Barbara Intermill | Tribune News Service (TNS)
This time of yr, the sight all the time takes my breath away: acres and acres of sunflowers in full bloom, smiling on the solar as we drive by way of rural areas of our state.
The cultivated beauties are associated to the smaller and extra prolific sunflowers (they’re too fairly to name weeds) that pop up alongside roadsides and hills all through a lot of North America.
Native Americans have been the primary individuals to cultivate wild sunflowers for his or her seeds, in response to the National Sunflower Association.
Today, there are two fundamental varieties of economic sunflowers: one which produces the everyday black-and-white striped seeds we eat for snacks, and one other that bears smaller black seeds used to make oil.
And simply so I get my semantics proper, there’s a distinction between a sunflower kernel and a sunflower seed. The kernel is the “meat” that has been faraway from the outer shell (or hull) of a sunflower seed, say specialists. When we eat sunflower seeds, we’ve to crack the shells open to get to the kernel.
How do sunflower-based merchandise stack up nutritionally?
Pretty darn good, truly.
An ounce of sunflower kernels (about 1/4 cup) gives a number of vital vitamins, together with protein, dietary fiber, copper and zinc. Like different seeds and nuts, sunflower kernels are comparatively excessive in fats, but their fats profile is an efficient one. Almost 90% of the fats within the yummy seeds is “good” unsaturated fats that makes our hearts completely happy.
I used to be shocked to study that sunflower seeds are additionally one of many richest complete meals sources of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. Recent research have proven that actual meals (as a substitute of dietary supplements) is one of the best and most secure solution to get this nutrient.
Based on their nutrient worth, the present Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 place sunflower seeds and sunflower butter in the identical protein meals class as nuts and soy merchandise. And sunflower oil is really useful as a healthful fats supply.
Raw or oil-roasted?
Surprisingly, the energy, fats and different vitamins are related between the 2 … with one exception. Roasted seeds and kernels usually include extra sodium (salt).
Should individuals with nut allergy symptoms keep away from sunflower seeds?
Experts say allergy symptoms to sunflower seeds or oil are very uncommon. Still, if you’re allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, examine meals labels to verify sunflower seeds have been packed in a peanut- and nut-free facility.
Lastly, do sunflowers actually observe the solar?
“When the plant is in the bud stage, it tends to track the movement of the sun across the horizon,” says the National Sunflower Association. “Once the flower opens into the radiance of yellow petals, it faces east. No one knows why. However, it is likely a defensive response. Facing south or west could result in sun-scalding of seeds during very hot days.”
I nonetheless assume they’re smiling.
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