3 benefits of sunflower seeds for your animals

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The small sunflower seed is a real concentrate of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber and other important nutrients like vitamin E and minerals.

The sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ) is one of the most important crops in the world. It has economic relevance since sunflower seeds are oilseeds. In other words, you can extract oil from it.

Traditionally, and apart from its nutritional value,  sunflower oil has been used for therapeutic purposes – in humans – in conditions such as colds, intestinal discomfort or rheumatic pain. In this article, we will explore the benefits of sunflower seeds for your pets.

Components of sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are one of the best sources of vegetable protein . Thus, their nutritional and functional properties have been widely studied.

Studies performed on this plant have established that 100 grams of sunflower seeds contain 20.78 grams of protein, 51.46 grams of total fat, 3.02 grams of powdery mildew, 20 grams of carbohydrates and 8.6 grams of fiber . This represents a total caloric or energy intake of 584 kilocalories / 100 grams.

In addition, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of minerals. The USDA (2019) has given the following composition. Each 100 grams of seeds contains in milligrams:

In addition, in its list of nutrients, sunflower seeds stand out as an essential source of vitamin E  (alpha-tocopherol) with 35, 17 milligrams / 100 grams.

Une cuillère de graines de tournesol

1. Vitamin E content prevents cardiovascular disease

Various scientific studies have shown that  phytochemicals in sunflower seeds, such as tocopherols and phenolic components, have potent activities as antioxidants. Therefore, these compounds can inhibit lipid oxidation. It also helps prevent cardiovascular disease as well as death from heart disease.

2. Sunflower seeds are beneficial for the coat and help heal skin lesions

Sunflower oil is a mixture, mainly of polyunsaturated fats, linoleic acid (59% in total), monounsaturated fat and oleic acid (30% of total). Linoleic acid belongs to the family of fatty acids classified as omega-6, while oleic acid is part of omega-9.

According to the scientific literature, these fatty acids can have important effects in fighting inflammation. It would depend on the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.

In 2001, experts tested the effect of diets supplemented with sunflower seeds on skin and coat conditions on 18 dogs. They found that  using sunflower seed supplements improved the coat of dogs.

These results are supplemented by the conclusions of other groups of experts which have been the subject of independent reports:

  • Five nutrients found in sunflower seeds improve the barrier capacity of the skin in healthy dogs
  • Sunflower oil supplementation is effective as an adjuvant in the treatment of  canine atopic dermatitis

3. Improvement of pancreatic activity

Diets high in sunflower oil have also been shown to induce a pancreatic reaction to food. More concretely, they increase the content of electrolytes and pancreatic enzymes – such as lipase- in the secreted juice.

This information can be useful in choosing the  most suitable nutritional therapy for dogs recovering from gastrointestinal illness.

Finally, the beneficial role of the consumption of sunflower seeds by our pets is beyond doubt. They provide them with energy, in addition to essential fatty acids, minerals and fat- soluble vitamins . In addition, they enrich the diet by contributing to the feeling of satiety, taste and palatability.