Top 5 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

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What are Sunflower Seeds?

The sunflower seeds are the kernel of the sunflower (Helianthus annus). They were originally cultivated by natives of North America as a food plant. The seeds are still eaten raw, cooked, roasted, dried and/ground and also used to extract oil. They are one of the main sources of polyunsaturated oil. The roasted sunflower seeds were also used as a substitute for coffee. Sunflower seeds were eaten by natives of California, and often ground up and mixed with other seeds in Pinole.

The tear-dropped shaped black/greyish-green colored seeds are very nutritious and just a handful of these seeds can satisfy your hunger as well as benefit your health by supplying good amounts of vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, copper, potassium, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and niacin.

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Improves Immunity

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. It helps the immune system to function better. Sunflower seeds are rich sources of  vitamin E. The Europeans have used it as a remedy to cure lung-related ailments and also to treat infections like common cold and coughs. It was also used as a substitute for Quinine to treat malaria and have been used as a diuretic and expectorant.

Weight-loss Friendly

The sunflower seeds fall under the category of nuts that are extremely nutrient-dense and provide energy too. They can be a good health-promoting snack for those who intend to reduce weight. It is nutritious and also satisfies hunger. Sunflower seeds are good sources of dietary fiber. They have 8.6g of dietary fiber per 100 grams serving. A diet rich in fiber can help keep you satiated for longer hours and can prevent overeating as well as the hunger between meals. Thereby, it can contribute to weight loss.

Sunflower Seeds for Weight Loss

Rejuvenates Skin & Prevents Aging

Sunflower seeds are a very good source of vitamin C and E, the important nutrients that aid skin care and prevent aging. They are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals that damage skin. It also significantly improves parameters of the skin like wrinkles, skin texture and elasticity. By just munching on these seeds, your skin gets rejuvenated and you get an overall youthful appearance.

Aids Detoxification & Prevents Cancer

The sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E and selenium that are renowned for their antioxidant properties. Selenium induces DNA repair and DNA synthesis in damaged cells and thereby inhibits cancer cells to proliferate. It also induces apoptosis (the body’s self-destruction sequence that eliminates abnormal and worn out cells).

Controls Blood Cholesterol Levels

Among the commonly consumed nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds are the richest source of phytosterols. The plant sterols are compounds found in plants that have a structure that resembles cholesterol and when they are included in the diet, they could help reduce blood cholesterol levels. About 2 tablespoons serving of sunflower seeds contain 67 mg phytosterols that are highly recommended to lower LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Amongst the food sources that are commonly consumed as snacks, the sunflower kernels are the richest sources of phytosterols. Sunflower seeds are good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help control cholesterol levels and prevent the risk of heart disease.

Sunflower Seeds Control Blood Cholesterol Levels

Quick Tips to Include Sunflower Seeds in Your Diet

  • Just a handful of sunflower seeds- raw or roasted, can be munched at times of hunger pangs.
  • Garnish any kind of salads or dishes with these seeds.
  • Grind sunflower seeds into a fine powder to include in any of your dishes.



Fruit-flavored sunflower seeds & spinach salad

Nutrient rich salad enriched with cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 5 minutes 

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 10 ounces chopped spinach
  • 1 cup of assorted fruits: grapes, berries and 10-12 chopped strawberries.
  • 10- ounce orange/ grapefruit juice
  • ¼ cup chopped brazil nuts
  • ¼ cup raspberry vinaigrette (fat-free preferred)

Take a large bowl and toss all the ingredients one after another. Remember to wash the fruits and spinach before chopping. Mix well and serve.

Nutrition Facts for Sunflower Seeds

The nutritional values of "Sunflower Seeds" per 100 grams are:

Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 584
Protein 20.8 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 20 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 78 mg 7.8 %
Copper, Cu 1.8 mg 90 %
Iron, Fe 5.25  mg 29.17 %
Magnesium, Mg 325 mg 81.25 %
Manganese, Mn 1.95 mg 97.5 %
Phosphorus, P 660 mg 66 %
Potassium, K 645  mg 18.43 %
Selenium, Se 53 mcg 75.71 %
Sodium, Na 9 mg 0.38 %
Zinc, Zn 5 mg 33.33 %
Vitamin A 50  IU 1 %
Vitamin C 1.4 mg 2.33 %
Vitamin B6 1.34 mg 67.25 %
Vitamin E 35.17 mg 117.23 %
Vitamin K 0  mcg 0 %
Riboflavin 0.36  mg 20.88 %
Thiamin 1.48 mg 98.67 %
Folate, DFE 227  mcg 56.75 %
Niacin 8.34  mg 41.68 %
Sugars 2.62 g
Fiber 8.6  g 34.4 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 4.73 g
Carotene, alpha 0 mcg
Carotene, beta 30  mcg
Choline 55.1 mg
Lycopene 0  mcg
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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