What are Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflowers, native to the Americas, were an important crop for the Aztecs and other native peoples of Mexico in ancient times. After European explorers were introduced to the plant in the early 16th century, they brought sunflower seeds back to their home. In Europe, sunflowers were primarily used ornamentally because of their natural beauty. It was not until Peter the Great of Russia visited Holland in the 18th century and discovered the plant that it gained worldwide popularity as a food for harvest. Sunflowers remain an important commercial crop in modern day.
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are jam-packed with essential minerals including calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper and vitamin E, as well as healthy fatty acids. They are also one of the best sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and thiamin. Sunflower seeds are believed to:
- Help regulate cardiac and skeletal activity
- Aid in production of red blood cells
- Help decrease bad cholesterol