Alternative Health: Sunflower Seeds
One of the objections that some make about eating healthily is that it is too expensive. Granted, if you want to load up your basket with high end organic products at Whole Foods, you are going to pay a hefty price at the register. On the other hand, one can shop selectively at health food stores and actually save some money in the short run—and a lot of money in the long term because of fewer health problems (in–shaa’ Allah). Simply compare the cost of our food of raw sunflower seeds to eating the common snack of potato chips. Raw sunflower seeds go for about three dollars a pound. Now compare that with paying $2.50 for a ten ounce bag of Lays potato chips. This breaks down to about 13 cents an ounce for the raw sunflower seeds and twenty-five cents an ounce for the potato chips. The sunflower seeds are actually almost twice as cheap as the chips.
As for your typical potato chips, they are cooked in artery clogging oils and covered with earth salt. The excessive earth salt can cause numerous health problems . And if anyone rolls with me on our long road journeys, they know my rule: “No chips on the trip.” At least for those who are over 30, the sitting for lengthy stretches with very little movement causes the salt to accumulate in the joints and in the kidneys. More than once, we have experimented with chips while on the road, only to stumble out of the vehicle feeling like old men with stiff knees and sore lower backs (from all the salt sitting in the joints and the kidneys).
As for sunflower seeds—and I am talking about raw sunflower seeds, and not those which are cooked in the same artery clogging oils or covered in earth salt (or those various “flavored” sunflower seeds we now see) that potato chips are typically cooked—they are loaded with healthy nutrients. Those nutrients include: oleic acid (what is called “good cholesterol”), vitamin B, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper. Sunflower seeds are also very high in vitamin E. For those trying to reduce the amount of meat in their diets, sunflower seeds are packed with protein. Raw sunflower seeds also make one feel full quicker than eating many of the typical snack foods available.
Lastly, if one wants to maximize the benefits of sunflower seeds, place the hulled seeds in a bowl and sprinkle some spring water over them the night before. What will happen is that the seeds will start to undergo the sprouting process and this unleashes even greater nutritional benefits. Furthermore, such seeds are easier to chew and to digest. And if you wish to take it a step further, you can grow the sprouts in a tray of soil and then eat them as sunflower greens. They become transformed into spicy little dynamos of nutrition that are definitely worth adding to your salads or to other meals! For more info, one can check out the following on the benefits of sunflower seeds: