Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Can Sunflower Seeds Make You Lose Weight?

Sunflower seeds are a triple threat. In addition to being tasty and good for you, they contain nutrients that can help you lose weight in a healthy way. Before you start shoveling down the seeds, though, it’s important to realize that no single food can successfully lead to weight loss. You’ll get the best results by following a balanced eating plan that features a wide variety of healthy, low-calorie foods.

Beneficial Nutrients

Sunflower seeds are a good source of B vitamins and fiber, as well as the minerals copper, magnesium, zinc, selenium, iron and folate. A 1-ounce serving of plain, dry-roasted sunflower seeds has 165 calories, 5.5 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 14 grams of fat, only 1.5 grams of which are saturated. Choose unsalted seeds, which are virtually sodium-free. Salted sunflower seeds have more than 200 milligrams of sodium in 1 ounce, about 10 percent of the maximum amount the National Institutes of Health recommends daily. Too much sodium may raise blood pressure levels.

Filling Fiber

The fiber in sunflower seeds is an especially key nutrient for weight loss. According to a research review published in the journal “Nutrition” in 2005, people who eat the most fiber tend to have the lowest percentages of body fat and the lowest body weights. Fiber can also make you feel full and control hunger. It increases chewing time and adds bulk to your diet, which slows your digestive processes.

Plant-Based Protein

The protein in sunflower seeds can go a long way toward helping you lose weight. Protein is more satiating than either fats or carbohydrates, according to a research review published in 2008 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Protein-rich foods may help stave off cravings or curb overall hunger. Plant-based foods and plant-based proteins may also have special properties for enhancing weight-loss efforts. According to a 2013 study published by “JAMA Internal Medicine,” plant-based diets that are high in proteins may produce better weight-loss results than diets that include meat.

Portion Control

Despite their many beneficial nutrients for weight loss, sunflower seeds carry no guarantee that they’ll help you slim down. They are both a nutrient- and calorie-dense food, so if you eat large amounts of them, you may actually gain weight over time. Practice portion control by weighing out an ounce before you snack or by pouring seeds into a 1/4-cup portion rather than eating them straight out of the bag.
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