Sunflower Seed Nutrition and Sprouting
While I was filling up my bulk bin bags at Whole Foods the other day, I saw a nut and seed chart that gave some insight into which seeds/nuts had the biggest nutritional bang for their buck. They gave a top ten list; and while I don’t remember the complete list, I do remember a couple things: Cashews were number 10, brazil nuts weren’t on there, almonds fell somewhere in the middle, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds and walnuts were all in there too. Sunflower seeds were number one.
This left me with some self righteous pride (I’ll admit it). I eat sunflower seeds all the time. Even better, I often sprout the seeds beforehand which doubles their nutritional value.
But knowing that sunflower seeds were the best seed out there wasn’t enough for me. So I did some nutritional fact info and this is what I found….
Sunflower seeds are loaded with Vitamin E: an antioxidant that protects cells membranes from damage, carries oxygen like the cells of lungs and red blood cells, protects immune function, DNA repair, and other metabolic processes and is great for cardiovascular health.
Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications.
The magnesium in sunflower seeds helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, promotes healthy bones and energy production, prevents migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium also counterbalances calcium–helping to regulate nerve and muscle tone.
The Selenium content in the seeds improve detoxification and cancer prevention.
A store bought sunflower seed is only 1/4 inch long, but when you begin to sprout, it is creating a new plant and life source, which increases its amount of vitamins and minerals. The enzymes that start the chemical process of developing a new plant via sprouting help with digestion of that seed. The protein production is extremely high since it is needed for the growth and development of new cells. So when sprouted, sunflower seeds contain all of the necessary amino acids making them a complete protein.