The seeds of the sunflower plant or Suryamukhi are highly popular as healthy snack options. Enriched with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, sunflower seeds are known to treat several diseases, such as heart problems, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. According to Ayurveda, they also help balance all the three Doshas and increase energy in the body.
Nutritional Value of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are loaded with carbohydrates, fats, proteins and dietary fibres. They are credible sources of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin E, folate and pantothenic acid. In addition, sunflower seeds are also abundantly rich in manganese, selenium, zinc and iron, making them one of the most nutritious snacks in the world.
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds Backed By Ayurveda
Chronic inflammation in the body can increase the risk of many diseases. Rich in anti-inflammatory properties, sunflower seeds help reduce both internal and external inflammation, and prevent chronic inflammatory diseases.
Sunflower seeds have potent cardioprotective properties. They help boost blood flow in the arteries, clear blockages and reduce the formation of plaques in the arteries, thereby preventing atherosclerosis. In addition, they also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that exhibit anti-atherosclerosis activity.
Aids in Diabetes Management
Sunflower seeds have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not cause a major spike in blood sugar levels. Furthermore, they also contain an element called chlorogenic acid, known to lower blood glucose levels in the body.
Controls High Cholesterol Levels
Enriched with the power of dietary fibres, linoleic acid and oleic acid, sunflower seeds help reduce the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. In addition, they also contain vitamin B5, which helps increase HDL or good cholesterol and reduce total serum cholesterol levels.
From the Ayurvedic point of view, high cholesterol is caused due to toxin accumulation and impaired digestive fire. Sunflower seeds are known to improve digestive fire and eliminate Ama or toxins from the body, thereby controlling high cholesterol levels.
Regulates Blood Pressure Levels
Sunflower seeds help eliminate the fat and cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels and promote the smooth flow of the blood. They are also powered with unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, which is known to relax blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure levels.
According to Ayurveda, constipation is caused due to an aggravated Vata Dosha in the body. Eating soaked sunflower seeds help reduce dryness of the intestines and balance Vata Dosha, thereby treating constipation.
The presence of vitamin E, zinc and selenium in sunflower seeds make it a perfect snack to enhance immune responses, fight free radicals and protect the body against several infectious diseases.
Relieves Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to Ayurveda, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or Amavata is caused due to vitiated Vata Dosha and accumulation of Ama in the joints. Sunflower seeds help balance Vata Dosha, improve digestive fire and reduce Ama, thereby helping in the management of rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of sunflower seeds help reduce inflammation and cause long term relief in the symptoms.
Improves Brain Functions
Powered with vitamin B6, sunflower seeds help improve mood, concentration and memory. They also release serotonin and norepinephrine in your body, further enhancing brain functions.
Enhances Skin Health
Sunflower seeds are highly effective in maintaining the glow of the skin. They are also rich in antibacterial and antifungal properties that help prevent skin infections. In addition, the oleic and linoleic acid found in sunflower seeds also help in the formation of collagen and elastin and speed up wound healing.
How to use Sunflower Seeds?
You can eat one teaspoon of raw, roasted or dried sunflower seeds every day, 30 minutes before taking the meal. Alternatively, you can also add sunflower seeds to salads, cereals, cooked vegetables, etc.
Side Effects of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are usually safe for everyone. However, people sensitive to the members of the Asteraceae plant family, such as marigolds, daisies, etc., may be allergic to sunflower seeds and should only consume them after consulting a doctor.
The Final Takeaway
The many health benefits of sunflower seeds make them one of the healthiest additions to the diet. Enriched with essential nutrients, they help prevent and treat numerous diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, etc. Consuming sunflower seeds every day will help boost the overall health of your body and mind.