One of the best ways to get the nutrition of a sunflower is by eating its sprouts. These sprouts have a sweet taste and hearty texture, and can be a healthy addition to your salad. Find out the benefits of sunflower sprouts ahead.
Sunflower sprouts nutrition value
Sunflower sprouts are highly nutritious. For example, ¼ cup of sunflower sprouts contain:
- Calories: 190
- Fat: 16g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Protein: 6g
- Fiber: 2g
- Carbs: 6g
- Iron: 8% of the daily recommended value
- Calcium: 2% of the daily recommended value
- Vitamins: 10% of recommended daily value
Health benefits of sunflower sprouts:
Sunflower sprouts contain a higher amount of protein. They are also rich in Vitamin B, which can reduce stress levels, and zinc, which helps balance the body’s hormones.
These sprouts are also a rich source of essential amino acids, vitamin A, D, E, and B complex. The high levels of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium present in these sprouts can make them the healthiest dish on your dinner table.
Moreover, all of these minerals and vitamins can help reduce the risk of many diseases like anemia, osteoporosis, weight gain, and many other chronic diseases.
1. Boost fertility:
Both the sunflower seed and sunflower sprout contain a higher amount of zinc. Zinc helps in proper growth, but it also takes part in fertility.
Research (Yamaguchi, 2009) has shown that zinc is a mineral essential for the development of sperm, and that’s why it is necessary for men.
Doctors recommend adding zinc into the diet for those men who face difficulty in having a child. In that case, sunflower sprouts can be a great option to add to your diet.
2. High source of vitamins, especially folate:
Folate or folic acid is an essential B vitamin for women, especially during pregnancy. This vitamin plays a significant role in the proper development of a baby’s nervous system. Moreover, B vitamins also help reduce stress levels during pregnancy and improve circulation.
But before adding sunflower sprouts into your diet, consult with your doctor first, because it has high sodium levels. This can increase blood pressure and can be dangerous for the health of both mother and fetus.
3. Increase antioxidant capacity:
Both sunflower seeds and sunflower sprouts contain high antioxidants, which improves immunity and protects the body from the risk of various diseases. Moreover, the presence of vitamin E in sunflower sprouts also increases its antioxidant property.
Vitamin E works mutually with selenium and vitamin C in reducing blood pressure. These vitamins and minerals also increase the elasticity of arteries and prevent the risk of various heart diseases.
4. Can reduce chest congestion:
Sunflower sprouts have been used for centuries to treat cough and chest congestion due to their ability to clear the lungs.
Chest congestion can be due to bacterial or viral infections. Sunflower sprouts has an antibacterial and antiviral effect, increasing immunity against these medical conditions.
Other natural expectorants like ginger, honey, and turmeric can also be used against lower respiratory infections to kill pathogens.
5. Great source of vegetarian protein:
Protein is well known for improving the growth and repair of muscle tissues, as it aids in enzymatic functions in the body. It is also essential in bone development and reduces the risk of various bone-related diseases.
As protein helps make bones strong and build their strength, it can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become weak and brittle.
Sunflower sprout is an excellent source of protein since it can provide 25% protein of daily recommended value.
So, adding this sprout into your diet can help make bones strong and provide strength and support to bones throughout life.
6. Low in calories:
Like sunflower seeds, the sunflower sprout is also lower in calories than many other sprouts. ¼ cup of sunflower sprouts contains 190 calories, while the same quantity of the seeds contains 240 calories.
Eating more calories than you burn can cause weight gain and the risk of obesity. So, if you want to add sprouts to your diet, try to add sunflower sprouts, as these have lower calories than others and are full of essential nutrients.
7. Contains micro-nutrients:
Sunflower sprouts contains a large number of nutrients that are essential to perform many functions in the human body. These sprouts contain more vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper.
The number of calories present in sunflower sprouts come from their fat content. ¼ cup of sunflower sprout contains 2 grams of saturated fats, 6 grams of mono-saturated fats, 8 grams of poly-saturated fats, and 16 grams of total fats.
While sunflower sprouts are high in fats, they mostly contain healthy unsaturated fats. These healthy fats help reduce bad cholesterol levels and maintain blood pressure compared to saturated fats.
8. Reduce risk of anemia:
Sunflower sprouts are a rich source of iron, an essential mineral for making red blood cells. It also contains a higher amount of calcium.
¼ cup of sunflower sprout can provide 1.4 mg of iron which is 8% of the daily recommended value, and 20 mg of calcium which is 2% of the daily recommended value of calcium.
Both iron and minerals are vital minerals. Iron can help in reducing the risk of anemia, a disease caused by a low level of hemoglobin.
Anaemia has become a common disease, especially in women and children. But adding sunflower sprouts to their diet can reduce this iron deficiency and risk of anemia.
9. Maintain blood sugar levels:
Sunflower sprouts can be beneficial for people suffering from high blood sugar levels. Sprouts contain a lot of fiber, making you feel full for a longer time. Fiber helps to reduce the craving for sugary and processed foods, which can spike up sugar levels.
Studies (Dansinger, 2020) have shown the effect of sprouts on lowering blood sugar levels due to two different processes.
