The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower. The term “sunflower seed” is actually a misnomer when applied to the seed in its pericarp. Botanically speaking, it is a cypsela.
Nutrients in Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a fantastic source of vitamin E, selenium, protein, magnesium, fiber, copper, folic acid, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins Bl, B6, and B5.
History of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflowers are thought to have originated in Mexico and Peru, where they were first cultivated by the indigenous people.
Sunflowers found their way to Europe with the Spanish explorers sometime around 1500, and thereafter throughout Western Europe but mostly as an ornamental plant with some limited medicinal uses. The English were the first to commercially make oil from sunflower seed.
Nowadays, sunflower oil is among the most popular oils worldwide. The top commercial producers of sunflower seeds are Spain, the Russian Federation, France, Argentina, Peru, China, and the United States.
Sunflower seeds are a great snack but it’s important to keep it healthy. Many of the available-everywhere varieties are roasted and loaded with high-sodium flavorings. They’re also probably not organic or GMO-free — two things you want to look for. Personally, I love the sprouted, organic sunflower seeds from Go Raw. They’re an awesome snack, go great in a salad, and the quality is as good as it gets. I’d also recommend you give sunflower butter a try, similar to peanut butter, it’s available in some grocery stores, it’s not hard to make, and it’s delicious.
Benefits Of Eating Sunflower Seeds During Pregnancy:
Numerous health benefits of sunflower seeds have made them a popular addition in pregnancy diets
Sunflower seeds are rich in nearly 90% of vitamins, phytochemicals, protein, minerals, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats.
Vitamin E contained in sunflower seeds acts as an antioxidant and protects your body from damages caused by free radicals. It also protects you from blood clots in the vessels.
Phosphorous and minerals found in the sunflower seed aid development of the bones of your unborn baby.
High content of potassium helps regulating sodium balance in your body. This helps in keeping down the high blood pressure levels.
Phytochemicals in the seeds improve your immune system that weakens during pregnancy to increase the ability of the body to accept the growing fetus.
Sunflower Seeds And Folic Acid:
Sunflower seeds are rich source of folate and different minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, selenium and copper.
Folic acid in sunflower seeds helps in the formation of red blood cells and carries oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of your body.
Since your daily folic acid requirement increases in pregnancy, sunflower seeds can be a great addition to your diet.
Lack of folic acid triggers different problems like developmental disorders in your growing child.
Useful Serving Tips:
You can easily incorporate sunflower seeds to your daily diet. Here are some interesting serving tips:
Enjoy salted or roasted seeds as a choice of a healthy snack.
To get a crunchy taste in your salads, you can sprinkle some roasted sunflower seeds and enjoy a new taste.
Roast the seeds with cakes, muffins, candies or chocolates.
Grind the seeds into powder and mix with your favorite pancake or morning oatmeal
If you are allergic to peanuts, look for sunflower seeds that are sold as sunflower butter.
You can add the seeds to steamed mushrooms and squash to prepare a side dish.
Mix the seeds with tomatoes, peas, carrots and peppers in a chicken broth and take it with rice or pasta.
Risks Of Eating Sunflower Seeds While Pregnant:
Sunflower seeds are rich in nutrients that can pose health risks in pregnancy when consumed in excess. Here are some of the risk factors that you should be careful of:
Consumption of high amounts of sunflower seeds can lead to phosphorous toxicity that may lead to kidney damage and non skeletal issues.
You might suffer from selenium toxicity that leads to symptoms like selenosis. Irritability and fatigued body are common symptoms in this case.
Too much of sunflower seeds can also result in skin outbreaks and make your hair and nails brittle.
Key to a healthy baby is good nutrition in pregnancy. A balanced diet packed with nutrition is the best way to head for a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Ask your doctor if you can take sunflower seeds daily. If you get a green signal from him, you can safely consume it in moderation every day.