“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ― Helen Keller
Sunflowers, a natural emblem of sunshine, are beautiful and happy flowers emanating with healing powers to uplift and inspire. A sunflower arrangement conveys joy and optimism throughout the tall and vibrantly yellow blooms. Along with cheery and ebullient energy, sunflowers are also plants with an interesting background and a myriad of health benefits. Here are some facts you might not have known about this flowering plant that’s loved for its cheerfulness.
Sunflower Oil for Cooking
In moderation, sunflower oil serves as a healthy source of fat, provides vitamin E, and is low in saturated fatty acids. Cooking with sunflower oil can lower your risk of heart disease, help maintain a healthy weight and strengthen your immune system. Naturally free of trans fats, sunflower oil is even a healthy substitute for butter (especially for baking homemade bread).
Sunflower Oil for Beauty
Sunflowers are rich in vitamins A, B, C and E. Not only is the sunflower amazing for the skin, but it contains powerful anti-aging properties that fight off free radicals for a toned and glowing complexion. Sunflower oil is a strong emollient that keeps hair moisturized and looking radiant.
Heliotropism is like solar tracking (also called phototropism), which enhances photosynthesis and boosts growth rates. With its sun-tracking characteristics, sunflowers are one plant species that face the sun and track its movement to optimize the use of light. Heliotropism also increases the flower’s temperature, attracting bees and pollinators.
Sunflowers bloom as bright rays of sunshine during the summer months in dry, wide-open environments. The sunflower’s native environments are prairielands, plains and meadows. The bright yellow plant may also grow as a weed in farming fields and pastures. They often grow along highway routes, speculated to be planted by truckers who eat the sunflower seeds to stay awake on the road and spit them from their windows.
Giant sunflowers can grow to reach amazing heights. With adequate care and moisture, along with full sun exposure, sunflowers typically grow to be an average height of 10 to 20 feet. The tallest sunflower in the world was measured at 30 feet and 1 inch. It was grown in Karst, Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany, on August 28, 2014, according to GuinnessWorldRecords.com.
Sunflowers bloom gorgeously and naturally make delightful aesthetics for floral craft projects, especially because their coloring varies from yellow and deep red to pale and dark orange. GardeningGuides.com provides a step-by-step guide for how to dry sunflowers using silica gel and crystals. Preserved flowers can be framed with other pressed flowers as a charming decoration with a vintage look.
American Indian tribes cultivated sunflowers as a common crop throughout North America. Evidence suggests that American Indians grew the crop in present-day Arizona and New Mexico around 3000 BC ― and may have even been domesticated before corn, informs the National Sunflower Association. Sunflower seeds were grounded into flour for cooking and mixed with vegetables. The sunflower was also turned into purple dye for textiles and body painting.
Black and stripe seeds are the only two kinds of sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil is made from black seeds (oilseed), whereas healthy snacks are made from striped seeds (non-oilseed). Black oilseed is typically the preferred type of feed for birds.
Source of Nutrition
Sunflowers produce nutrient-dense seeds, an excellent source of beneficial fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Salted, dry-roasted sunflower seeds, rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, are eaten as part of a healthy diet. Seeds can also be raw dried, oil roasted or unsalted, dry-roasted. Other forms of sunflower seeds include ground sunflower seed butter and sunflower seed flour. Add sunflower seeds to chicken or tuna salad, mixed-green salads or even scrambled eggs to add a unique flavor.