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Sunflower: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   22-Dec-2020

Sunflower is recognized worldwide for its beauty. It is a bright yellow color flower that is also a great source of food. Sunflowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall. This vibrant flower is the best way to say that "summer" Is here. Sunflowers are the fairly fastest growing flowers. It can reach up to 16 feet in height.
 
Sunflowers are also known to be Heliotropic, which means these flowers turn themselves in the direction of the sun. Sunflowers are not only beautiful flowers but very attractive to bees. The sunflower heads grow up to 4-6 inches wide with heavy seeds growing in them. One can easily harvest these seeds to make a great source of food or for replanting. Sunflower seeds are easily available in the market for you to plant in your own garden.
 
Sunflowers are known as "happy flower" because of its large head. Sunflowers seeds are rich in nutrients and can be easily extracted. These seeds are often harvested for bird seeds. Sunflower oil is another thing that could be extracted from these seeds. Sunflower oil is commonly used for cooking because it is nutrients rich. At the time of harvesting the sunflower, the flower itself shows some indication. When the back of the flower turns yellow, and its flower head drops down, it is ready to be harvested. Sunflower is also used for ornamental purposes.
 
History of Sunflowers
The botanical name for Sunflower is Helianthus Annus. It was later named Sunflower due to its love for the sun's shade. Its petals also resemble the sun shining in the sky across. Sunflowers are native to North America, but it was first cultivated by America Indians a few thousand years ago. Sunflowers are used traditionally as an amazing source of food. Sunflowers seeds were grounded to make flour for making cakes, bread, etc. Sunflower oil was squeezed from the seeds in making food.
 
Sunflower seeds vary in color. It comes in black seeds, white, red, and also in striped blue/white. Sunflowers also have a part to play in medicinal uses. In the traditional ages, the different parts of plants were used to cure snakebites and to make other body ointments. The oil from the seeds had great uses for skin and hair. Luckily, these traditional methods are still used in the modern world. Sunflowers are also used to cure various health diseases. Sunflowers are also beneficial in various Ayurveda treatments.
 
Benefits of Sunflower in curing health/ disease problems
Sunflowers are traditionally used for medicinal purposes. Being rich in fats, vitamins, and minerals it plays a huge part in reducing risks of various health problems. Here, we will see Sunflower's medicinal uses according to Ayurveda treatment and Modern science.
 
● High Cholesterol
 
Science Experts
Sunflower oil is known to be the healthiest oil to lower High cholesterol. This oil contains rich components like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. Linoleic and oleic acid in this oil are good sources of energy for the body.
 
Ayurveda Experts
High cholesterol can lead to blockage of coronary arteries due to plaque build-up. High levels of cholesterol can increase the risks of restricted blood flow, various heart disease, or strokes. According to Ayurveda, the reason for high cholesterol is due to an unbalanced diet. Diet with a high amount of fats can lead to weight gain and, thus, high cholesterol. The digestive properties of sunflower oil help to treat indigestion. Food cooked using sunflower oil could improve your diet; hence, reducing high cholesterol.
Tips:
Take ½ -1 tablespoon of Sunflower oil while cooking can reduce the risk of high cholesterol.
 
● Constipation
 
Science Experts
There is no scientific evidence that Sunflower seeds could be a solution in treating constipation. However, there might be a possibility of sunflower helping in managing constipation. 
 
Ayurveda Experts
Constipation is caused to an excessive amount of dryness in the body. According to Ayurveda terms, an excessive amount of Vatta dosha present in the body. Due to less amount of moisture while passing your stool is the symptom of constipation. To make sure your body stays hydrated, opting for a proper diet could help reduce the risk of constipation. To simply, keep This helps to retain the moisture in your body and helps in managing constipation.
Tips:
—Roast ½ - 1 teaspoon of Sunflower seeds, and you can take this 30 minutes before your meals.
—You could also sprinkle 1 teaspoon or as per your requirement of dried or roasted sunflower seeds to your cereal.
 
● High Blood Pressure
 
Science Experts
Due to the absence of scientific evidence in sunflower seed oil helping lower blood pressure, this method would not be useful. Although, your body needs Linoleic acid to activate the hormonal component to relax the blood vessels promoting low blood pressure. And sunflower oil contains a high amount of Linoleic acid. 
 
