Not only are those tall, bright, beautiful plants so attractive and warming to look at, folklore traditions believed that sunflowers would bring good luck and positive energy when planted all around the garden and home. The glowing head of a sunflower is the home to hundreds of seeds, another one of mother nature’s wonderful natural gifts.
Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrition. They contain unique blends of healthy fats and a wealth of nutrients essential to your health and well-being. They are high in fibre along with being a good source of plant-based protein and can be utilised in cooking as well as skincare.
Today's focus is upon their antioxidant content of an essential mineral called selenium.
Selenium is an essential mineral which means it is not produced by the body and therefore must be obtained through your diet.
Required only in small amounts, selenium plays a major role in important functions of the body. Selenium is found in most nuts and seeds however sunflower seeds provide a very cheap and versatile source. Our cookie-mix is also a good source of selenium 😊
Selenium is a potent antioxidant. An antioxidant is a compound which prevents cell damage.
Cell damage is caused by oxidative stress, a process which damages healthy cells and has been associated with chronic health conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals which are by products of daily bodily functions such as metabolism and are formed in the body daily. Smoking, alcohol intake and stress are amongst numerous additional factors which also contribute to an increase of free radicals in the body.
Antioxidants like selenium mop up and neutralise these free radicals keeping their numbers in check and protecting cells from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Studies have shown a high blood level of selenium was associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers. This effect was not associated with the use of supplements but from selenium obtained through the diet.
Selenium’s ability to reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage subsequently boosts your immune system to fight off cancer.
Selenium’s ability to neutralise free radicals thus decreasing chronic inflammation means it can also help fight off heart disease. Oxidative stress and inflammation lead to the build-up of plaque in the arteries which is one of the main risk factors causing heart disease. Studies have shown an increase in blood selenium levels to be associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease. More reasons to ensure you are consuming plenty of nuts and seeds as part of your diet.
Follow the link to the article below for more information on this powerful antioxidant.