Sunflowers are in peak season right now — you might have noticed them at the farmers market or fields and yards. The seeds are a great low glycemic, natural snack on their own, and add healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium and antioxidants to our No-Grain Granola and Seed and Nut Bars.
Vitamin E is important for a healthy immune system, skin, and eyesight. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and is vital for strong bones and a healthy heart. It can help lower stress, improve sleep and plays a key role in metabolism. Sunflower seeds also provide linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid our bodies require) and phytosterols (which lower cholesterol).
And, of course, they’re fun to shell and grow into lovely flowers. There’s more to sunflowers than just great nutritional value and appearance, though. Native to North America, they’ve been used for dye, oil, and food for thousands of years.
Intrigued? Here’s more fascinating information on sunflowers:
- The first archeological evidence of sunflowers being cultivated dates to around 2600 B.C. in Tabasco, Mexico.
- The flowers follow the sun, and the spiral created by the seeds follow the Fibonacci sequence, creating a golden spiral.
- Sunflowers come in sizes for any occasion, from 3 feet tall to 18 feet tall — the tallest sunflower recorded in the Guinness World Records reached 28 feet and 8 inches.
- Sunflowers pull heavy metals (like lead) out of the soil, as well as radioactive material, making them a prime candidate for cleaning up toxic areas.
- The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, the state flower of Kansas, USA and are often used as an international symbol for nuclear disarmament.
- 10 year old Russell Lothrop, a student at Northside Primary School in Gaborone, Botswana, organized 724 students and teachers dressed as sunflowers to create a new Guinness World Record.
If you’re looking for a healthy snack, cheerful bouquet, or great costume idea the sunflower has it all.