Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sunflower Seeds: Tryptophan, Serotonin, Selenium

Top Three Reasons to Eat Raw Sunflower Seeds Now

by Hicham Chraibi

Some think raw sunflower seeds are for the birds, and it’s true that feathered friends love these little treats. But it’s surprising just how much these power-packed little kernels can bring to the table for humans, including improved moods, nutrition, and taste. There are plenty of great reasons to consider adding them to your diet today – while saving some for the birds, of course.

Sunflower seeds are nutritious
Whether roasted or raw, they provide ample amounts of protein-building amino acids, along with magnesium, potassium, zinc and Vitamin E. In fact, a quarter-cup serving provides 90 percent of daily Vitamin E requirements, which helps prevent asthma, arthritis, colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. Magnesium promotes a healthy immune system and strong bones, potassium improves kidney functioning, and zinc supports healthy overall growth. Even when roasted, these kernels lose only a minimal amount of vitamins and minerals, and still pack a powerful health punch.

Sunflower seeds taste great
Even those who don’t like raw sunflower seeds might enjoy them roasted or covered in chocolate. They are a tasty, easily portable snack for healthy eaters on the go, yet versatile enough for use in gourmet dishes. Whether used as a topping or baked right into the dish, they are a great addition to salads, breads, fish, pasta and vegetables. Salted sunflower seeds provide extra flavor, but can also increase cholesterol significantly. For that reason, unsalted sunflower seeds provide the maximum health benefit and can still add texture to many recipes.

Sunflower seeds make you happy
These kernels contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create the neurotransmitter serotonin. In turn, serotonin eases tension, relaxes nerves and prevents depression. There is also a plentiful supply of selenium, a nutrient believed to lighten a mood almost instantaneously. That’s a powerful perk for such an easy-to-use snack. They are versatile, healthy and tasty, not to mention budget-friendly, so your wallet will be happy too. Health, flavor and happiness – what more could you want? Try a pack and you’ll know this tasty snack is not just for the birds!
Hicham Chraibi is a Food Scientist at Superior Nut Company, a successful nut, candy & chocolate manufacturer based in Massachusetts since 1929. http://www.superiornut.com/