Healing properties of sunflower seeds
Sunflower is an annual herbaceous plant and is also the largest plant in the family Asteraceae. Originates from the southwest of North America, Peru and Mexico. In the past, it was an integral part of the diet of the Indians, and in the Mayan culture it was a symbol of light and fertility. In Greek mythology sunflower symbolizes the God of Sun and, according to a legend, it was created by Apollo, who turned a girl that was in love with him in a sunflower so she could follow the sun in its daily passage of the sky.
Sunflower, due to its deep and branched roots that perfectly absorb water and contaminants from the soil, is often used for draining marshes and cleaning polluted soil. It is a delicate plant that needs the constant sunny land and its large flower during the day follows the movement of the sun. The flower of the sunflower is yellow with a large brown seed head. When the flower dies, it is harvested and dried until it drops seeds from the head. Sunflower seeds are rich in vegetable fats, vitamins, proteins, minerals and dietary fiber materials. They contain up to 50% oil, which is rich in protein and unsaturated fatty acids. But not only seeds are healthy – sunflower petals are used to prepare teas and tinctures and contain anthocyanic glycosides, xanthophyll, choline, betaine, carotenoids, phytosterines, sapogenins and sunflower acid.
There are two types of sunflower seeds – black seeds that are used for oil and colorful seeds that are used in the diet. By squeezing seeds, we get oiled cakes that are very high quality energy fodder. Sunflower seeds contain many useful substances: vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, and vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Eating sunflower seeds prevents cardiovascular and heart disease, the suppression of inflammation, tumors and diabetes, soothe the nerves and muscles, lowers blood pressure, acts on the bone health, asthma, regulates digestion, immune system, insomnia, hair quality, detoxification of the body (improves liver, kidney, skin appearance); they are full of vitamin E, a strong antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. Sunflower seeds are full of unsaturated fatty acids that create good cholesterol.
The seeds are best consumed raw or partially fried. We consume them as snacks (fist of seeds meets the daily intake of many ingredients), in soups, stews, as an ingredient in bread and pastries, in salads. Considering the high energy value, we should keep an eye on the amount of seeds we eat.