Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nuts & Seeds - Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) Seeds Health Benefits and Side Effects

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Sunflower is a genus of Helianthus, belong to the family Asteraceae and native to the Americas. It grow to heights between 5–12 ft. Sunflower seeds are usually classified by the difference of their husks and are considered as healthy snack of a meal.

Nutritional Supplements

1. Carbohydrates
2. Sugars
3. Fiber
4. Fat (Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated)
5. Protein
6. Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
7. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
8. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
9. Pantothenic acid (B5)
10. Vitamin B6
11. Folate (Vit. B9)
12. Vitamin C
13. Vitamin E
14. Calcium
15. Iron
16. Magnesium
17. Manganese
18. Phosphorus
19. Potassium
20. Selenium
21. Sodium
22. Tryptophan
23. Zinc
24. Etc

Health Benefits
A. Health Benefits according to studies
1. Cholesterol and triglyceride
In the experiment of extracted of coconut oil or sunflower oil fed for 6 weeks to rats, found that Cholesterol levels were significantly lowest in rats fed diets rich in M. incana oil (27% reduction), and triglycerides were significantly lower in rats receiving either M. incana or sunflower oil (36% reduction). The contents of arachidonic acid and other (n-6) fatty acids were significantly the lowest in the liver and plasma of rats that had received M. incana oil. The levels of (n-3) fatty acids were significantly greater in both the liver and plasma of rats fed M. incana oil. The ratio of (n-3)/(n-6) long-chain fatty acids in the plasma was 7 times higher in rats fed with M. incana oil than in those fed with sunflower oil and 6 times higher than in those fed coconut oil, according to "Cholesterol and triglyceride reduction in rats fed Matthiola incana seed oil rich in (n-3) fatty acids." by Yaniv Z, Schafferman D, Shamir I, Madar Z.(a)

2. Antioxidant effects
In the investigation of
Plant foods belonging to different food groups such as cereals, legumes, oil seeds, oils, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, spices, roots and tubers and theirs effect on cardiovascular diseases found that antioxidant activity (AOA) and phenolic content (PC) was the highest in black pepper (0.43 mg food required for 50% inhibition of the coupled auto-oxidation of beta-carotene and linoleic acid in a mixture in vitro) and it had the highest PC (191 mg gallic acid equivalent/100 g food). The AOA (18.4 mg) as well as the PC (not detectable) were the lowest in sunflower oil. PC in oil seeds was higher than that in the oil, which could be due to the hydrophilic nature of phenolics and suggests the need for greater use of oil seeds than oils, according to "Antioxidant activity of commonly consumed plant foods of India: contribution of their phenolic content" by Saxena R, Venkaiah K, Anitha P, Venu L, Raghunath M.(b)

In evaluation of the effects of maritime pine oil supplementation (20% w/w) for 2 weeks were compared to those of coconut and sunflower oil in mice found that After 2 weeks of dietary treatment, plasma cholesterol (p < 0.0001), triglyceride (p < 0.0003), phospholipid (p < 0.0001) and apolipoprotein B (p < 0.0001) levels were lower in mice supplemented with maritime pine oil than in those treated with coconut oil. These effects were accounted for by a lowering of LDL-cholesterol, LDL-phospholipids and LDL-triglycerides, as well as a decrease in HDL-cholesterol and HDL-phospholipids, according to "Effects of dietary maritime pine seed oil on lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis development in mice expressing human apolipoprotein B" by Asset G, Baugé E, Wolff RL, Fruchart JC, Dallongeville J.(c)

4. Sunflower seed and fish oil
In the comparison of the effect of s
unflower seed and fish oil and their potential benefits on human health found that the present study provides the first estimates of in vivo endogenous synthesis of RA (63-73 % of milk RA) from VA in goats, and shows no difference between the two lipid supplements compared, according to "Effects of fish oil and starch added to a diet containing sunflower-seed oil on dairy goat performance, milk fatty acid composition and in vivo delta9-desaturation of [13C]vaccenic acid" by Bernard L, Mouriot J, Rouel J, Glasser F, Capitan P, Pujos-Guillot E, Chardigny JM, Chilliard Y.(d)

5. Ulcers
In the
determination of the potential protective effects of ozonized sunflower oil (OSO)and its effect on gastrointestinal tract found that these protective effects of OSO are mediated at least partially by stimulation of some important antioxidant enzymes such as SOD and GSH-Px, which are scavengers of ROS and therefore prevent gastric injury induced by them, according to "Antioxidant mechanism is involved in the gastroprotective effects of ozonized sunflower oil in ethanol-induced ulcers in rats" by Zamora Rodríguez ZB, González Alvarez R, Guanche D, Merino N, Hernández Rosales F, Menéndez Cepero S, Alonso González Y, Schulz S.(e)

