Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunflowers: A Golden Crop

Jacob decided he wanted some sunflowers in his garden. Sunflowers are a nutritional goldmine (their seeds are both delicious and nutritious) so he was fully supported in his choice. We were unsure of their chances in the cooler shade of the vege patch but they flourished. Here is some info on these golden giants.

Sunflower Seeds and Vitamin E
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body. Vitamin E can play a significant role in conditions where inflammation and free radicals co-exist. The health benefits of getting enough vitamin E are seen in a reduction of symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and osteoarthritis, in reducing severity of hot flashes and in reducing risk of colon cancer. Vitamin E also helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol, which means reduction and prevention of atherosclerosis, a condition that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Sunflower Seeds and Selenium
Selenium is a trace mineral that is crucial to good health. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated a link between low dietary levels of selenium and development of cancer in humans. Selenium can repair cells, inhibit cancer cells from proliferating, and can even induce a sequence whereby the body destroys abnormal cells. Sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium.

Sunflower Seeds and Magnesium
Magnesium is good for humans on a number of health fronts. Magnesium can calm the nerves and lower high blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. Magnesium may help to prevent migraine headaches and is necessary for healthy bones and muscles. Magnesium helps to regulate body processes that result in nerve cell overactivation, seen in spasms in airways (in asthma) and in painful muscle cramps. Eating sunflower seeds is an easy way to increase dietary levels of magnesium.


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