Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

Benefits of sunflower
Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

Helianthus annuus, also known as sunflower, belongs to the Asteraceae family native to North America 1. Vast field of sunflowers are grown commercially worldwide, and the seeds are harvested as food as well as its medicinal benefits. Sunflower seeds can be used as a snack, topping for salads, as a nut butter spread, and its oil can be used as an all-purpose kitchen oil.  

The sunflower seeds and sprout possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, and antimicrobial activity 1,2. It has been used in treating some ailments such as whooping cough, laryngeal, pulmonary infections 1,2.

Nutritional Facts

Sunflower seeds are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, copper, folates, iron, zinc, flavonoids, and more. Whiles sunflower seed oil is one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids. It contains four important fatty acids which are palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic.

Published Health Benefits

1. Heart Health

Sunflower seeds and their oil are rich in vitamin E and phytosterols help to reduce cardiovascular risk by reducing total cholesterol, and LDL- cholesterol level 3.

2. Antioxidants

Sunflower seed is a storehouse of antioxidants. These antioxidants function to protect the body cells from free radical damage and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease 3.

3. Support Weight Loss

Sunflower seed is a good source of protein and dietary fiber that can provide satiety feeling and control hunger. Sunflower seed oil extract contains chlorogenic acid that can reduce body weight and visceral fat by inhibiting fat absorption 4.

4. Skin Health

Sunflower seeds have vitamin E and essential fatty acids such as linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acid that hydrates the skin and promotes the development of collagen and elastin, therefore keeping the skin smooth and soft 5.

References:

1. Guo, S., Ge, Y., & Na Jom, K. (2017). A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common sunflower seed and sprouts (Helianthus annuus L.). Chemistry Central Journal, 11(1), 95. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13065-017-0328-7

2. Bashir, T. (2015). Chemistry, pharmacology and ethnomedicinal uses of helianthus annuus (sunflower): A review. Pure and Applied Biology, 4(2), 226-235. doi: 10.19045/bspab.2015.42011

3. Adeleke, B. S., & Babalola, O. O. (2020). Oilseed crop sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a source of food: Nutritional and health benefits. Food Science & Nutrition. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1783

4. Leverrier, A., Daguet, D., Calame, W., Dhoye, P., & Kodimule, S. P. (2019). Helianthus annuus Seed Extract Affects Weight and Body Composition of Healthy Obese Adults during 12 Weeks of Consumption: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. Nutrients, 11(5), 1080. doi: 10.3390/nu11051080

5. Stoia, M., & Oancea, S. (2015). Selected Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Topically Applied Sunflower Oil. Applied Science Reports10(1).doi: 10.15192/pscp.asr.2015.10.1.4549

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