Sunflower Seeds: Brain Boost

I’m a crunch girl: I need a good healthy crunch in my food to feel satisfied! I often add seeds or nuts to foods like yogurt, granola, grains, vegetables, and salads to get it. But seeds do more than give a satisfying crunch; they improve our health! Sunflower seeds are totally delicious AND loaded with some heavy-hitting nutrients that are especially good for our brain power.

Sunflower seeds top the charts in vitamin E content. Just a quarter of a cup of sunflower seeds provides more than 80% of the of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E. Vitamin E offers protection against brain decline that comes with age, chronic inflammation, heart disease, diabetic complications, and colon cancer. The choline and selenium found in sunflower seeds are also beneficial for your brain function and memory.

These seeds are high in magnesium too. Eating enough magnesium counterbalances calcium in regulating nerves and muscle contractions. Magnesium helps keep our nerves and muscles relaxed, aiding in the prevention of high blood pressure, migraine headaches, muscle cramps, tension, soreness, and fatigue.

Besides having a whole assortment of other vitamins and minerals (including B vitamins, copper, manganese, and phosphorus), sunflower seeds also contain phytosterols that can enhance your body’s immune response. This can reduce the risk of some cancers and also lowers cholesterol levels.

Sunflower seeds are a terrific plant-based protein food. There are over 7 grams of protein in a quarter cup of kernels. The fat in these seeds is healthy fats that our body needs to absorb nutrients, fight disease and even help decrease belly fat. So even though they are a concentrated source of calories, they’re healthful calories.

So if you need an extra *crunch* in your food, or are looking for a high-protein snack with a vast amount of nutrients, take May’s Healthy Challenge and eat sunflower seeds. Over time, your brain and body will rejoice!

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