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Amazing Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

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Amazing Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

4 min read


There are ample numbers of nutritious seeds available. One such seed is the sunflower seed. Read this article to know more about it.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At March 26, 2019
Reviewed AtMarch 27, 2024


We should consider ourselves lucky since there are ample numbers of nutritious seeds that are commonly available in the household these days. One such seed with various benefits is the sunflower seed. Quite surprisingly, people ignore the benefits of sunflower seeds, which could be easily sprinkled over the favorite fruit or even added to granola bars. They can even be roasted and consumed as they have a lovely nutty texture.

What Are Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are harvested from the sunflower head. They are white with a tender texture enclosed in a shell with black and white stripes. There are three types of sunflower seeds: linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. The levels of unsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats depend on the seed variety.

What Are the Benefits of Sunflower Seeds?

  • Protect Against Heart Diseases: Sunflower seeds are heart-friendly as they are a rich source of magnesium. Now, what magnesium does is increase blood flow by inhibiting the enzymes that are responsible for the constriction of blood vessels, thus preventing high blood pressure in individuals. This way, various heart diseases like atherosclerosis and heart attack are prevented.

  • Decreases Bad Cholesterol: Having sunflower seeds daily also helps to decrease bad cholesterol levels like very low-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein in the blood, thus preventing various heart diseases and clot formation in the arteries and blood vessels.

  • Prevents Diabetes: Individual may wonder how is it possible to prevent diabetes by consuming these seeds, right? Well, first of all, these seeds contain an amazing and magical compound called chlorogenic acid, which helps prevent the occurrence of diabetes, especially type two diabetes. So do not forget to include these magical seeds in the diet.

  • Reduces Inflammation: Short-term inflammation is a part of the defense mechanism, but long-term inflammation is harmful as it increases the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. Quite amazingly, regular consumption of these seeds would help one to reduce the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood because of the vitamin C and selenium content in sunflower seeds. Selenium and vitamin E both function as antioxidants and are also very good for the skin health. Many skin products have Vitamin E and Selenium content in them, and one of the main ingredients added that one would find in beauty and skin products is sunflower seeds.

  • Supports Immune System: Sunflower seeds support the immune system as they are a source of vitamins and minerals. The minerals like zinc and selenium are to be noted specifically. Zinc prevents inflammation, allergies, and invading microorganisms, thereby preventing infections and boosting overall immunity. Selenium works on reducing oxidative stress from free radicals. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that adds a boost to the immune system by performing immune functions against pathogens and preventing healthy body cells from oxidative damage.

  • Acts on Nerves, Muscles, and Bones: We already know sunflower seeds are a rich source of magnesium. The same concept works out on nerves, muscles, and bones. Magnesium is essential for energy production and strong bone formation. Magnesium also stays on the bone surface for future use. It further helps in regulating the muscles and neurons as it can work as a calcium counter balancer.

  • Anti-cancer: Beta-sitosterol is a chemical compound found in sunflower seeds that is found to prevent breast cancer as it can reduce the size of the tumor and growth of tumor cells, and prevent metastasis. Sunflower seeds are stated to reduce cancer generally due to the presence of strong antioxidants in them.

  • Anti-diabetic: We all are aware of the two types of diabetes mellitus: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is due to a defect in the pancreas secreting insulin. Type 2 occurs when our body cells do not respond to the insulin being produced. Sunflower seeds are best at treating type 2 diabetes mellitus, where the individual may experience increased hunger, thirst, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and frequent urination. The anti-diabetic effects of sunflower seeds are due to the presence of fibers, proteins, selenium, zinc, and other antioxidants.

  • Improve Energy Levels: Sunflower seeds aid in improving our energy levels due to the presence of high protein, vitamin B, and selenium. Vitamin B 1 or Thiamin can turn food into energy and can enhance the energy levels of the individual. Selenium improves energy levels by promoting blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body.

  • Acts Against Gout: Sunflower seeds can treat gout due to their anti-inflammatory properties. There are studies showing sunflower seeds reduce ankle swelling in acute gout inflammation. They can also treat hyperuricemia and gout arthritis as they are pharmacologically strong as well.

What Are the Nutritional Content of Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds boast high protein content and are abundant in beneficial fats, along with antioxidants that may reduce the risk of serious health conditions. Additionally, they provide significant amounts of essential nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin E.

  • Vitamin B1.

  • Vitamin B6.

  • Iron.

  • Copper.

  • Selenium.

  • Manganese.

  • Zinc.

  • Potassium.

Nutritional Content per Serving: As per the USDA data, a quarter cup of unsalted dry roasted sunflower seeds provides:

  • Energy: 207 calories.

  • Protein: 5.8 grams.

  • Fat: 19 grams.

  • Carbohydrates: 7 grams.

  • Dietary Fiber: 3.9 grams.

Serving Sizes: Although sunflower seeds are nutrient-dense, they are also calorically dense. Therefore, it is recommended to limit servings to a quarter cup per sitting. To help control calorie consumption while snacking, some people prefer eating sunflower seeds in their shells, as the process of cracking them open and discarding each shell slows down the eating pace. However, it is important to note that sunflower seed shells are often salted, containing approximately 70 mg of salt per 1 ounce of seeds. If individuals are monitoring their salt intake, opt for unsalted sunflower seeds and practice portion moderation.

