Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh depicted their bright yellow beauty in a series of paintings he named Sunflowers or in French, Tournesol. But these giant flowers do a lot more than inspire artists. The alkalizing seeds of the sunflower, besides being crunchy and delicious, contain high levels of important nutrients that help you build your bones and prevent another condition we all dread.
Crucial Bone-Healthy Nutrients
Sunflower seeds are alkalizing and are an excellent source of manganese and copper. Both are trace minerals necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone. A quarter of a cup of these crunchy marvels contains well over 30% of the RDA of these Foundation Supplements.
Magnesium, another Foundation Supplement often ignored by mainstream medicine, is also quite abundant in these tasty seeds. You can get around 100 mg in a quarter of a cup. Add to the list generous amounts of vitamins B1, B6, and folate, all of which are also Foundation Supplements, and you’ll really want to have these delicious seeds handy.
Eat Them Raw and Unsalted
You'll get the most benefits from sunflower seeds when you eat them raw and unsalted. If you'd like to add a little salt for flavor, then use sea salt, but in moderation. Whether shelled or unshelled, they should be firm and crunchy, not limp and soft or yellowish in color. I prefer to get them shelled for added convenience and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, so they stay fresh longer.
And there's more about sunflower seeds, because they are…
An Outstanding Source of Vitamin E
A quarter of a cup provides 62% of the RDA for Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol. This potent antioxidant performs a myriad of important functions in the body. Relating to bone health, it supports proper bone remodeling, as I wrote in a previous blog post.
Vitamin E’s anti-inflammatory effect as well as its cardiovascular benefits are widely discussed topics in the natural health arena. But did you know that…
Dietary Vitamin E Can Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Indeed, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown that those who consumed foods rich in Vitamin E, averaging only 11.4 IU per day, had a 67% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who consumed about half that amount.1 Interestingly, Vitamin E from supplements was not associated with risk reduction. By the way, the RDA of vitamin E is 22 IU per day.
So don’t forget to add sunflower seeds to your salads, stirred-fried veggies, casseroles, and to any of your favorite dishes — your brain will thank you.
1 Martha Clare Morris, ScD et al. “Dietary Intake of Antioxidant Nutrients and the Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease in a Biracial Community Study.” JAMA. 2002;287(24):3230-3237. doi:10.1001/jama.287.24.3230.