April 30, 2012

Benefits of Raw Sunflower Seeds...Accidental Brilliance Superfood + Supplement Series

I have mentioned many times that I am fascinated by the beauty and strength of Native Americans, I was recently reading about their history and found it interesting that their diet historically was rich primarily in berries, roots, teas and nuts in order to keep tribal members powerful and robust. Sunflower seeds were one of the nuts they commonly ate to draw strength and nutrition. They ate them raw, ground them into meal for breads and cakes and used them for medicinal applications. I have recently been eating sunflower seeds more often mostly for the taste although they pack a punch in the nutritional department as well. A 1/2-cup serving of sunflower seeds provides 14.5 g protein, or 29 percent of the 50 g the FDA recommended daily value. And since protein builds muscle tissue and enzymes that execute important metabolic and digestive functions, I say a few more handfuls are in order. They are loaded with vitamin E as well,  1/2 cup of sunflower seeds is 36.5 IU, or 122 percent of the 30 IU FDA daily value. And we all know vitamin E is an important antioxidant that often acts with selenium to protect cells from free radicals, by-products of metabolism that cause oxidative damage. A mild deficiency in vitamin E is common among Americans, according to numerous studies, so here is the simplest way to avoid that. And they are crazy good when it comes to minerals, in just a 1/2-cup serving you get 37 mcg of selenium,  and 462 mg of phosphorus. And in case you forgot, selenium protects healthy cells from toxins, while magnesium is a mineral that helps muscles relax and phosphorus works with calcium to build and maintain bone density. My favorite way to eat them is on top of a salad of, wild arugula, shredded carrots, flat leaf parsley, hunza raisins ( which are beyond delicious and 100% mineral rich), topped with a generous handful of raw sunflower seeds a little olive oil and lemon, simple and always hits the spot. And don't forget, if you want to up the protein content of nuts and reduce the fat content, soak them in water overnight before eating them and voila the ratio of  protein vs fat changes. And when you can always opt for raw nuts that have not been processed, it makes all the difference in getting the optimum nutrition out of them.


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