Are sunflower seeds good for diabetics? Benefits & Risks

Sunflower seeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help with blood sugar control in people with diabetes. They are also a good source of plant protein and healthy fats. The seeds can be added to meals as a snack or used as part of a meal replacement. But, Are sunflower seeds good for diabetics? Let us find out !

Are sunflower seeds good for diabetics?

Sunflower seeds nutrition

Sunflower seeds are a popular health snack since they are tasty and crispy. They’re high in calories, but they’re also a rich source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for the health. Fatty acids provide a significant portion of their calories in the seeds of sunflower.

Almost half of the fatty acids in them are polyunsaturated fatty acids, predominantly linoleic acid. In addition, oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid , is also abundant in the seeds. Studies[1] have shown that a regular diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping a healthy lipid profile.

Glycemic index of sunflower seeds

With a glycemic index of 20, sunflower seeds are regarded as a low-glycemic food since they contain little or no sugar. A single serving of the seeds has a glycemic load of zero which results in slower increases in blood sugar after eating that food.

High in Protein

Diabetics can consider about eating small amounts of sunflower seeds, such as 1 ounce (30 grams) per day because it is a good source of protein. Protein, as a matter of fact, breaks down slowly as makes you feel fuller for a longer period. In 100 grams of sunflower seeds you can find 21 grams of protein which an important aspect of these seeds.

How does it work in case of diabetes ?

Sunflower seeds contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) so they can be recommended as an organic remedy to treat type 2 diabetes as they enhance the insulin sensitivity that significantly decrease the blood sugar. In fact, substituting saturated fats in the meal with polyunsaturated fats slowed the progression of diabetes in a condition where glucose absorption into muscles was hindered.

DID YOU KNOW ! Sunflower seeds’ bioactive components, such as chlorogenic acid and secoisolariciresinol diglucosoid, are involved in the treatment of insulin resistance or insulin production. You can easily find them in hypermarkets or can check their prices on amazon here !

Dosage

30-60 minutes before a meal, eat 1/2-1 teaspoon of raw, roasted, or dried Sunflower seeds. They can also be added to salads as an alternative. You can also have 1-2 capsules twice a day. In the powdered form 1/4 teaspoon twice a day can be safely added to your routine.

Sunflower seeds and diabetes: The good, the bad and the ugly

The diabetices friendly seeds are particularly high in iron, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, and calcium. Moreoever, coupled with several vital minerals, sunflower seeds have a high concentration of B-complex vitamins. Niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. The richnes of these nutrients have been shown to help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

Drawbacks !

While sunflower seeds are a good source of nutrients for people with diabetes, there are some drawbacks associated with eating them.

  • Gut issues: Sunflower seeds can cause vomiting, stomach aches, and constipation if consumed in large quantities.
  • Digestion: Many people with diabetes have trouble digesting them due to the high levels of fiber content in sunflower seeds.
  • Allergies: In an another disadvantage, people with allergies to sunflower seeds may experience symptoms such as nausea, itching, trouble breathing, swelling, and itching around the mouth, among others.
  • Weight-gain: Sunflower seeds are calorie-dense, as a result, overeating might lead to obesity.
  • Salted sunflower seeds: Despite the fact that salt has no effect on blood glucose levels, it’s nevertheless vital to limit your intake as part of your diabetes treatment because too much salt might cause your blood pressure to rise.

Slows glucose release in stomach

As, sunflower seeds are a great source of protein and fiber, it helps control blood sugar levels. The working mechanism of sunflower seeds is not yet completely understood, but it appears that they work by slowing the release of glucose from the stomach. This can help keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.

Sunflower seed health benefits beyond diabetes

Sunflower seeds, especially soaked, can aid with constipation by reducing intestinal dehydration. Sunflower oil is also good(GI 0) for the heart because it contains antioxidants that help reduce heart disease risk. Cooking with sunflower oil may serve to enhance digestion. The anti-inflammatory properties also aid alleviate pain and swelling in autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

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