First, sprouts have a low level of carbohydrates compared to un-sprouted seeds and grains, which helps control insulin levels.
Second, specific enzymes are present within the sprouts, which affect the breaking down of carbohydrates in the body.
So, adding sprouts like sunflower sprouts can give you multiple benefits simultaneously. It has low carbs already and takes part in breaking down carbs, which also helps in obesity, a risk factor for diabetes.
10. Improve digestive health:
Eating sprouts can also improve digestive health. Sprouting seeds have been shown to increase the amount of fiber present in them. Most of the fiber is in the form of insoluble fiber, which is not dissolved in the stomach.
The insoluble fiber works as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria present in the gut. These bacteria play an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. They reduce digestive related problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas.
Sunflower sprouts have also been used for the digestive problem since ancient times. Early people used to make herbal medicine to reduce bloating and gas by mixing sunflower sprouts with some other laxative herbs.
11. Improve heart health:
Adding sunflower sprouts can provide a lot of heart health benefits as well. Several studies (James Beckerman, 2020) have also shown the consumption of this sprout can reduce the harmful cholesterol levels in people with diabetes and obesity.
And according to research (Beckerman, 2020) increase in good cholesterol levels and a drop in bad cholesterol and triglyceride level are directly linked to a lower risk of heart diseases. High levels can be a risk factor for certain heart diseases like stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.
Adding sunflower sprouts into a diet may help prevent all of these diseases, but in moderate amounts to reduce the risk of high sodium content.
How to grow sunflower sprouts:
Some people think that growing sunflower sprouts is a longer process, but it only takes 8-10 days for sunflower to sprout after planting. Sunflower sprouts need soil to grow, unlike other sprouts that can be germinated in a screen-topped jar.
If you don’t want to germinate them into the soil, use a seed tray, or make a germination box. Keep the depth to 3 inches if you want to germinate sunflower sprouts, and fill in the garden soil up to 2 inches in your sprouting box.
To grow sunflower sprouts, soak unhulled sunflower seeds overnight. Next morning, drain these seeds and scatter them in one thick layer over the soil of the sprouting box.
Press these seeds properly into the soil to make good contact between seed and soil. Water the sprouting box and cover it with thin paper.
Place that box into the warm spot. Greenhouse can be the best place for that, but If that is not available, you can also use the south-facing window.
Sunflower sprouts can quickly be germinated outside in warm weather, but you have to cover the seeds with wire mesh or bird netting to get rid of hungry critters.
Water the seeds daily through the paper until you see the tiny sprouts start coming out, which should take 2-4 days. It will occur faster in warmer weather.
Remove the paper and then water the seedling whenever you feel the soil is dry, which should be once daily.
How to harvest sunflower sprouts
When sprouts are ready to stand up on their own, you can take out seed hulls. The harvesting time of sunflower sprouts will come when the first set of seed leaves is completely open and hasn’t set, and the hairy ones has not appeared yet.
To harvest, take scissors and snip sprouts. Before using them, rinse them properly with water to take off all the dirt.
You can also store extra sprouts in the refrigerator. These can be stored for 5-7 days in the refrigerator if completely dry and all the husks are removed.
How to cook sunflower sprouts:
Sunflower sprouts are not an only powerhouse of nutrients, but they also have fabulous taste and can be added to the diet in many different ways like:
- Can be added to salad and sandwiches
- Served with sunflower seeds and fresh fruits
- It can be blended into green smoothies
- Grind into a paste to be spread on bread
Sunflower sprouts can also be added to warm meals like rice dishes, omelets, soups and burger patties. Some people like to blend sunflower sprouts into their smoothies with other green vegetables, which makes the smoothie richer in nutrients.
It will not only make your food delicious, but it will also make it more nutritious. The easiest way to use sunflower sprout is to make a salad of it. In order to do that, you have to follow just a few simple steps:
- Add garlic, ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper to a small bowl and set aside.
- Now take the sunflower sprout, and rinse it properly with water to take off all the dirt.
- Immerse the sprout into the bowl of water, pick out all the remaining seed shells and dry them into the salad spinner.
- Now place this sprout and greens into the small bowl of ginger, garlic and lemon.
- Drizzle some olive oil, toss all the ingredients well and serve it.
Conclusion on sunflower sprout benefits:
Sunflower is a well-known plant for its nutritional value. The best way to get all of these nutrients is by adding its sprouts into your diet.
Sunflower sprouts contain a lot of nutrients like fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It also contains amino acids and antioxidants, which help the body from fighting against disease.
Also, a large amount of calcium and iron can be obtained from sunflower sprouts. This can be very helpful in reducing the risk of anemia and bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Sunflower sprouts are not only good for health, but they can be very delicious at the same time. Some people use sunflower sprouts in main dishes like rice, stir fry, and soups to make them taste different and delicious.
You can also add this nutritious and tasty ingredient into your dishes in the form of salad, spread paste or smoothie.
If you are having any medical conditions, like high blood pressure or pregnancy, then consult a health care provider before adding this into the diet. It contains high content of sodium as well, which can increase blood pressure.
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