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Sunflower Seeds Health Benefits

Updated on January 3, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

About Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seed is an achene which is a type of simple fruit that contains one seed. So, sunflower seed, is actually a fruit of the sunflower, Helianthus annus.

Sunflower seeds are named after the patterns on their husks.

  • The full black husked seed is called black oil sunflower seed and is used for extracting edible, sunflower oil.
  • The striped sunflower seed is called confectionery sunflower seed or chocolate covered sunflower seed and is mainly used as food.

Sweet and nutty sunflower seeds are very popular as a healthy snack food. They are also used in garnishes, salads and can also be sprouted before consuming. They are available with and without the hulls. Sunflower seeds can be eaten roasted and are also sold as feed for pet and wild birds.

The seeds are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids particularly linoleic acid which constitutes about 68% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Sunflower seeds are low in saturated fats like stearic and palmitic acids.

Sunflower seed butter is a spread similar to peanut butter that is made by grinding the sunflower seeds in a blender to form a paste. It is an option for those who are allergic to nuts and therefore cannot consume peanut and peanut butter.

Source

Nutrition Facts - Sunflower Seeds

Consuming a handful seeds is a good way to ward off hunger as well as to get good amounts of vitamins and minerals.

  • Sunflower seeds good amounts of linoleic acid, the polyunsaturated fatty acid and good amounts of oleic acid, the monounsaturated fatty acid, and dietary fiber.
  • They are an excellent source of vitamin E providing about 234% of the daily requirement in 100 gms
  • They are high in energy with 100 gms of seeds providing 584 calories or about 20% of the daily requirement.
  • Sunflower seeds also are high in protein with 100 gms providing 37% of the daily value.
  • They have a low Glycemic index and are rich in the amino acid tryptophan.
  • Sunflower seeds are a rich source of polyphenols like chlorogenic acid, caffeci acid and quinic acid, the natural antioxidants.
  • They also contain incredible amounts of folic acid about 57% of the daily requirement.

Dried Sunflower Ready For Seed Harvesting

sunflower ready to harvest seeds
sunflower ready to harvest seeds | Source

Nutrition Facts - Sunflower Seeds

 
Sunflower seeds (Helianthus annuus), kernels, dried
 
 
Nutritional value per 100 gms
 
 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
 
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
584 Kcal
29%
Carbohydrates
20 g
15%
Protein
20.78 g
37%
Total Fat
51.46 g
172%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
8.6 g
23%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
227 micro gm
57%
Niacin
8.335 mg
52%
Pantothenic acid
1.130 mg
22%
Pyridoxine
1.345 mg
103%
Riboflavin
0.355 mg
27%
Thiamin
1.480 mg
123%
Vitamin A
50 IU
1.60%
Vitamin C
1.4
2%
Vitamin E
35.17 mg
234%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
9 mg
1%
Potassium
645 mg
14%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
78 mg
8%
Copper
1.800 mg
200%
Iron
5.25 mg
63%
Magnesium
325 mg
81%
Manganese
1.950 mg
85%
Phosphorus
660 mg
94%
Selenium
53 micro gm
96%
Zinc
5.00 mg
45%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Beta - Carotene
30 micro gm
--
Beta - Crypto-xanthin
0
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
0
--

Sunflower Seeds Health Benefits

To derive the maximum health benefits from sunflower seeds do not overindulge in them as they are high in energy and fats. Also, consume unflavored/unsalted sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds are functional foods meaning they protect the body against disease and are not just a source of nutritional value.

Some of the nutrients that contribute to sunflower seeds' health benefits are as under.

  • Fiber

The fiber content in sunflower seeds not only lowers cholesterol but also keeps the blood glucose levels under check. It also ensures digestive health and prevents issues like constipation, piles, hemorrhoids etc.

  • Vitamin E

The excellent levels of this vitamin makes it very effective at neutralizing the free radicals that when left unchecked can wreak havoc in the body. It prevents the cholesterol from getting oxidized, the cell membranes from getting damaged and has strong anti inflammatory benefits.

All this in effect results in reduction of asthmatic symptoms, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. vitamin E also reduces the risk of cancer especially colon cancer, reduces hot flushes during menopause. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease since it prevents atherosclerosis or plaque formation and thereby lowers the risk of heart attack.

Vitamin E keeps the skin healthy by protecting it against the harmful effects of UV radiation.

  • Phytosterols

Sunflower seeds have good amounts of phytosterols, about 270-289 mg/100 grams of seeds. Phytosterols are plant sterols that when present in diet serve to lower the blood cholesterol, raise the immunity levels and decrease the risk to a variety of cancers.

Chlorogenic acid reduces the breakdown of glycogen in the liver and therefore reduces blood sugar levels.

  • Magnesium

Magnesium levels are quite good in sunflower seeds with 1/4 cup providing about 28% of the daily requirements. This lowers the blood pressure, reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, reduces asthma as well as preventing migraine.

It keeps the bones strong and helps in maintaining the calmness and proper working of the nerves, blood vessels and muscles and maintains their strength and fitness.

It also prevents muscle soreness, cramps and fatigue.

  • Selenium

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds provide about 27% of the daily value of selenium. It protects against cancer and helps repair DNA in damaged cells. It also aids in the detoxification of the body.

  • Copper/Folic Acid

The excellent level;s of copper provides strength and flexibilty to the bones and joints as well as being a part of enzymatic functions.

Folic acid prevents neural defects in the growing fetus when given during pregnancy.

