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Sunflower seeds: 9 healthy effects & 3 disadvantages of the superfood

Whether in bread, on a salad or just plain: everyone has probably eaten sunflower seeds before. Sunflower seeds contain lots of important nutrients and can make a valuable contribution to your health. However, there are also restrictions: You should not eat the kernels in unlimited quantities. We'll tell you the many advantages and a few disadvantages of the superfood.

Where do sunflower seeds come from?

Where sunflower seeds come from

Sunflowers are arguably one of the most impressive domestic flowers. They have been growing in European gardens since the 16th century, initially as ornamental flowers. Sunflowers can reach heights of up to three meters and produce huge blooms. The petals of the Sunflower are yellow. Between them sits a basket of other tiny flowers. From these the fruits develop: the sunflower seeds.

The sunflower has its name (botanical: Helianthus annuus) of a special ability: it turns towards the sun. During the day the bud follows the course of the sun from east to west, at night it rotates back to the east. Only when the flower is fully developed does the stem become so firm that it can no longer rotate. Most of the inflorescences and fruit clusters ultimately point east.

Sunflowers need warmth and light, as well as nutrient-rich and deep soil. Become worldwide Almost 50 million tons of sunflower seeds are harvested annually. The main producers are Ukraine, Russia and Argentina. But also in Germany you can see the bright yellow fields in summer. Sunflower seeds are eaten pure, processed as oil and used as animal feed. There is also various uses in industry: Sunflower oil is used in leather processing and is a component of paints and varnishes. Sunflower oil is also contained in biodiesel.

There are different types of sunflowers depending on their use:

  • The Ornamental type often has several flowers, some in orange or red. These sunflowers are planted in gardens.
  • The Feed type has a particularly large amount of leaf substance. Silage and green fodder for animals are obtained from them.
  • The Oil type forms a particularly large number of cores with a small proportion of shell.
  • And at Food type the kernels are particularly large and sit loosely in the flower.

Sunflower seeds are so healthy

Sunflower seeds are so healthy

Sunflower seeds are considered a superfood, and not without reason: They do a lot for your health and contain numerous nutrients. These are the nine most important advantages of the delicious kernels.

Rich in protein

Proteins are one of three basic components of food. The other two are carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are important to that Muscles, for the Cell formation and the blood. The immune system and other important functions of the body are also dependent on sufficient proteins.

Sunflower seeds can make an important contribution here: contain 100 grams of them 19 grams of protein. This means they can keep up with very protein-rich meats. They are therefore an important source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. But athletes also benefit from the vegetable proteins in sunflower seeds.

For blood formation

iron is important for blood formation. An iron deficiency manifests itself, among other things, with paleness, tiredness and exhaustion. Many women in particular are affected by iron deficiency, including menstruation and pregnancy. Vegetarians and vegans also have to pay special attention to their iron intake, because iron is mainly found in meat.

But there are also herbal products with a high iron content. Sunflower seeds are one of them: They contain 5 to 6 mg iron per 100 grams, this corresponds to about half the daily requirement for men and a third of the daily requirement for women.

Lots of magnesium

Sunflower seeds contain a lot of magnesium

If you're prone to calf cramps, you probably know the meaning of magnesium: It helps muscles and nerves and prevents tension and cramps. Magnesium is also important for the electrolyte balance and energy metabolism. The bones also need sufficient magnesium. Contains sunflower seeds 350 to 400 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. This makes them one of the foods richest in magnesium: 100 grams of sunflower seeds completely cover your daily magnesium requirement.

For a youthful look

Vitamin E is considered optimal Anti aging centerl. It has antioxidant effects, protects against wrinkles and makes hair shiny and beautiful. It can even have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Sunflower seeds are a very good source of vitamin E: for example There are 35 mg of vitamin E in 100 grams of sunflower seeds. That is already twice what you need every day.

For strong bones and teeth

For stable bones and teeth is among other things phosphorus important. In addition, phosphorus plays a role in the energy metabolism of the cells and is part of the genetic material. With 100 grams of sunflower seeds, you will almost completely cover your daily requirement. Sunflower seeds also contain a lot Calcium, which is also important for bones and teeth.

Lots of B vitamins

B vitamins are important for the nerves and the function of your heart, among other things. Sunflower seeds contain large amounts of various B vitamins: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B7 and B9 (folic acid) stuck in the small cores.

For a good mood

Sunflower seeds for a good mood

Sunflower seeds can have an effect that is otherwise only said of chocolate: They lighten the mood. She is responsible Amino acid L-tryptophanfound in sunflower seeds (and chocolate).

Healthy fatty acids

Unsaturated fats are important for the body. These are the “healthy” fats that we urgently need. They protect against heart and circulatory diseases and keep the cholesterol level stable. Like most seeds, they also contain sunflower seeds lots of unsaturated fats. However, you should make sure that you also consume enough omega-3 fatty acids (see below).

Important trace elements

Some substances are only contained in the body in very small quantities, but still fulfill important functions. This includes what has already been mentioned iron. But there are also other trace elements in sunflower seeds: With 100 grams you cover your daily requirement zinc and manganese two-thirds of the time copper 150 percent.

Disadvantages of sunflower seeds

Disadvantages of sunflower seeds

With all the health benefits that sunflower seeds bring, you shouldn't consume them indefinitely. They do have some disadvantages after all.

Sunflower seeds are high in calories

With about 550 calories per 100 grams sunflower seeds are not exactly suitable for the slim line. In terms of calories, sunflower seeds play in a league with chocolate and chips. If you want to lose excess weight, for example with a healthy diet, you should only use it sparingly. They are rather unsuitable for quick acceptance.

