium. And the body needs magnesium to prevent conditions related to bone mineral density loss, like osteoporosis. Because magnesium is so important to overall health, sunflower seeds may also help prevent chronic headaches, constipation, chronic fatigue, and mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
The health benefits of sunflower seeds also include the ability to prevent muscle cramps. In addition to magnesium, sunflower seeds are a rich source of B vitamins, which help balance hormones, maintain brain function, and prevent nutrient deficiency symptoms like fatigue and muscle cramps. (4 5)
5. Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Health benefits of sunflower seeds include the ability to naturally balance blood sugar levels. Research has shown that a diet high in nuts and seeds can help reduce hyperglycemia and reduce he risk of developing metabolic syndrome, including diabetes and insulin resistance. The nutrients in sunflower seeds help prevent dips and spikes in blood sugar levels while reducing inflammation in the body. (6)
6. Improve Skin Health
Health benefits of sunflower seeds also extend to the skin. Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, which helps maintain youthful-looking skin. These nifty little seeds also contain essential fatty acids. Together, these nutrients help keep the skin hydrated and protect it from damage caused by the sun or environmental toxins.