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Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

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.

Nutrition Facts - Sunflower Seeds

Consuming a handful of seeds is a good way to not only ward off hunger but also get excellent amounts of several vitamins and minerals. They are excellent as a healthy snack option.

  • Sunflower seeds good amounts of linoleic acid, the polyunsaturated fatty acid and good amounts of oleic acid, the monounsaturated fatty acid, and dietary fibre.
  • 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, caffeic 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

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.

  • Fibre

The fibre 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, haemorrhoids etc.

  • Vitamin E

The excellent levels of this vitamin make 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 a 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 a 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 the 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 provides 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 levels of copper provide strength and flexibility 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 an important role in enzyme synthesis, production of hormones, strengthening and formation of the bones, production of red blood cells, as well as controlling the heart and skeletal muscle activities.

References

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.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 22, 2020:

Nuts and seeds are a must-have in our daily diet. Good to learn you include this in your everyday diet. Appreciate your reading and commenting on the hub, Chitrangada.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 21, 2020:

Excellent article about the health benefits of the sunflower seeds. We do include them in our daily diet.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful and detailed information.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 06, 2013:

Lol, Sunshine!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 05, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 05, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by, heidi and thelyricwriter.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on September 04, 2013:

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.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 04, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 16, 2013:

Thanks Au fait.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 16, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 15, 2013:

Thanks Mycee,

Life Under Construction from Neverland on February 14, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 14, 2013:

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

Chen on February 14, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 13, 2013:

@ 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 from Chennai, India on February 13, 2013:

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

Joan Whetzel on February 13, 2013:

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

moonlake from America on February 13, 2013:

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 CHATTERJEE from KOLKATA on February 13, 2013:

Thank you for another useful hub.

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on February 13, 2013:

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

Shares and votes all +++++

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 13, 2013:

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.

Brad Masters from Southern California on February 13, 2013:

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 from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 13, 2013:

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.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 13, 2013:

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

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on February 12, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 12, 2013:

@ 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 from I don't know half the time on February 12, 2013:

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

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 12, 2013:

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 from England on February 12, 2013:

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.

Brad Masters from Southern California on February 12, 2013:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2013:

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.

carol stanley from Arizona on February 12, 2013:

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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