Very high in unsaturated fatty acids

We have already mentioned that sunflower seeds contain a lot of healthy fats. However, this benefit can also be reversed if you eat too many sunflower seeds:

The kernels contain primarily Omega-6 fatty acids. These are healthy, but should be in one good balance with omega-3 fatty acids stand. If you consistently eat too many sunflower seeds, but do not pay attention to foods with omega-3 fatty acids, the balance is not right. As a result, it can too Inflammation in the body come.

Nevertheless: The benefits of sunflower seeds predominate. But you shouldn't nibble them indefinitely.

Too much salt in roasted sunflower seeds

Many people love sunflower seeds in roasted and salted form. It's still much healthier than other nibbles like chips and co. Nevertheless: Roasted sunflower seeds are often very salty, and that's not healthy.

Store sunflower seeds properly

Store sunflower seeds properly

Like all seeds, sunflower seeds are sensitive to moisture and sunlight: if they become damp, they can go moldy or sprout. The oil contained in the seeds quickly turns rancid when exposed to sunlight. That's why it's best to keep the kernels dry and dark on. In addition, the container should be tightly closed, because vermin also like the rich kernels very much.

Metal cans or screw-top jars that you store inside a cupboard, for example, are very suitable. Under these conditions, sunflower seeds can easily be kept for a year or more. If you notice a rancid or musty taste, you should stop eating the kernels.

Buy sunflower seeds: peeled and unpeeled

Buy sunflower seeds: peeled and unpeeled

Sunflower seeds are one of the few superfoods that are also grown in German-speaking countries. However, not all of the products on offer here really come from close by. Therefore, pay attention to the information on the package. With products from Germany (or at least from neighboring European countries) you make an important contribution to environmental protection. Maybe there is even one regional provider close to you?

There is no fixed season for sunflower seeds. You can get them all year round without noticeable price fluctuations. Compared to other nuts and seeds are sunflower seeds relatively cheap, even if you choose organic quality.

Mostly will Shelled sunflower seeds offered, but you can also buy unpeeled and crack it yourself. With a little practice, this is very easy with your fingernails or your front teeth.

Harvest sunflower seeds

Of course, you can grow sunflower seeds yourself. You should pay attention to the following:

  • The sunflowers need a lot of sun, enough water and a humus and nutrient-rich, loose soil. If they find these conditions, they will thrive almost on their own and produce beautiful, large flowers.
  • The right time to harvest is when the flowers are on the back discolour brownish.
  • Now you have two possibilities: Either you cut off the flowers with 30 centimeters stems and let them hang up in the apartment to dry. The flower is attached to the stem and points downwards. Or you just leave them on the trunk. Then, however, you should put a fine-meshed net or a jute sack around the flower and fasten it. This keeps the birds away, which otherwise don't leave much of the harvest left for you. Another advantage: if the grains come loose, they immediately stay in the net. Even when drying indoors, you can attach a paper bag or a fine-meshed fabric around the flower to catch the seeds that fall out.
  • When most of the seeds have fallen out of the flower, you can wipe off the rest with the palm of your hand.
  • Now you check your harvest: Only the ripe seeds are edible. There are often light, unripe seeds in the center of the flower that you should discard. It's also better to dispose of damaged cores.
  • Finally, you clean the kernels: Rinse them in a sieve with cold water and spread them out on a towel to dry. You can now remove foreign bodies or remnants of flowers by hand. Once the kernels are completely dry, put them in an airtight can for storage.

Roast the sunflower seeds

Roast the sunflower seeds

Roasted sunflower seeds are a delicious snack because they make the taste even more intense. For the simplest variant, you simply roast the kernels in a coated pan fat free at. Watch the sunflower seeds as they roast and remove them from the plate immediately when they turn slightly golden brown.

If you want to add even more flavor to your roasted sunflower seeds, you can include them after frying Soy sauce mix. You need about 50 ml of soy sauce for 250 g of sunflower seeds. In a bowl, stir the kernels and sauce thoroughly until the kernels are dry.

Recipes with sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds go well with many dishes. How about, for example, these variants:

  1. In the salad
    As a topping on the salad, sunflower seeds are a real classic. Just sprinkle them on top at the very end.
  2. In muesli
    You can spice up your breakfast cereal and make it even healthier with sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are a particularly valuable ingredient in your own mixes.
  3. In porridge
    If you like to eat porridge in the morning, you should definitely experiment with sunflower seeds. They add a crunchy and slightly nutty component to the porridge and provide you with many healthy ingredients.
  4. In soups
    Refine soups and stews by sprinkling roasted sunflower seeds into them just before serving. Curry dishes, vegetable stir-fries or quiches are also made even finer and tastier with sunflower seeds.
  5. On bread and rolls
    If you bake bread and rolls yourself, you will probably use sunflower seeds every now and then. They represent a delicious variant and make your bread even healthier.
  6. As a spread
    Sunflower seeds form an ideal basis for vegan spreads. To do this, you puree soaked or boiled sunflower seeds with water, oil and spices. Depending on your taste, you can now add peppers, olives, eggplant, onions, horseradish or other delicious ingredients and season your spread.
  7. On sweet pastries
    The kernels of the sunflower go well not only with hearty dishes, but also with sweets. Use it to refine cookies, cakes, waffles and granola bars, for example.
  8. Caramelized sunflower seeds
    If you like roasted almonds, you will love roasted sunflower seeds. You can easily make them yourself by boiling the kernels with a little water and sugar. Once the water has evaporated, let the sugar caramelize until all of the kernels are evenly browned. Spread the sunflower seeds out on a baking sheet and let them cool. The roasted sunflower seeds taste particularly good when warm.
  9. Simply pure
    For in between, sunflower seeds are a delicious and healthy snack. Just nibble it straight and enjoy the delicate, nutty taste.
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