A must for homemade bread doughs, sunflower seeds are acclaimed by dieticians and nutritionists for their many health benefits. Indeed, in addition to their gustatory interests, these small seeds are rich in nutrients. Eaten plain or added to recipes, they bring an atypical taste to dishes. Nevertheless, in spite of its multiple virtues, the pipasol is not consumed anyhow. Where do these seeds come from? Why eat them? How to eat them? Review in detail of sunflower seeds.
Origin of sunflower seeds :
The geographical origin of the sunflower is not defined with certainty. According to history, it would come from North America. It was first domesticated by the Amerindians, then by the Mexicans for its medical and food properties. As a proof, these yellow flowers are often used to symbolize North American Amerindian cultures. However, recent discoveries cast doubt on the North American hypothesis. Indeed, in 2010, fossilized footprints of yellow flowers similar to the sunflower were found in northwestern Patagonia.
The sunflower was introduced in Europe in the 16th century by the Spanish. Currently, this plant is grown exclusively for its seeds, which are rich in high quality edible oil. The cultivation of sunflower for its oil seeds dates back to the 19th century. It should be noted that 40% of these seeds consist of sunflower oil.
What is sunflower seed?
Pipa or pipasol is a seed extracted from the flower of the sunflower or Helianthus annuus. It is a large annual plant with a stem that can grow up to 4 m high. This large yellow flower is not a real flower, but rather a pseidanth composed of flower heads and flower receptacles.
The sunflower takes its name from the Italian “girasol” which means “that turns with the sun”, referring to its stem that bends according to the position of the sun. Thus, its leaves follow the movement of the sun throughout the day to optimize the efficiency of photosynthesis. Several other names are given to this yellow flower:
Garden sun ;
Common Sun ;
Parrot seed ;
Where can I find organic shelled sunflower seeds?
Hulled sunflower seeds are generally sold in supermarkets, in organic stores or on the Internet. They are presented in bulk or in resealable food packages, and this, in different forms. To choose them well, it is advisable to opt for varieties that come from the European Union, whose planting and production respect the standards. According to the recommendations of dietician Alexandra Retion, “it is preferable to choose roasted sunflower seeds, which are tastier, but still retain the essential nutrients. “Salted seeds, on the other hand, should only be eaten occasionally, as they promote high blood pressure and water retention. They are also risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease,” adds the dietician.
How to plant sunflower seeds and flowers?
In principle, the cultivation of sunflower seeds is done in spring. In this sense, the sowing of seeds takes place in April, May or June. For the plant to gain height, it is preferable to plant it at the beginning of the year. The holes should be spaced so that the flowers do not crush each other. To have a beautiful garden with yellow flowers, it is important to follow the instructions on the package before sowing the seeds.
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Composition of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are largely made up of sunflower oil. Their fat concentration is 40%. However, it is mainly unsaturated fatty acids that are good for health. Pipasol also contains many essential minerals and trace elements. The only drawback is that these seeds are very high in calories.
What nutrients in Helianthus annuus?
Like all dried fruits, these seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. They also contain a large amount of antioxidants, including vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are also excellent sources of phosphorus, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, B vitamins, including vitamin B6, and trace elements such as omega 3.
How many calories in sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds are very high in calories. A 100 gram serving of pipasol provides about 653 kilocalories. Compared to almonds, these seeds have a high energy intake. Therefore, consuming too much of them can make you gain weight. In order to avoid weight gain, it is recommended not to exceed 15 grams of sunflower seeds per day.
When to get sunflower seeds? In which season?
Sown in spring, sunflower seeds are mainly harvested in mid-August. However, they can be eaten all year round.
What are the virtues of sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds have many virtues. According to the advice of dietician Alexandra Retion, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil are to be preferred for the quality and diversity of the nutrients they contain.
Antioxidants to fight against cellular aging ,Particularly rich in vitamin E, sunflower seeds have antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body. Antioxidants fight against cellular aging caused by free radicals. They also prevent cardiovascular diseases and certain forms of cancer. Moreover, vitamin E acts on red blood cells and contributes to the good oxygenation of cells.Applied to the skin, sunflower oil acts as an effective anti-aging agent.Saturated fatty acids to eliminate bad cholesterol
Thanks to its saturated fatty acids, sunflower oil lowers blood cholesterol levels. Indeed, the phytosterols of the plant reduce the quantity of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood. The oleic acids increase the level of HDL.
Minerals and vitamins essential to the body. In addition to antioxidants, sunflower seeds and oil contain several other essential nutrients such asPhosphorus: second most present mineral in the body after calcium, this nutrient is essential for the health of bones and teeth. It also contributes to cell regeneration and the maintenance of a normal blood pH.
Manganese: it ensures the proper functioning of metabolic mechanisms and prevents problems caused by free radicals.
Copper: it is essential for the production of hemoglobin and collagen, important elements for strengthening the body’s defenses.
Iron: it ensures the proper oxygenation of cells and contributes to the formation of red blood cells.
Zinc: it participates in the development of the immune system, the regulation of insulin secretion and the healing of wounds.
Vitamins (A, B, E and D): they are essential for the development of neurotransmitters and the development of cognitive functions and memory.
Other uses of sunflower
In addition to its use in food and traditional medicine, the sunflower is also used to feed animals, in this case birds.
Its husks can be recycled to make panels. The latter are used for the manufacture of light furniture. When dry, the sunflower stems can also be transformed into paper. They are also excellent fuel.
Is it good to eat sunflower seeds? What are the contraindications of pipasol?
It is true that sunflower seeds are full of minerals that are essential for health. However, it is important to limit their consumption, especially because they contain a lot of calories (600 kcal per 100 g). They can therefore make you gain weight quickly. In addition, even in their natural state, sunflower seeds contain a lot of salt (9 g per 100 g). They can therefore promote cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure.
Moreover, according to dentists, eating a lot of sunflower seeds can considerably damage the dental enamel. However, a handful of these seeds from time to time would not be harmful to the teeth.
It should also be noted that sunflower seeds contain a considerable amount of oxalate, a substance that promotes the formation of urinary stones and kidney stones. People who suffer from these diseases or who have been cured of them should seek advice from their doctor before consuming these seeds.
Finally, sunflower seeds can cause allergies that are usually associated with nut allergies. As a result, people who suffer from birch pollen allergy may develop immunological reactions following the consumption of raw sunflower seeds. The main symptoms of these reactions are similar to oral allergies,