  • Minerals (calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium)

The various minerals that are found in appreciable amounts in sunflower seeds play a important role in enzyme synthesis, production of hormones, strengthening and formation of the bones, production of red blood cells, as well as controlling heart and skeletal muscle activities.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Sunflower Seed Cheese or Dip (Raw Vegan)

Sunflower Seed Patties

How to Make Your Own Sunflower Seed Butter

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Lol, Sunshine!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Sunflower seeds are delish! I add them to my cereal and salads every day. I like the flower too, just don't eat those :)

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by, heidi and thelyricwriter.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Rajan, I never knew that they had so many benefits, quite surprising to be honest. Well written and researched pal. Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared on FB.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Love sunflower seeds! Haven't had some in a while. Thanks for the reminder... and all the great info you share!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Au fait.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I love sunflower seeds alone as a snack and in tossed salads. Great information on the health benefits here.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Mycee,

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      hi rajan! another great and useful hub. one can really learn a lot from this.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Shai, glad you have this info now. appreciate your visit and comments.

    • shai77 profile image

      Chen 4 years ago

      Had no idea sunflowers could be so beneficial. I just knew they were delicious and a great little protein snack boost in the afternoons. Thanks for another great, informative hub. VU

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ hawaiianodysseus - I'm glad you like these healthy food hubs. Thanks.

      @ Devika - thanks for the continued support.

      @ Rasma - Sunflower oil is as healthy as the seeds themselves. Thanks for stopping by.

      @ ib - Not to worry if you are eating a good mix of healthy foods. The excess is stored or excreted depending on whether it is fat soluble or water soluble. Thanks.

      @ Peggy - the sunflower is a naturally beautiful flower and it is one of natures wonders that it always faces the sun. Appreciate the read and share.

      @ deergha - thanks for the visit and sharing.

      @ Arun - thank you.

      @ moonlake - thanks for the thumbs up and share.

      @ Joan - it's my pleasure and thanks for coming by.

      @ Anuram - thanks for the visit and sharing.

    • anuramkumar profile image

      anuramkumar 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Very interesting and useful article. Never knew sunflower seeds have so many health benefits. Voted up and shared.

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Love sunflower and other seeds. Yum. Thanks for letting me know hom much benefit I am getting from them too.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I love sunflower seeds and I really need to start eating more than I do. It would be a lot healthier for me. Thanks so much for the information. Voted up and shared.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      Thank you for another useful hub.

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Informative as well as very useful. Thanks for this one.

      Shares and votes all +++++

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      When I was growing up my grandfather had 2 big gardens. The one down in what we called the hollow was where he grew his potatoes. The borders of that garden were lined with sunflowers. I was fascinated as a kid watching the faces of the sunflowers during the day move and follow the sun. Am sure that the birds got most of those seeds and I believe that was my grandfather's main purpose in growing them. In the large garden nearer the house is where he grew the rest of his vegetables mixed in with flowers that repelled insects, etc. Great hub about the value of consuming sunflower seeds. UUI votes and definitely sharing.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Rajan

      The problem with eating these foods is that they fluctuate and so would your nutrition. Meaning you don't eat the same food or quantities everyday, but I guess we can meter that out.

      Thanks

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this informative hub on sunflower seeds. I haven't had them for awhile but used to love eating them raw. I use sunflower seed oil in salads. Passing this on.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      So brilliantly explained about sunflower seeds, the many helpful ways for ones health is very important. You have shared another informative Hub thanks.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Once again, rajan jolly, you've presented a wonderful combination of informative text, great pictures and charts, and helpful videos. Congratulations on a well-balanced and very interesting article, and thank you for your wonderful ministry of health and nutrition.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Carol - good to know you consume sunflower seeds regularly. Thanks for reading and sharing.

      @ Bill -thanks for the comments.

      @ ib - if you eat a combination of different foods like cereals, whole grains, seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, fruits and dairy and meat, you will get the needed RDA of not only B vitamins but all the nutrients. Thanks .

      @ John - thanks for your input. This is great info.

      @ Marlene - I do hope you try out the recipes. thanks for stopping by.

      @ Leptirela - thanks for this share. However, it is important not to gorge on seeds and nuts as they are high in calories and can cause weight issues.

    • Leptirela profile image

      Leptirela 4 years ago from I don't know half the time

      Definately voting UP. Useful information

      I eat a lot of dried fruits nuts and seeds and am breastfeeding at the moment baby is healthy Thank God ...Im doing something right..

      The negative... Its addictive :) Once I start I need someone to stop me munching :)

      Thank you for taking time to share with us this hub which Im sure hubbers/readers will find interesting. So little yet so Rich

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I enjoyed learning more about sunflower seeds. They are quite the seed to eat for good incorporation of protein. All of the recipes are great. I want to try the one by Jing Jong and the other one for sunflower seed butter looks time consuming, but really easy to do.

    • JCielo profile image

      JCielo 4 years ago from England

      Rajan, nice one! Full of great info. and well laid out as usual.

      I got a shock when I attended my first football game in Valencia, Spain. Whereas in the UK we tend to eat pies etc., there they were eating bags of sunflower seeds! Voted up and useful.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Rajan

      This is another great health hub of yours.

      I thought that I knew a lot about the sunflower seed but I didn't know all that was in the hub.

      I eat the sunflower seeds as a snack, I take a small handful and it gets me to the next meal.

      For me it would be helpful to show the list with a descending RDA, and the B numbers next to their names.

      Speaking of B vitamins which foods would you recommend to get the needed RDA?

      Thanks

      voted up and plus

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great job my friend. I do eat sunflower seeds but it is still nice to know the benefits from them, and you related those to us quite well.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I always have a bag of sunflower seeds in the house. I put them in salads and casseroles. I also just eat them out of the bag. Now I really feel good about eating them. Thanks for another rewarding hub. Voting up+++ and sharing.

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