Sunflower seeds are a healthful food and can be incredibly beneficial for your skin, heart, immunity, and general wellness. Sunflower seeds are popular for snacking directly from the bag and used in trail mix, multigrain bread, and nutrition bars. They include a variety of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, as well as advantageous plant chemicals.
For example, sunflower seeds are renowned for their excellent nutritional value and distinctive nutty flavor, which makes them an essential part of our diet. The yellow sunflower’s center contains where the seeds are located. They have a grayish-black color, but when you crack open the shell, you find a soft source that is white.
Sunflower Seeds Nutrition Facts
What are Sunflower Seeds Exactly?
Technically, the fruits of the sunflower plant are the sunflower seeds (Helianthus annuus). The plant produces substantial flower heads that can reach a diameter of more than 12 inches (30.5 cm), plucked for their seeds.
As many as 2,000 sources might be found in a single sunflower head. There are two primary sunflower crop kinds. One variety is raised for the edible seeds, while the other, the most widely cultivated, is presented for the oil. The hulls, often known as the black-and-white striped shells, that protect the edible sunflower seeds are inedible.
These feature solid black shells and are used to extract sunflower oil. Sunflower seeds have a challenging but soft texture and a moderate, nutty flavor. Although you can purchase them raw, they are frequently roasted to improve the taste. Low in carbohydrates and high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats are sunflower seeds. They make a nutritious snack and are beautiful additions to salads and other straightforward recipes because they are always available.
How Healthy are Sunflower Seeds?
Here are the health benefits of sunflower seeds:
Good for your Heart
Sunflower seeds contain heart-healthy minerals, including minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. According to research, a diet rich in sources may help maintain heart health and offer protection against heart disease.
Additionally, sunflower seed snacks may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A 2012 research of 22 women with type 2 diabetes discovered that consuming 30 grams of sunflower seed kernels daily for three weeks dramatically lowered blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
High in Antioxidants
The components in sunflower seeds, such as antioxidants, help to keep your body healthy.
These tiny seeds are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E, chlorogenic acid, and other substances.
Antioxidants aid in defending your cells from the deterioration that can cause disease. Antioxidant-rich diets are associated with a decreased risk of chronic illnesses. For instance, a 2018 assessment of 69 research discovered a link between increased blood levels and dietary intake of vitamin E and a reduced risk of cancer, stroke, and all-cause mortality. This implies that it might even lengthen your life.
May Help Promote Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
One of the most excellent strategies to maintain good blood sugar levels is to eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Protein, fiber, and magnesium are a few nutrients that are particularly crucial for controlling blood sugar.
These nutrients are abundant in sunflower seeds, which are a fantastic snack for those with and without diabetes. For a snack that’s good for your blood sugar, try adding sunflower seeds to a green salad or combining sunflower seed butter with apple slices.
Rich in Minerals
Essential nutrients like selenium, magnesium, zinc, and copper are abundant in sunflower seeds. Because these nutrients do so much for your body, it’s crucial to ensure you consume adequate meals high in minerals.
For a balanced immunological response, zinc is crucial, for instance.
Do you desire effective antioxidant enzymes? You do (hint: you do.) Selenium is important. Magnesium is a super mineral essential for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and a healthy stress response.
You can ensure that you regularly consume the appropriate amount of essential nutrients by including foods high in minerals, such as sunflower seeds, in your diet.
Convenient and Filling Snack
Due to their high protein, fat, and fiber content, sunflower seeds are both portable and filling. They are, therefore, a sensible snack if you’re rushing. Sunflower seeds have 5.4 grams of protein per ounce, which is a respectable amount for a plant-based protein source. Protein is the macronutrient that makes people feel the most full. They also contain beneficial fats and fiber, making them a balanced snack. Consider having a bag of sunflower seeds in your luggage or backpack, so you always have a nutritious choice.
Great for Detoxification
Magnesium concentration in sunflower seeds is well known, and the vitamin has the power to remove toxins from the body and push bacteria and germs out of cells. Magnesium can relax the nerves and may even aid with blood pressure control.
You can eat sunflower seeds that have been toasted as well. If you can’t persuade your palate to like these seeds on their own, you can add them to smoothies, cereal bowls, salads, and desserts.
