Who can resist smiling when they see sunflowers growing. They are well known for being "happy" flowers. At the same time, sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity.
These bright and colorful flowers are as warm and inviting as the summer sun. With brilliant yellow petals (known as rays), sunflowers have an unmistakable sun-like appearance.
Originally from the Americas, sunflowers were cultivated as a valuable food source for centuries. With the European exploration of the New World, the flower’s popularity spread to the rest of world.
Today, sunflowers are still sourced for their seeds, as well as oils used for cooking and skin emollients.
s have a whole host of health benefits.
Top ten health benefits of sunflower seeds
- They offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties with their vitamin E component, helping with the symptoms of arthritis.
- With their magnesium, sunflower seeds help to keep bones healthy. Magnesium is stored both inside and on the surface of human bones until your body requires it, so it is important to consume enough for bone and general internal health.
- Sunflower seeds are high in both lignans and phytosterol, helping to prevent unhealthy and unwanted cells from forming and growing inside your body.
Softer, smoother skin can come from the anti-aging properties of sunflower seeds. Beta-carotene, vitamin E, and fatty acids help generate collagen, elastin, and other compounds that keep skin supple. Vitamin E also helps prevent scarring. Furthermore, you will find your skin is not as vulnerable to sun damage when you regularly consume sunflower seeds.
- The vitamin B6 in sunflower seeds can increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your scalp, prevents you from losing hair, and keeps it shiny and healthy. The copper in the seeds also works to slow greying.
- If you suffer from acne outbreaks, the fatty acids in sunflowers (that are good for keeping your skin looking young) will also be helpful in clearing acne.
- Improving the level of good cholesterol in your body is another health benefit of sunflower seeds.
- The nervous system can benefit too. Though calcium is an essential nutrient, too much can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia, which can cause problems in this essential system. Magnesium-rich seeds help prevent an excess of calcium in the body, protecting the nerve cells.
- Sunflower seeds contain tryptophan (an amino acid that encourages the production of serotonin in the brain) which in turn can make you feel calmer and less tense.
- I find the easiest way to include sunflower seeds in my diet is by adding a good tablespoonful every day to my breakfast bowl of muesli. At the same time, I also include some cinnamon as well as plenty of chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and sesame seeds.
Sunflowers come in a number of varieties—ranging from small to very large, from having yellow petals to red. In the image here, I am standing next to my own tall sunflowers on the allotment which I grew from seed - and to my great surprise each plant has turned out a different shape and color!