There are many nutrients packed into a tiny sunflower seed. They are particularly high in vitamin E and selenium, which function as antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage. Another type of antioxidants that sunflower seeds contain are beneficial plant compounds, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids.
Sunflower seeds have a range of health benefits including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. This is because they contain vitamin E, magnesium, protein, linoleic fatty acids and a number of plant compounds. These seeds can also support cognitive function, as they contain phoysphatidylserine.
The seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is used by the body to create a compound similar to hormones that relaxed blood vessels and promotes lower blood pressure. This acid can also help lower cholesterol. On top of this, sunflower seeds contain a compound that blocks an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict, because of this it may help the blood vessels relax and in turn lower blood pressure.
Sunflower seeds are also high in magnesium which is crucial to the heart and without it cannot function properly. Magnesium helps to maintain a steady heartbeat by transporting calcium and potassium – amongst other electrolytes – into cells. One portion of sunflower seeds can provide over 25% of the recommended dietary intake of magnesium.
As sunflower seeds are high in magnesium, they can support strong and healthy bones. Magnesium is important for bone health, as it is essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium. Alongside the thyroid and parathyroid glands, magnesium supports bone health by encouraging the production of calcitonin in the thyroid.
Sunflower seeds contain a nootropic called phosphatidylserine (PS) that studies suggest can benefit the brain in a number of ways. PS encourages the release of major neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and acetylcholine. These chemicals are what brain cells use to communicate to each other, and PS can speed up this communication to allow for faster thinking.
Another brain-related benefit sunflower seeds have is the ability to improve memory. Phosphatidylserine in the body naturally declines with age, therefore taking a supplement could be beneficial to the elderly. It has also shown some effectiveness in enhanced cognitive skills such as memory, learning and concentration in school children taking exams.
Sunflower seeds can be eaten as they are or added into salads, cakes, muesli and trail mixes. You can also supplement Phosphatidylserine, we suggest taking 1 to 3 capsules of our Premium Brand SunPS® spread out during the day on an empty stomach, or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.