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Sunflower Seeds … More Than Just a Ballgame Snack

Do you think sunflower seeds are just for ballgame snacking? Think again. These little seeds are nutritional powerhouses that are not only the perfect addition to any meal, but also easy on the wallet.

NUTRITION

Comparing the sunflower kernel to other foods high in these compounds, sunflower seeds contain high levels of vitamin E, betaine, phenolic acid and choline. They are also a good source of arginine, lignans, selenium and magnesium. These substances offer a variety of health benefits.

Vitamin E offers protection against cardiovascular disease, has anti-inflammatory effects, lowers the risks of colon cancer and diabetic complications and reduces menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. One-quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides 90.5 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E.

Selenium is a trace mineral that helps with DNA repair and synthesis, inhibits the growth of cancer cells and induces cancer cell death. One-quarter cup of sunflower kernels provides 30.6 percent of DV for selenium.

Another beneficial compound is magnesium, which is good for healthy bones and energy and regulates nerve and muscle tone. Eating 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds gives you 31.9 percent DV of magnesium.

AFFORDABILITY

Recently, I compared the price of one pound of raw organic sunflower seeds with the prices of raw organic walnuts and almonds. The sunflower seeds are $3.69, compared to $12.99 for almonds and $11.99 for walnuts.

Comparing nutrients, sunflower seeds are considerably higher in vitamin E and selenium, as well as higher in folate, iron and zinc than the almonds and walnuts. Getting the most value for your money is important, so you should consider adding nutritious, economical sunflower seeds to your grocery list.

TASTE FACTOR

Not only does it make sense to eat more sunflower seeds because they offer outstanding nutrition and are affordable, but they also taste great. You shouldn’t have any complaints when adding them to your family’s diet.

In addition to just eating sunflower seeds plain, you can try sprinkling them on salads, toasted or raw. You can also sprout the raw seeds and add them to salads, and they are delicious on cooked or cold breakfast cereals. For a new taste sensation, try sprinkling some on pasta with marinara sauce or pasta primavera. They provide a pleasant nutty and crunchy contrast to softer cooked vegetables and noodles.

If you want to reduce cholesterol in your diet, here’s a simple recipe for nondairy milk made from sunflower seeds:

Blend the following together: ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds, 2 cups water, pinch of Celtic sea salt, ½ teaspoon of maple syrup and 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. If you have a high-powered blender, that’s probably all you’ll need for delicious, creamy milk. If you have a less powerful blender, you may need to strain it following blending. It’s a delicious drink by itself, as the base of a smoothie or poured over your morning cereal.

The next time you are grocery shopping, don’t forget to add these tasty superfood seeds to the list. They offer a wealth of nutrients and health benefits for you and your family!

Mary Jane Moses, D.C., researches and writes about improving and maintaining health through proper nutrition. You can learn more about how to keep yourself and your family healthy by visiting www.naturally-healthy-eating.com.

About WF

Washington FAMILY Staff

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