What Are the Ways to Consume Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are commonly available in their shells and are consumed either roasted or raw. When eating shelled sunflower seeds, individuals need to crack them open using their teeth and discard the shell, which is not edible. To crack the shell, position it vertically or horizontally between the molars using the tongue. Apply pressure on the teeth to crack the shell and separate the seed. Spit out the shell and consume the seed. There are various ways to include sunflower seeds in the meals:

  • Sprinkle them on salads.

  • Add them to the trail mix.

  • Stir them into oatmeal.

  • Sprinkle them over stir-fried dishes or mixed vegetables.

  • Incorporate them into veggie burgers.

  • Mix them into baked goods.

  • Use sunflower butter as a substitute for peanut butter.

  • Cook with sunflower oil as an alternative to other cooking oils.


These are some of the lovely benefits of sunflower seeds, but always remember to avoid consuming them if one have kidney problems since the seeds are rich in sodium and cadmium, which are not good for kidney disease. Also, consuming these seeds in a very high amount could be harmful to the kidneys. So always remember that moderation is the key.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Happens if You Eat Sunflower Seeds Every Day?

Sunflower seeds can be eaten daily; however, excess consumption can lead to vomiting, stomach ache, constipation, rashes, breathing problems, swelling and itching around the mouth, etc. In addition, sunflower seeds are high in calories and excess consumption may lead to weight gain. Sunflower seeds should hence always be consumed in moderation.


How Many Sunflower Seeds Should One Eat a Day?

Having 30 grams of sunflower seeds per day is considered normal and healthy. Overconsumption of sunflower seeds could be dangerous and affect your heart and kidneys. It could also lead to issues like weight gain.


Why Are Sunflower Seeds a Superfood?

Sunflower seeds are considered a superfood because of the health benefits they offer. Sunflower seeds help in -
- Protection against heart diseases.
- Decreasing bad cholesterol levels.
- Preventing diabetes.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Improving immunity.
- Increasing energy production and strong bone formation.
- Has anti-cancer properties. 
- Preventing diseases like gout.


What Are the Disadvantages of Eating Sunflower Seeds?

Excessive consumption of sunflower seeds may cause problems with excessive phosphorus intake, which may lead to the calcification of non-skeletal tissues and kidney damage. Selenium toxicity can cause symptoms of selenosis, including brittle hair and nails, skin rashes, fatigue, and irritability. It could also cause severe weight gain.


Do Sunflower Seeds Help You Sleep Better?

Sunflower seeds are rich in tryptophan (proteins or chemicals) that help to promote better sleep. On consuming sunflower seeds, tryptophans get converted into serotonin when it enters your body. Serotonin is a feel-good hormone released by the brain that helps the person feel calm and relaxed, improving the quality of sleep.


Is Sunflower Seeds Good for Sperm?

Yes, sunflower seeds are proven to be beneficial for male sperm. Sunflower seeds contain an abundance of vitamin E, folate, zinc, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. All of these are helpful for male fertility. It also helps boost sperm motility and sperm counts and enhances sexual functions.


Is Sunflower Seeds Good for Hair?

Sunflower seeds are good for your hair. These seeds are rich in vitamin E, selenium, phosphorus, folate, zinc, omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and gamma-linolenic acid that reduces frizz, acts as a natural hair conditioner, prevents hair fall, and promotes hair growth. It also helps provide hydration to your strands and repair damage, making them healthy and strong.


Are Sunflower Seeds Good for the Brain?

Yes, sunflower seeds are associated with improved brain function. Sunflower seeds are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which prevent you from effectively utilizing omega-3. Studies show that omega-3 is essential for good brain functionality and heart health. It also decreases inflammation and improves hormone response. Unsaturated fatty acids also have positive effects on improving memory function and enhancing thinking ability.


Why Are Sunflower Seeds So Addictive?

Sunflower seeds contain essential minerals and vitamins required for the normal functioning of various organs in the body. People lacking those minerals and vitamins might feel a sense of craving for the foods that contain them. The salt content in sunflower seeds may also be an additional factor to cause addiction and overconsumption. Eating sunflower seeds can trigger the release of dopamine (a brain chemical) that makes you feel pleasure.


Can Sunflower Seeds Be Eaten Raw?

Yes, sunflower seeds can be eaten raw. Some people prefer roasted sunflower seeds marinated with different spices and salt, while others prefer to have them raw. Both ways, sunflower seeds prove to be healthy. Raw sunflower seeds should be refrigerated for preservative and food safety concerns.


What Are the Pros and Cons of Sunflower Seeds?

Pros -
- Prevents heart disease and diabetes.
- Improves hair quality and promotes healthy and glowing skin.
- Enhances sexual functions in males as well as females.
Cons -
- Stomach ache.
- Vomiting.
- Weight gain.


Are Sunflower Seeds High in Vitamin D?

Although almost all nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, offer nutritional benefits. However, they do not contain vitamin D. Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts or filberts are the richest sources of vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E and omega acids, improving the quality of hair, nails, and skin with other health benefits.


Do Sunflower Seeds Burn Belly Fat?

Sunflower seeds are not the best way to burn belly fat. But they can help with it. Sunflower seeds are high in thiamin, which is good for your metabolism. A healthy metabolism causes your body to be more efficient at burning fat. So, it helps but does not burn belly fat on its own.


Why Do Men Eat Sunflower Seeds?

- To jumpstart sexual desires.
- To improve sexual functions.
- To improve sperm motility.
- To increase sperm count.
- To boost energy levels.
- As a source of protein after heavy workouts.
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Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina



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