6. Etc.

B. health benefits according to the concentration

1. Vitamin E
a. In the evuluation of the effect of vitamin E against the risk of cardiovascular diseases, in the study of "Vitamin E and risk of cardiovascular diseases: a review of epidemiologic and clinical trial studies" by Cordero Z, Drogan D, Weikert C, Boeing H.(1), the researcher found that fifty-nine published reports from observational studies, retrospective and prospective, randomised clinical trials, meta-analyses as well as pooling analyses were reviewed. The paper provides a detailed discussion about design, quality and limitations of these studies with regard to the evidence of the hypothesized relationship between vitamin E and cardiovascular diseases.

b. Cognitive aging and dementia
Vitamin E from food sources as well as many others such as the n-3 fatty acid, DHA, found in fish, a high ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats, and vitamin B12 and folate, have exerted the benefits of reducing the cognitive aging and diseases, according tothe study of "Nutritional determinants of cognitive aging and dementia" by Morris MC.(2)

2. Vitamin B1(Thiamin)
a. Diabetic complications
Vitamin B1 defeiciency may induce the accumulation of triosephosphates arising from high cytosolic glucose concentrations in hyperglycemia is one likely or potential trigger for biochemical dysfunction leading to the development of diabetic complications, according to the study of "The potential role of thiamine (vitamin B1) in diabetic complications" by
Thornalley PJ.(3)

b. Cardiac function
In the evuluation of diuretic treatment for heart failure may lead to an increased urinary thiamine excretion and in long-term thiamine deficiency, which may further compromise cardiac function, in the study of "Thiamine supplementation in symptomatic chronic heart failure: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over pilot study" by Schoenenberger AW, Schoenenberger-Berzins R, der Maur CA, Suter PM, Vergopoulos A, Erne P.(4), researchers found that thiamine supplementation has beneficial effects on cardiac function in patients with diuretic drugs for symptomatic chronic heart failure.

3. Meganesium
a. Osteroporosis
In the evaluation of therelationship between osteoporosis and magnesium (Mg) deficiency in the study of "A case of magnesium deficiency associated with insufficient parathyroid hormone action and severe osteoporosis" by Kanazawa I, Yamamoto M, Yamaguchi T, Yamauchi M, Yano S, Sugimoto T.(5), researchers found that Mg deficiency in this case seemed to cause impaired secretion of PTH from the parathyroid and the refractoriness of bone and kidney to the hormone, which led to the suppression of both bone remodeling and renal vitamin D production. that probably linked to her severe osteoporosis.

b. Metabolic syndrome
In the assessment of high Mg intake may reduce the risk but the possibility of confounding factors exists, given the strong association between Mg and other beneficial nutriments (vegetables, fibers, cereals), in the study of "Magnesium deficiency and metabolic syndrome: stress and inflammation may reflect calcium activation" by Rayssiguier Y, Libako P, Nowacki W, Rock E.(6), researchers indicated that Mg effect on intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis may be a common link between stress, inflammation and a possible relationship to metabolic syndrome.

4. Manganese
a. Antioxidant
Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), an enzyme located in mitochondria, is the key enzyme that protects the energy-generating mitochondria from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, according to the study of `The role of manganese superoxide dismutase in inflammation defense`by Li C, Zhou HM.(7)

b. Diabetes risk
Deficiency (too little) and efficiency (too much) of some essential trace metals may play a role in the development of diabetes mellitus, including manganese, according to the study of `Copper, chromium, manganese, iron, nickel, and zinc levels in biological samples of diabetes mellitus patients`by Kazi TG, Afridi HI, Kazi N, Jamali MK, Arain MB, Jalbani N, Kandhro GA.(8)

5. Etc.

B. Other health benefits
1. Heart diseases and stroke
Since it contains high amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, it increases the ratio of good cholesterol , thus reducing the risk of heart diseases and stroke., according to the study of "Omega-3 Fatty acids for cardiovascular disease prevention" by Defilippis AP, Blaha MJ, Jacobson TA.(9)

2. Vascular function
Since it contains high amount magnesium that increases the elastic of blood vessels and regulates the muscle relaxation and constriction, thus enhancing the blood flow in the body,according to the study of 'Oral magnesium supplementation improves vascular function in elderly diabetic patients" by Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ, Galioto A, Pineo A, Belvedere M.(10)

3. Ulcerative colitis
Since sunflower contains high amount of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant beside is important in preventing cholesterol from being converted to plaque, it helps to enhance the immune system in fighting against irregular cells growth, virus causes of inflammation, according to the study of "Vitamin E has a dual effect of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities in acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis in rats" by Tahan G, Aytac E, Aytekin H, Gunduz F, Dogusoy G, Aydin S, Tahan V, Uzun H.(11)

4. Etc.

Side Effects

No side effect is known

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