The Summer Staple You Might Be Missing

The Summer Staple You Might Be Missing

During this season of summer celebration, we wanted to share with you a tip for a summer staple that you may not currently be incorporating into your life – The Sunflower Seed!

This one little seed can calm your nerves, protect your heart, reduce cholesterol and fight inflammation in the body.  Its mild nutty flavor adds a balancing touch to salads, smoothies and more!

This mighty seed contains over 80 nutrients and supplies significant amounts of Vitamin E, Magnesium and Selenium.  Let’s take a peek at how these three specific nutrients support us in health:

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant.  It travels through the body neutralizing free radicals and protecting the health of fat-containing molecules and structures in the body.  These fat-containing molecules include our cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol.  Because of this significant antioxidant effect, Vitamin E acts as an anti-inflammatory as well; protecting the body from disease states such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

The other benefits the body receives from the Vitamin E found in sunflower seeds include; prevention of cardiovascular disease, reduction of severity and frequency of hot flashes due to menopause, and a lower risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis.

Magnesium is essential for over 300 processes in the body, and plays a big role when it comes to supporting our bones, muscles, and blood vessels.  About 2/3 of the magnesium found in our body is found in our bones.  Some of it helps build the solid structure, while the rest adheres to the outside of the bone for the body to draw upon as needed.

Studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps to prevent migraines, lower high blood pressure, lower your risk of stroke and heart attack and reduce the severity of asthma.  Each of these conditions has to do with muscular health.  Magnesium helps our nerves and blood vessels stay calm and our muscles relaxed.  When we do not have sufficient levels of magnesium in the body, we can experience muscle spasms, migraines, high blood pressure, and fatigue.

Selenium is a trace mineral that is fundamentally important to your health!  Studies support selenium’s ability to induce DNA repair, inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce the body’s ability to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells. This means that selenium provides us protective benefits against cancer and lowers the incidence of cancer in the body.

Selenium also supports the function of glutathione peroxidase, a protein found in our body.  Glutathione peroxidase is a potent antioxidant and helps our liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules, which when left in the body can promote the development of cancer cells.

Sunflower seeds are found in your local grocery store year-round.  It’s a convenient snack to keep tucked away in your child’s backpack, or in your desk drawer for easy daytime snacking.  You can also enjoy sunbutter, which is the sunflower seed version of peanut butter.  Sunbutter is a safe alternative when nut allergies are of concern.

Whether you snack on them in the office, put a dollop of sunbutter in your morning smoothie, or enjoy the seeds as a healthy salad topping, make the decision to include them in your diet; your body will thank you for it!

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