The sunflower is a plant native to America. With the discovery of the continent in 1492, the Spanish brought it to Europe and later it spread throughout the world.
It is called a sunflower because, during the day, it turns towards where the Sun is. Curiously, this happens while the plant is young, but once it has matured, it stops turning and always stays in the same position.
It is a plant with a thick stem and a very large and showy flower, although there are many varieties of sunflower: from the smallest, which can be grown in pots, to others that can reach between three and five meters in height.
For centuries the sunflower was an ornamental plant, that is, it was used to decorate. There are many varieties and, today, many of them are still grown for this same purpose. Others, on the other hand, are cultivated for food. The countries where the most sunflowers are produced are Russia and Argentina.
In the flower of the sunflower are the seeds, which we all know by the name of pipes. The seeds contain oil that is used for cooking because it is edible, it is extracted by pressing the seeds. It is a very healthy oil because it has a lot of fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals. Sunflower oil is the most widely used in the world. Margarines, soaps or beauty products are also made with it.
There are many types of pipes. The most common is to consume them as an appetizer, although they are also used for cooking, in salads, garnishes and in the preparation of bread. For this, it is necessary to roast them with or without salt. They also have many beneficial properties for the body and are high in vitamins, especially vitamin E. A moderate consumption of sunflower seeds helps keep the heart healthy, control cholesterol and prevent aging.
The countries where the most sunflower seeds are consumed are the United States and Spain.