While sunflower seeds are a healthy food, there are some risks that people should consider.
- According to research, some may experience severe hypersensitivity to sunflower seeds. People may have allergies to the pollen produced when sunflower seeds are harvested or have sensitivities to sunflower seed-based bird feed. Sunflower seeds may need to be avoided by some persons due to potential allergic responses.
- Occasionally, grown or purchased sprouted from a food store, sunflower seeds may contain dangerous bacteria that can increase. Salmonella outbreaks, which result in symptoms of food poisoning, have been linked to sprouted seeds.
- Sunflower seeds can provide several advantages when used in moderation as part of a healthy diet. They are a higher calorie food, though, with 584 calories per 100grams. People may want to limit their intake of sunflower seeds and include them in their daily calorie intake if they’re going to maintain a healthy weight.
How to Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are available both raw and roasted. They are available in their shell or as kernels (for people who like instant gratification) (for those who want a challenge). Both forms are suitable for snacking. However, you should buy the unshelled variety if you plan to use sunflower seeds in dishes, sprinkle them on salads, or combine them with other ingredients to produce a delicious trail mix.
Remember that salted or flavor-infused shelled, or unshelled sunflower seeds may contain a lot of extra salt. It’s vital to check labels because they may also list different substances like sugar.
Sunflower seeds have a mild taste and go with just about anything. Here are a few ways to use sunflower seeds in meals and snacks:
- Sprinkle-shelled sunflower seeds on your salad for a crunchy boost of fiber, fat, and protein.
- Make your sunflower butter by blending the seeds in your food processor.
- Add sunflower seeds to your oatmeal, yogurt, or chia pudding.
- Mix salted sunflower seeds, almonds, cacao nibs, and dried cherries for a salty and sweet trail mix.
- Use sunflower seeds in baked goods like muffins and bread.
- Top grain bowls and pasta dishes with salted sunflower seeds for a unique texture and taste.
Most sunflower seeds sold in stores are classified as “non-oilseed.” These striped black and white seeds come in a container to be eaten as a snack or added to other foods like bread.
It’s beneficial to carefully read the package label and check the ingredients when purchasing sunflower seeds (if possible). Despite simply selling the kernel, some packaging of sunflower seeds refers to the product as a “seed.” The hull has been mechanically removed from “sunflower kernels,” which you can purchase.
Raw, roasted, spiced sunflower kernels or whole seeds are available for sale. The nutritional composition is altered by the frequent salting of the grains or seeds. For instance, one ounce of salted seeds may have 45 mg or more of additional sodium; some brands even go as high as 186 mg. 13 You’ll eat more fat per serving if the seeds or kernels are toasted in oil.
How to Store Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds should be kept in an airtight container or resealable bag in an excellent, dry location from direct sunlight. They can be held in the kitchen or pantry, or you can store them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life.
- It can remain at room temperature for months without suffering significantly from quality loss as long as the bag is unopened. Sunflower seeds can be stored at room temperature after being opened as long as you don’t anticipate them persisting for extended periods.
- The general rule is that the more fantastic storage conditions are required for seeds to last a long time, the more treated the roots are. As a result, roasted sunflower seeds require better packaging than unroasted ones, and in-shell sunflower seeds need more robust protection.
- Of course, keeping the seeds in a freezer bag in the refrigerator or freezer would be ideal. This is because chilly temperatures shield the sources from rancidity, the most frequent reason for their decomposition.
- But unless you need those seeds to last months or have lots of room in the refrigerator, that’s not required.
- Finally, if you choose to refrigerate sunflower seeds, ensure they are kept in an airtight, tightly sealed container. Otherwise, they risk absorbing odors or moisture and becoming spoilt or unpleasant.
Despite their small size, sunflower seeds have some remarkable advantages. They contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. As a result, they might support heart health, healthy blood sugar levels, and prevent noon hunger.
Add sunflower seeds to your meals and snacks for a delightful vitamin boost. Sunflowers typically blossom in the summer, but whole sunflower seeds are readily accessible all year round in most markets due to their extended shelf life.
Sunflower seeds are a delicious complement to a variety of recipes as well as a nutty, crunchy snack. They include a variety of minerals and plant substances that could aid in the fight against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation. However, they are high in calories and, if consumed in excess, may cause unpleasant side effects.