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Looking for a health-promoting snack? Enjoy a handful of mild nutty tasting sunflower seeds with their firm but tender texture to take care of your hunger and get a wealth of nutrition at the same time. Sunflower seeds are available at your local market throughout the year.
Sunflower seeds are the gift of the beautiful sunflower that has rays of petals emanating from its bright yellow, seed-studded center. The flower produces grayish-green or black seeds encased in tear-dropped shaped gray or black shells that oftentimes feature black and white stripes. Since these seeds have very high oil content, they are one of the main sources of polyunsaturated oil.
Roasted sunflower seeds
How to Select
Sunflower seeds are sold either shelled or unshelled and are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the sunflower seeds are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure the seeds' maximal freshness.
When purchasing unshelled seeds, make sure that the shells are not broken or dirty. Additionally, they should be firm and not have a limp texture. When purchasing shelled seeds, avoid those that appear yellowish in color as they have probably gone rancid. In addition, if you are purchasing sunflower seeds from a bulk bin smell them to ensure that they are still fresh and have not spoiled.
· They can be relished alone or in combination, as per one's choice.
· Add sunflower seeds to your yoghurt, soup or salad recipe.
· Garnish mixed green salads with sunflower seeds.
· Adding sunflower seeds to scrambled eggs will give them a unique taste and texture.
· Use fine ground sunflower seeds to dust your meats with in place of flour.
· Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals and desserts too.
How to Store
Since sunflower seeds have a high fat content and are prone to rancidity, it is best to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer since the cold temperature will not greatly affect their texture or flavor.
Nutritional Information of Sunflower Seeds
Two tablespoons of Sunflower Seeds is 20 grams.
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Nutritional Information for 2 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
4.16 grams of Protein
4 grams of Carbs
10.3 grams of Fat
6.64 mg of Vitamin E: 44% of RDA (about 15 mg)
0.3 mg of Vitamin B1, Thiamine : 25% of RDA (about 1.2 to 1.5 mg)
45 mcg Folate, Vitamin B9 (FA) = 23% of RDA (about 200 mcg)
132 mg of Phosphorus : 22% of RDA (about 600 mg for adult)
65 mcg of Magnesium = 18.6 % of RDA (about 350 mcg)
1.66 mg of Vitamin B3, Niacin : 14% of RDA (about 12 mg)
129 mg of Potassium (K) : 2.8% of RDA (about 4,700 mg)
1 mg of Zinc = 10% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)
11 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
1. Balances Cholesterol levels: Sunflower Seeds are very rich in Vitamin E that can fight free radical damage, which leads to cholesterol oxidation. It also slows down the hardening or thickening of arteries. Also Rich in Vitamin B1, Thiamine , it assists in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which ensure correct cardiac functioning through correct relay messages between nerves and muscles.
2. Repairs damaged skin: Vitamin E increases the moisture and flexibility of your skin. By keeping your skin healthy, it makes you look younger and feel better. It also helps treat sun burn.
3. Keeps hair shiny and healthy: Being a powerful antioxidant, it reduces damage to the hair. Vitamin E rich oils retain moisture in the scalp and prevent dryness.
4. Improves vision: When taken with protein, vitamin C, beta carotene and zinc, vitamin E is effective in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration leading to loss of vision. So, top-up your vitamin E reserves regularly from good food sources.
5. Improve cell health: Vitamin E can boost your energy and reduce muscle sourness. By promoting blood circulation, it further reduces fatigue and nourishes your cells.
6. Ensures proper growth and development of the baby during pregnancy: It helps in fighting inflammation and helps in proper development and growth of the child by building healthy cells. The earlier the sources of vitamin E are consumed the better it is for the developing foetus. Sometimes pregnant women are supplemented with vitamin E capsules.
7. Helps produce Reduce Blood Cells as its rich in Vitamin B1. This is what gives you energy.
8. Protects Nerves: Vitamin B1 assists in the production of myelin sheaths around nerves thereby protecting them.
9. Produce and maintain new cells : Folate, Vitamin B9 helps your body to produce and maintain new cells, especially red blood cells. It also helps prevents DNA changes that might cause cancer.
10. Builds our Bones: Phosphorus is a major mineral present in Sunflower Seeds which works closely with calcium to build our bones. 85% of body’s phosphorus is found in bones and teeth.
11. Good for Diabetics : Sunflower Seeds being rich in Magnesium, improves insulin response by lowering insulin resistance. Having very low magnesium will result in the pancreas not secrete enough insulin to control our blood sugar. They are good for a Diabetic snack.
Glycemic Index of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower Seeds has a low Glycemic Index just like all nuts and seeds. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Sunflower Seeds have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss.
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