Sunflower seeds

Under the touch of the Greek sun

sunflower_seedsThe sunflower took its name by the translation of the Greek words “helios” for sun, and “anthos” for flower, reflecting on its solar appearance. Sunflower seeds are the gift of the beautiful sunflower, a plant with rays of petals emanating from its bright yellow, seed-studded center.

A handful of sunflower seeds will take care of your hunger, while also enhancing your health by supplying quite an important amount of vitamin E, which has significant anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, vitamin E plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production.

In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that is of fundamental importance to human health, manganese, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and folate while the Phytosterols it contains are believed to lower cholesterol. Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.

sunflower_seeds2Sunflowers have been cultivated for more than 5.000 years by Native Americans, who not only used the seeds as a food and an oil source, but also used the flowers, roots and stems for varied purposes including as a dye pigment. The Spanish explorers brought sunflowers back to Europe, and after being first grown in Spain, they were subsequently introduced to other neighboring countries.  Nowadays, in Greece, sunflowers are mostly cultivated in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

Looking for a health-promoting snack? Enjoy a handful of mild nutty tasting sunflower seeds with their firm but tender texture to take care of your hunger and get a wealth of nutrition at the same time.

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