Sunflower Seed Health Benefits, Nutrition and Seed Facts

Health Benefits of Eating Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are famous for their omega-6 and vitamin E. Besides, they also contain good amount of protein, selenium, folate, magnesium, copper and other useful nutrients. Read on to find out sunflower seed health benefits and what they are good for.

  • Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

    Health properties of sunflower seeds start with the rich content of vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant to avoid cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals. Oxidized cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis by sticking to blood vessel walls and contributes to more severe complications such as stroke and heart attack. Every 100 g of the nutritious seeds supply 35.17 g of vitamin E.
  • Aid in Lowering LDL Cholesterol

    Sunflower seeds are a great source of linoleic acid or omega-6, an essential fatty acid that is useful to reduce the bad cholesterol and promote good cholesterol in your body. It protects you against coronary artery disease.
  • Protein Powerhouse

    High protein content is also a health purpose of eating sunflower seeds. They provide 21 g of protein in every 100 g seeds. Protein is a vital building block for skin, blood, muscles, bones and cartilage.
  • Fight Cancer

    Sunflower seeds are loaded with selenium. Scientific studies have shown that enough intake of diet with selenium helps reduce the risk of cancer. A cup of the seeds will give you 30% RDA of selenium. Besides, vitamin E that is found abundantly in sunflower seeds is wonderful to protect you against colon, prostate and bladder cancer.
  • Lower Risk of Birth Defects

    The health facts of sunflower seeds continue with its substantial amount of folate or vitamin B9. Each 100 g of the kernels is found to contain 227 mcg or 37% RDA of folate. Vitamin B9 is important for DNA synthesis and to avoid neural tube defects in the newborns.
  • Improve Bone Health

    Apart from the many health advantages mentioned earlier, sunflower seeds are also packed with minerals like magnesium and copper. Magnesium is a nutrient needed for a strong bone structure while copper is crucial for flexibility and strength in joints and bones. 

Facts about Sunflower Seeds

Striped Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower (scientific name Helianthus annuus) seeds come from sunflower, a large plant that is originated from North America. Sunflower seeds are eaten as a snack by many people, and they are nutrient-rich dietary supplement. The seeds are also made into sunflower seed butter. For those who cannot consume peanut butter, roasted sunflower seed butter can be an excellent alternative. Besides human consumption, the seeds are also mixed with other seeds to make bird feed. You can buy shelled or unshelled sunflower seeds in most markets.

The seeds are available in black, white or striped husks, and the striped one is the most commonly consumed. When cracked open, you can see a small kernel with the size similar to a pinky nail. Sunflower seeds have a nutty flavor and creamy white color. Usually seeds that are cultivated for culinary purposes contain less oil compared to those grown for oil. 

Sunflower Seed Nutrition Facts and Calories

Nutritional Value of 1 Cup (46 g) Dried Sunflower Seed Kernels
Calories 269 kcal
Total Fat 24 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 10 g


Sunflower Seed Recipe

Sunflower Seed Bar Recipe

Make: 36 bars

  • 2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 3 cups sunflower kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix the coconut, sunflower seeds and rice cereal in a bowl. Combine corn syrup and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring the syrup to a boil and continue to boil for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter. Stir until fully mixed. Pour the seed mixture over, and stir until well coated. Place and push into an oiled 13 x 9-inch pan. Cut into bars after cooled. 

Sunflower Seed Side Effects

Eating a large quantity of shelled sunflower seeds may cause tooth damage. Consume just handfuls of the seeds can also lead to excessive calorie intake.

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Health Benefits of Seeds

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