August 14, 2019 6:46 am Leave your thoughts
Sunflower seeds are the seed that everyone knows all about – but which too many of us ignore! They’re easy to track down, cheap to buy, perfectly tasty and found in all manner of baked goods. We’ve probably all tried to grow a sunflower ourselves as children, and admired their enormous nodding yellow heads as autumn approaches. But perhaps it’s because these seeds are so commonplace that we don’t fully appreciate just how wonderful they really are!
Why eat sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds – the hulled fruit of the sunflower – are an excellent source of protein, fibre, iron, polyunsaturated fats and vitamins B and E. You’ll also find phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, manganese and copper there.
Taken together, that’s a pretty potent combination. The B complex vitamins, for instance, are essential for a healthy nervous system, and also help our bodies release the energy contained in food, to use as fuel. Vitamin E, meanwhile, maintains healthy skin and eyes, fighting infection and strengthening our immune systems. We need protein to build and repair tissue, while fibre boosts our digestive health and polyunsaturated fat helps us maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
The minerals in these seeds are equally important. We use iron and copper to make red blood cells, phosphorus to strengthen bones and teeth, magnesium to regulate our muscle and nerve function, calcium to build bones, potassium to keep our blood pressure normal, manganese to form connective tissue, and zinc to produce protein and DNA.
Sunflower seeds are perhaps the easiest way of bringing this fantastic nutritional combination into our diets. And of course, they taste good – little nutty nibbles, with a pleasing texture.
How to eat sunflower seeds?
Even the most dedicated seed-eater won’t get through more than a handful or so of seeds a day – and that’s fine. Seeds are so nutrient-rich, packed full of all the energy and goodness needed to grow a plant, that it doesn’t take many of them to give the human body the daily nutrition it requires.
We’ve got some great recipes using sunflower seeds below. But if you’re the sort of person who likes reading recipes more than making them, then you might prefer simply to keep a little pack of sunflower seeds handy on your kitchen worktop. Nibble a few whenever you feel peckish throughout the day, or toss them onto your morning cereal, into your baking, or over your roasted vegetables and meat. If you start to feel more adventurous, toast them in a dry pan first, to intensify their taste.
Here are three delicious recipes using sunflower seeds:
All our sunflower seeds
Naturally Good Food sells sunflower seeds – organic and non-organic – in a range of pack sizes, from snack-size up to bulk 25kg sacks. You can see them all here.
We’ve also got a big bag of black sunflower seeds, for sprouting or growing your own microgreens, from Aconbury. Sunflower sprouts are wonderfully crunchy, and both they and the greens that follow them are rich in chlorophyll, vitamins (especially B and E), and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium.
If you’re looking for the easiest way to eat sunflower seeds, then you might like this bag of milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds, from Linwoods. Sprinkle the powdered seeds into baking or onto other foods, to increase their nutritional value. Ground seeds bring a great helping of fibre and nutrients and are easily absorbed by the body.
Sunflower butter from Carley’s, meanwhile, made with roasted seeds, is a great and economical alternative to nut butters. And for a special treat, why not try this three-seed mix from Infinity, which includes sunflowers, along with pumpkin seeds and pine nuts?
Full of the sun?
Sunflowers were religious symbols for a number of early civilizations, who worshipped the sun. Their seeds are full of live-giving energy and nutrition – they’re a plant and a seed that’s worth looking up to!
Tags: Aconbury, black sunflower seeds for sprouting and microgreens, bulk sunflower seeds, carleys, Infinity three seed mix with sunflower, Linwoods, milled sunflower seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, snack sunflower seeds, sunflower butter, sunflower seeds
This post was written by Yzanne