Understanding the Polyunsaturated Fat Oils in Sunflower Seeds

Health is wealth and our prosperity in life is equivalent to the well being of our bodies. Sunflower seeds are among the foods rich in many different nutrients that are sometimes hard to get in other foods. It is on this fact that the sunflower has gained much popularity worldwide.

sunflower seeds

It is also widely believed that the greater the fats consumption the more the weight gain. However, the reverse is true. Consumption of healthy fats leads to a much healthier cardiovascular system, stable and healthy weight, and lower levels of body inflammation.

Sunflower kernels are used to extract the edible sunflower oil, which is sold commercially for culinary purposes.

Sunflower kernels

Poly Unsaturated Fats

These are lipids with the hydrocarbon chain having more than two carbon to carbon double bonds. “Unsaturated” means that these molecules have much lower hydrogen than the maximum amount. They are mostly plant-based oils with lower heat tolerance and tend to solidify in lower temperatures.

Chemical Structure

Greek letters denote the position of the carbon-to-carbon bonds of carboxylic acid chains. In fatty acid structure, the carbon atom in the methyl group at the end of the hydrocarbon chains is referred to as the omega carbon, as omega is the last letter in Greek alphabet. Thus, “Omega 3 fatty acids” contain the double bond at three carbons away from the methyl carbon, and “Omega 6 fatty acids” have the double bond at six carbons from methyl carbon.

Poly Unsaturated Fats and Health

These fats are very beneficial to our health. One important benefit is lowering the LDL cholesterol from the body, which causes clogging of arteries. The level of cholesterol must be kept as low as possible to eliminate the risk of heart disease.

 Sunflower Oil

These polyunsaturated fats are high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, which are essential for brain functioning and cell growth. The human body never makes fatty acids and is only available from food. Sunflower oil is a great source of this nutrient. Other uses of omega 3 include;

  • Reducing triglycerides in the body
  • Lowers risk of arrhythmia, a condition of irregular heart beat
  • Lowering build up of plaque in the arteries
  • Reduction of blood pressure
Omega 6 fatty acids help in controlling of the blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of diabetes as well as lowering of the blood pressure.

Consumption of Fats

Fats are required by the body for various functions, key among them energy production. Consumption of sunflower seeds and sunflower oils as source of polyunsaturated fats is the better option. It is advisable to obtain 25 to 30% of daily calories from polyunsaturated fats. Intake of saturated fats must be limited to less than 6% of your daily intake or approximately 13g per day. These are fats from red meat, butter, cheese and some dairy products.

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Seeds of sunflower can also be roasted and consumed in snacks and other recipes. They can also be roasted for long-term storage.

In snacks, they can be sprinkled on toast spread with peanut butter for added crunch and saltiness. They can also be added on to any salad including sweet salads.

Sunflower continues to gain popularity as a choice food due to its nutritional value. The seeds and oil can be sourced from online stores, which also guide you on preparation of various recipes.

This article focuses on the role of sunflower seeds in supply of unsaturated fats in the body. It also discusses the nature of polyunsaturated fats and their role in body health.