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Sunflower seeds are a good source of protein, vitamin E, beneficial fat and tryptophan. The brain converts tryptophan to serotonin. This is the natural way to relieve mild depression and insomnia. Sunflower seeds have a very high oil content, they are one of the main sources of polyunsaturated oil. 36 grams contains the following percentages of the recommended daily allowance:
Vitamin E 90.5%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 54.7%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 24%
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions where free radicals and inflammation play a big role. 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.
Vitamin E helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is one of the main antioxidants found in cholesterol particles and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol and can significantly reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Those who get a good amount of vitamin E are at a much lower risk of dying of a heart attack than people whose dietary intake of vitamin E is marginal or inadequate.
Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.
Sesame seeds had the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams) Of the nuts and seeds typically consumed as snack foods, sunflower seeds and pistachios were richest in phytosterols (270-289 mg/100 g).
Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is in our bones. Some helps give bones their physical structure, while the rest is stored on the surface of the bone for the body to draw upon as needed.
Magnesium counterbalances calcium, thus helping to regulate nerve and muscle tone. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Nature’s own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium’s entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they ennervate) relaxed. If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and the nerve cell can become overactivated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction. Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue.
Good source of the trace mineral selenium, of fundamental importance to human health. Accumulated evidence from various studies and trials has suggested a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence. Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and to induce their self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells.
In addition, selenium is incorporated at the active site of many proteins, including glutathione peroxidase, which is particularly important for cancer protection. One of the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase is used in the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. When levels of glutathione peroxidase are too low, these toxic molecules are not disarmed and wreak havoc on any cells with which they come in contact, damaging their cellular DNA and promoting the development of cancer cells.
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