The Sunflower Seed Diet

sunflowers
Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrition and high in unsaturated fat. (Image: KayTaenzer/iStock/Getty Images)

Unless you are a bird or hamster, eating a diet that consists mainly of sunflower seeds is not a healthy or effective method of weight management. There is no official sunflower seed diet, but sunflower seeds can be a nutritious part of a well-balanced human diet or weight-loss plan. Learn more about sunflower seeds to determine how they fit into your daily diet.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E. (Image: Zoonar/O.Kovach/Zoonar/Getty Images)

Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may contribute to cancer. Low in cholesterol, the seeds are a good source of pantothenic acid, phosphorus, copper, manganese and selenium. Sunflower seeds are also high in dietary fiber, a key component of effective waste regulation, enhancing your body's natural detoxification mechanisms.

Sunflower Seed Diet

sunflower
The sunflower seed diet is one of many varieties of crash diet. (Image: Racide/iStock/Getty Images)

The sunflower seed diet is one of many varieties of crash diet, rumored to help you lose weight rapidly by severely limiting your caloric intake. The problem with crash diets is that they do not provide adequate nutrition and are unsustainable. You quickly regain the weight you lose unless you change your overall lifestyle. Sharply limiting your caloric intake for a short period of time may cause weight loss, but it can be dangerous, possibly leading to organ failure and death. Therefore, crash diets are not recommended by doctors.

Sunflower Seeds and Weight Loss

Sunflower
Sunflower seeds are also high in fat. (Image: Art-foto/iStock/Getty Images)

Because sunflower seeds are high in fat, making them the centerpiece of your diet may not be an effective way to lose weight over the long term. According to the USDA, fats and oils should make up the smallest portion of your daily dietary intake. The good news is that sunflower seeds contain healthy fats that may protect you from heart disease and high blood sugar, according to nutritionist Joy Bauer. Including sunflower seeds in your weight loss plan is a good idea; getting the bulk of your calories from them is not. A weight-loss diet should concentrate on fruits and vegetables, followed by whole grains and low-fat dairy products and lean protein recommends the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Serving Suggestions

Fresh Sunflower Seeds
Roast sunflower seeds are a good topping for salads. (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

Roast sunflower seeds, toss them in sea salt and store them in an airtight container to use as a crunchy salad topping, a fast snack or a pleasing textural contrast to cooked vegetables. Add sunflower seeds to baked goods, such as muffins, cakes and yeasted breads, for richness and to enhance a chewy, toothsome consistency. Blend toasted sunflower seeds with dried fruits and nuts for a hiking snack mix that is convenient to eat and packed with energy.

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