You’ve had a pretty good day so far. You made it to work on time, had a healthy breakfast, a productive first-half, a light lunch and are working on a 10-page report when they hit you. Those awful, mind-numbing hunger pangs that consume you till you gorge on something sweet, something salty or something fatty. You can complete heavy work load with ease but when it comes to mindless snacking, why is it that you have no self-control? Well, now we’ve got a fantastic solution to all, well most of your problems. Nutty, small, creamy and brown, sunflower seeds make an excellent snack that is not only delicious but also undeniably healthy.
Here are a few reasons why: • Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, have anti-inflammatory properties and cardiovascular benefits. Vitamin E are fat soluble antioxidants that help in neutralizing free radicals, thereby preventing oxidation of cells and ageing process. Vitamin E helps in reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis and cancer.
• These seeds provide phytosterols which helps in reducing cholesterol. Phytosterols are compounds found in plants and have a structure similar to that of cholesterol. And when it is present in sufficient quantities in your diet, it helps to reduce cholesterol, improve immunity and reduce risk of certain cancer. • Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium which helps in reducing hypertension (blood pressure), prevents migraine and headaches. Magnesium basically helps in calming and relaxing our nerves, prevents muscle spasm, migraine, fatigue etc. • Sunflower seeds are also rich in copper which helps in making bones stronger. • Sunflower seeds are rich in dietary fiber hence helps in digesting food and cure constipation. • Sunflower seeds contain tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that helps produce serotonin which is an important neurotransmitter and promotes relaxation. • Sunflower seeds are very good for healthy and glowing skin. They have all essential fatty acids such as linolenic, oleic and palmitic acid which encourage the formation of collagen and elastin thus making skin soft and smooth.
How to add sunflower seeds to your daily diet? • Sprinkle them over your salads, soup, cooked vegetables and lentils (dal). • Sprinkle them on pancakes and scrambled eggs. • Add them to your porridge and smoothies. Some interesting recipes using Sunflower seeds: Artichoke Sunflower Dip Great party fare served with baked chips or crackers and yet hearty enough for a pita sandwich filling. Ingredients
1-15 ounce can cannelloni or other white beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 garlic cloves
1-1.5 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1-2 ounce jar diced pimentos
¼ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels Sunflower Garden Omelet If you aren't used to tofu, this is the perfect introduction. It adds soy protein and phytochemicals that fight heart disease and cancer. Pair the smooth texture with the healthy crunch of sunflower kernel. Ingredients
4 large eggs (egg whites only)
2 egg whites or ¼ cup blended tofu (see note)
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seed kernels
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup (about 2 large) mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup baby spinach leaves
¼ cup (½ medium) tomato, sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or mint
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Note: To blend tofu, crumble soft silken tofu into a small food processor bowl and blend until completely smooth. Can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Method:
1. Mix eggs, tofu, if using, salt and pepper together in medium bowl. 2. Place 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil. When hot, add sunflower kernels; toast, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. 3. Lower temperature and pour egg mixture into skillet over the toasted kernels. Cook, gently lifting edges of omelet allowing eggs to flow underneath until eggs no longer flow.
4. Layer onion, mushrooms, spinach and tomato on one half of the eggs.
5. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of herbs and cheese. Continue to cook about 3-4 minutes, until eggs are set and vegetables are warm. From the side having no veggies, use a spatula to roll omelet over the vegetables.
6. Carefully slide omelet onto a platter. Cut in half before serving, sprinkle with remaining chopped herbs and cheese.
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