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Veganismo: A Maneira Nobre de Viver

Wondrous Nature’s Gift: Radiant Sunflower, Part 1 of 3

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The sunflower is known as a happy flower and brightens one’s mood when in full bloom! Therefore, different cultures associate it with various positive meanings. As its sun-facing attribute resembles the longing to seek the light and the truth, the sunflower was revered by the Incas and the Aztecs. In Ukraine, it represents the power and warmth of the sun since pre-Christian Slavic times, therefore the sunflower has always been deeply embedded in their culture and honored as the Ukrainian national flower. In more recent times, it has also become a global symbol of solidarity with Ukraine in its struggle to defend the freedom of its citizens.

The flowers have dazzling color combinations and patterns, ranging from common yellow and orange to unexpected white, deep red, and purple. But they have one thing in common, they all have a sun-like appearance and attributes. The central disc of florets in the flower head resembles the shape of the sun; the outer petals are like the sun emitting energy and light. More intriguingly, the growth and arrangement of sunflower seeds follow the golden ratio and golden angle, which provide the maximum room for each seed to grow, resulting in a stunning aesthetic arrangement to accommodate about 1000 seeds on one giant sunflower head.

Sunflower seeds can be classified into oilseed and confectionery seeds. They enhance heart health as they are rich in unsaturated fatty acids that help to reduce “bad” or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and help relax blood vessels, thus controlling high blood pressure. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system.

Other than its nutritional and economic contributions, sunflowers also have amazing earth healing quality. After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, researchers noticed that sunflowers could absorb highly concentrated toxic heavy metals and clean up radiation from the ground and water at a high rate, which is much more effective than excavating and disposing of polluted soil to a hazardous landfill. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, hundreds of volunteers planted eight million sunflowers across the region to soak up radiation and at the same time bring smiles to the faces of passersby.
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