● Rheumatoid arthritis
 
Science Experts
There is no scientific proof of Sunflower oil or seeds, helping manage Rheumatoid arthritis risk. However, Sunflower may be of help in managing arthritis.
 
Ayurveda Experts
Arthritis is known for the pain in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis in Ayurveda terms is known as Amavata. This type of arthritis comes with inflammation and pain in the joints. In Ayurveda terms, it is known for Vatta being trapped between these joints. This is also caused due to indigestion in your body. However, the right amount of diet could lower the inflammation in your body. High digestive properties in Sunflower oil could help to improve mobility while treating Rheumatoid arthritis.
 
● Atherosclerosis
 
Science Experts
Atherosclerosis is a type of heart disease that is caused by oil deposition in the artery wall. This leads to heart blockage and various other heart diseases. However, an experiment conducted on hamsters results that sunflower oil can reduce atherosclerosis risks at its early stages. The amount of Linoleic acid in sunflower oil can reduce the rate of high Lipoprotein cholesterol and greater risks. 
Tips:
You can cook food using Sunflower oil and add sunflower seeds to your diet.
 
How effective is Sunflower in these mentioned cases?
Sunflower oil has proven to be likely effective in lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. The amount of Linoleic and oleic acids are great sources to build up energy in your body. Sunflower seeds are nutrient-rich. It has a high amount of protein and fiber that can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Although not being scientifically proven, Sunflower seeds and oil can help you to manage the risks of Atherosclerosis, constipation, and arthritis. It can, however, lower the inflammation and pain in the joints. It can also improve your digestive system is followed by some physical training.
 
Precautions should be taken care of when using Sunflower
According to modern science, there are some precautions that should be taken care of when using Sunflower.
 
● In case of Allergy
Using Sunflower oil and seeds can be allergic to people who are sensitive to plant-based products. Common symptoms of this allergy can be itchy mouth or eczema. The allergy range might increase from mild to severe for people who are allergic to nuts. It may increase the risks of oral allergy, conjunctivitis, contact dermatitis, etc.
 
● Women that breastfeeds
Sunflower seeds can be a high source of protein and fiber to increase the production of milk. However, if it leads to an allergy, it might increase the chances of higher risks. So, before adding Sunflower oil and seeds to your diet, you may have to consult a doctor.
 
● Diabetic patients
Including sunflower oil and seeds in your diet can be efficient for diabetic patients. Sunflower seeds are likely to reduce cholesterol levels in your body. A large amount of nutrients component in it can be helpful to patients with diabetes type-2. It helps to manage the sugar levels in your blood.
 
Although constant snacking on Sunflower seeds can lower the glucose levels in your blood, so, it's important that you monitor your sugar levels after consuming Sunflower seeds and your regular medicines.
 
● Women that are pregnant
Women who are pregnant can benefit Sunflower by adding Sunflower seeds and oil to their diet chart. However, the risk of allergies may lead to greater risks. It is important that you check with your doctor before using Sunflower supplements.
 
Different ways of Sunflower consumption with the recommended dosage
There is a number of sunflower supplements that one can benefit from. If you are planning to add Sunflower to your diet, you could follow the recommended dosage, or you could always consult a doctor for the prescribed amount.
 
● Sunflower seeds
Rich in protein and fiber, Sunflower seeds make an ideal source. Sunflower seeds have many components that can reduce high cholesterol and maintain high blood pressure. 
—You can simply eat ½ -1 teaspoon of raw Sunflower seeds 30 minutes before your meals.
—You can also eat roasted or dried seeds to satisfy yourself with crunchiness.
—Crushed Sunflower seeds can also be used as a garnishing element for your salads or cereals.
 
● Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is the best source of energy in your body due to the high amount of Linoleic and oleic acids present. You can simply use this oil in your kitchen for baking or frying. Take a small amount of oil to grease the pan before baking. And as per your requirement for frying.
 
● Sunflower powder
Sunflower powder is another supplement that you can produce from Sunflower. Sunflower seeds are crushed into a powder for easy consumption.
—You can simply take ¼-1/2 teaspoon of Sunflower powder twice a day
—You can also sprinkle some in your food if your taste buds do not agree with plain Sunflower powder.
 
