Sunny Flower Seeds!
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This week, The Heart Beet reports straight from the sunflower fields. Mary Kent gets healthy, revealing why we all should add this tasty seed to our diets!
There's something so absolutely happy and, yes, rather healing about looking out across a field of bright, yellow, smiling sunflowers. The way they all gaze forward, shining up and out towards the sun with their petals open wide, just makes me totally grin. Yet, as is always the case, it is also what lies within that makes this flower that much more special! Bursting forth from the center of the golden sunflower, the sunflower seed is a heavenly packed gift beaming more than just a happy face. The term seed is actually a misnomer, as the sunflower seed when de-hulled is actually more of a kernel. The husks or shells come in two varieties of either solid black, which are what birds feed on, or striped. Known as 'stripers', these seeds are what line the aisles of gas stations and health food store bins, as their oil content is much lower and better for human consumption.
Loaded with healthy fats, vitamin E, selenium, protein, copper, folates, iron, zinc and B vitamins, the sunflower gives it's glory in both shell and oil form. Here's what's got us snacking on sunflower seeds:
- Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which rids the body of free radicals that cause heart problems and cellular damage.
- Sunflower seeds contain phytosterols which help lower blood cholesterol.
- The seeds are very high in Magnesium, which has so many incredible effects on the body. Click here to find out why I love Magnesium!
- They contain Selenium, which prevents the formation of cancerous cells.
- Sunflower seeds contain the healthy kind of fats. Poly- and mono-unsaturated fat in the seeds protect the heart against artery blockages.
- The seeds contain phytochemicals like choline, phenolic acids, lignan and betaine, which are known to prevent heart disease and cancer.
Sunflower seeds have endless uses! They can be sprinkled over cereals, salads, soups, mixed with vegetables, or eaten as snacks. They can also be added to breads or healthy desserts. Recently, I baked the yummiest peach cobbler that I found in Alicia Silverstone's cookbook called The Kind Diet and used Sunflower Seed Oil as the cooking oil. Alicia's recipe called for Safflower Oil. I read the recipe wrong (a healthy mistake) and bought Sunflower Oil and have to say I noticed no difference at all. It was absolutely divine! Thanks Alicia! Your book is wonderful! I highly recommend it to all my readers.
It's time to let the sunflowers shine! Add some to your life! Don't miss a Beet. Stay tuned for next week.
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