● Sunflower capsule
A sunflower capsule is packed with all the necessary nutrients that can get from a sunflower. For a daily dose of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, you could take a Sunflower capsule after meals. Swallow 1-2 capsules with water after your meals.
 
Skin benefits of Sunflower
 
● Skin Infections
 
Science Experts
Sunflower oil produces a vast amount of vitamin-E that is essential to keep your skin healthy. Sunflower oil also contains anti-oxidant that can deeply nourish your skin. It also contains anti-bacterial components that keep your skin away from any kind of infection. It not only protects your skin from the effects of the sun; it also moisturizes. 
 
● Skin Regeneration
 
Science Experts
An Experiment on animals has proved that using Sunflower seed oil to heal wounds works faster than usual. This is because of the Oleic acid component in it. Its anti-bacterial properties also have a part to play with faster wound healing. It also reduces the risk of getting infections around the wound area. It is one of the best assets for wound care. 
 
Ayurveda Experts
Sunflower oil is widely used to heal wounds faster. Due to its healing properties, it makes the wounds heal quicker over time. It also reduces any swelling and helps to bring back the correct texture to the skin. 
Tips: 
—You can take ½ -1 teaspoon of sunflower oil and carefully apply it to the wounded/affected area. 
—Repeat this procedure twice a day for the wound to heal quickly.
 
● Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis)
 
Science Experts
Sunflower seed oil is proven to get rid of fungal infections. Fungal infections are common in Athletes due to sweat building in their feet while playing for hours. If the foot fungal is not treated immediately, it could spread to your toenails and your hands. Some might lead to being painful. The anti-fungal property of sunflower oil may be useful in managing fungal infections. Sunflower seed oil consists of flavonoids, alkaloids,  etc., which are said to be potent in treating fungal infections. 
Tips:
—Take a few drops of Sunflower oil and apply it to the affected area twice a day for quicker results.
 
How can effective Sunflower be in the mentioned cases?
Sunflower seed and oil have been traditionally used for medicinal and skin purposes. A vast amount of medicinal properties proved to be effective for skin health. For treating Fungal infections, sunflower oil is one of the oils that is recommended by Modern Science. Skin repairing and Skin infections are doubtful in the world of Modern Science, but its anti-oxidant properties and a vast amount of Vitamin-E are said to be beneficial for skin health. 
 
Precautionary guide for Skin  while using Sunflower
Many scientific experiments have proved Sunflower to be beneficial for the skin. The sunflower seed oil has a lot of anti-oxidant properties that are good for your skin. It acts as a barrier for your skin. It protects the skin from harmful rays of the sun. It also consists of a nourishing component that goes deep into the pores and nourishes it. 
 
Although some people might be allergic to Sunflower supplements, highly-refined sunflower oil may be harsh on the sensitive skin. It may cause a rash. In these cases, consulting a doctor immediately would be preferable.
 
Beauty benefits of Sunflower with the recommended amount of dosage
Sunflower oil can also be used as a moisturizer or do-it-yourself face packs. Here are some simple methods that you could try.
 
● Sunflower oil (as a moisturizer)
In today's age, Skincare has been an important routine in one's life. Skincare is all about hydrating your skin, and using a moisturizer is the only way. Sunflower oil is rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin-E, which makes it the perfect moisturizer for the skin. It also helps with issues like acne, redness, and general irritation of the skin.
Tips:
—Take one teaspoon of Sunflower oil in your palms and apply it all over your face and body. 
—Applying it before going to bed might be beneficial, so it can absorb moisture overnight.
—This helps in getting rid of silly wrinkles and fine lines around your eyes.
In case of any allergy, consult your dermatologist immediately. 
 
● Sunflower oil (as a face pack)
Sunflower seed oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Tips:
— Take 3 teaspoons of Sunflower oil in a bowl.
—Add 1 cup of Plain Greek yogurt and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into the bowl. 
—Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly to make a thick paste.
—Apply this paste all over your face and your neck and keep this for 20 minutes. Take off the pack with plain water and pat dry to see the results.
—You can repeat this 2-3 times a week for effective results.
 
● Sunflower Powder (as a face pack)
Sunflower seed is crushed to make powder. Seeds being rich in nutrients can be beneficial for the skin. Its high vitamin-E component can protect your skin from any damage, which is also seen as useful for various chronical diseases.
Tips:
—Simply take ½ -1 teaspoon of Sunflower powder in a bowl.
—Add a few drops of rose water to the bowl and make a thick paste.
—Leave this paste for 1 or 2 hours on your skin and neck and wash it off with plain water. 
—You can repeat this two times a week for quicker results.
In case of any rash or irritation, you should consult with your doctor right away. 
 
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
 
Is there any harm in eating Sunflower seed shells?
Sunflower seeds are meant to be a good source of protein and fiber. Seed shells also contain nutrients. However, seed shells are sharp and could puncture the lining of your esophagus or digestive tract. Studies have shown that the sharp edges of Sunflower seeds have made an impact on children's health. However, soaking the seeds or roasting them before consumption might solve this issue. 
 
What are the uses of Sunflower oil?
Sunflower oil is proven to be good for health. It can help to reduce risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and maintain sugar levels in the blood. Sunflower oil is a combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Sunflower oil is lightweight and known for its great taste. It is widely used for frying, baking, etc. It has several health benefits, as well. It also supplies more Vitamin-E more than any vegetable oil. Its Vitamin-E properties have also proven to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Sunflower oil is found to be good for the skin too. 
 
How do you harvest Sunflower seeds from the flower head?
First, you need to check for the ripe plant. If the back of the flower has turned deep yellow or brown, it is ready to be harvested. You can cut the flower head from the plant itself using a knife. You can either use your fingers or a fork to extract the seeds from the center of the flower. You can roast these seeds or soak them before consuming them. 
 
Can I eat Sunflower seeds daily?
Yes, you can. Sunflower seeds are a great source of proteins and other nutrients. It helps to improve your digestive system. However, consuming too many seeds can lead to various risks. Sunflower seeds are salty, and too much salt consumption can be bad for the heart and kidneys as well. You can have the recommended dosage of Sunflower seeds that is: ½-1 teaspoon of soaked sees or roasted. Including Sunflower seeds in your diet can be beneficial but having more than the recommended amount or prescribed amount as per your doctor could be harmful. 
 
 Do Sunflower seeds make you lose weight?
There is no scientific proof of losing weight from eating Sunflower seeds. However, Sunflower seeds could be a great source of the nutrients that your body needs. These include in the family of nuts, and nuts are proven to be good for our health. These seeds contain minerals and Vitamin-E that is essential for balancing a healthy weight. You can add this to your diet for greater results. 
 
Can I apply Sunflower oil to my face?
Yes. Sunflower oil has many skin benefits. Applying Sunflower oil to your face can prevent skin dryness. It seeps into the skin cells and nourishes them. Its high amount of vitamin-e can help to keep your skin happy and healthy. It also fights against severe skin conditions like acne, eczema, redness, inflammation, and irritation. It prevents aging and softens wrinkles around the eyes. It is found to help to get back the true texture of your skin from the effects of sunburn. 
 
Can Sunflower seeds benefit women with PCOS?
Sunflower seeds are packed with protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. This is super friendly for women who have PCOS. Although it is not scientifically proven to help women having PCOS, there is no harm in including Sunflower seeds in your diet. You can mix toasted sunflower seeds with your salads or your daily cereals. Sunflower is also available in the market in the form of powder, which is much easier to consume since you can sprinkle on your food and have nutritious food every day. 
 
Does Sunflower seeds cure cancer?
One wishes! But no, Sunflower seeds cannot cure cancer. However, sunflower seeds do contain anti-cancer elements that prevent tumor growth. Its high amount of copper, selenium can prevent one from cancer cells. 
 
What are the uses of Sunflower leaves?
Sunflower leaves were traditionally used for snakebites or insect bites. These leaves can also be helpful to a person coming down with a cold. It helps to remove excessive septum collected in the lungs. Sunflower leaves are also used as herbal teas that can reduce high fevers. Its healing properties results in healing wounds quicker.

NS Desk

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