A Complete Guide to the Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Reviewed by Carolyn Nicholas, FDNP Written by Our Editorial Team
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Sunflower seeds are full of benefits. While we wish we could simply leave it at that, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t tell you more about the health benefits that sunflower seeds provide. 

Sunflower seeds are tasty, healthy, small, and, best of all, cheap. If you can manage to substitute them for junky snacks like buttered popcorn or chips and candy, you will begin to feel so much better, both physically and mentally. 

While sunflower seeds are powerful, they aren’t magical. It’s important to remember that a healthy lifestyle includes daily movement and diet. That said, sunflower seeds can be beneficial in supporting your overall health. 

Below, you’ll find our complete guide on the health benefits of sunflower seeds, as well as where exactly they come from, how they can support your heart and immune system health, and some tasty suggestions for ways to consume them. 

What Are Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are, well, the seeds of a sunflower. Sunflower seeds gained popularity in the 1950s and have become a staple in the United States as a good source of healthy fats. 

Sunflower seeds are traditionally roasted or seasoned for flavor but can be consumed raw. They have a subtle nutty flavor and can be eaten in abundance. 

Sunflowers are also commonly harvested for their oil, another popular ingredient full of beneficial plant compounds.

What Are the Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds?

From lowering blood pressure to reducing swelling in the body, sunflower seeds pack a powerful punch of fiber and fatty acids. Considering their small size, sunflower seeds have a surprising number of health benefits that you may not know about.

Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause serious health complications such as a stroke or a heart attack. Sunflower seeds contain a compound that helps lower the force of blood against your arteries, known as blood pressure. Sunflower seeds also contain significant amounts of magnesium which helps support healthy blood pressure. 

Other key nutrients in sunflower seeds include manganese, calcium, and phosphorous, all of which work together to support a healthy heart. When your blood pressure is at a healthy level, your risk of heart disease goes down as well.

Vitamin E

Sunflower seeds have an abundance of vitamin E. As an antioxidant, vitamin E plays a vital role in helping protect your cells. Antioxidants play a huge role in defending your body against oxidative stress, which is crucial since oxidative stress is a major contributor to chronic disease. 

Vitamin E can also aid in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, including decreasing your risk of stroke and heart attack. 

Additionally, the consumption of vitamin E has been shown to decrease inflammation. This is because vitamin E in sunflower seeds works as an anti-inflammatory compound that helps reduce inflammatory proteins in the body. 

Immune System

Sunflower seeds have a lot of zinc and selenium, two vital pieces of our immune system. Zinc helps by maintaining cells that fight off illnesses, while selenium can fight an active infection and help boost immunity. 

Both minerals are essential, and both can be found in sunflower seeds. If you aren’t already surprised by the number of health benefits sunflower seeds have, there are plenty more! 

Energy Levels

Because sunflower seeds have such high levels of protein, roughly 25.5 grams per 100 grams specifically, your energy levels are already getting a significant boost. However, sunflower seeds also contain many vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate, which help your body convert food into energy. 

Sunflower Seeds as Snacks

Roasted and seasoned sunflower seeds are a great-tasting snack. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might find it difficult to put unhealthy snacks away, like chips or candy. 

We encourage you to try sunflower seeds with a special seasoning, such as cajun or parmesan garlic. While these seasonings admittedly make sunflower seeds a little less healthy compared to raw ones, they’re still a much better alternative to junk food. 

Are you watching a movie or your favorite show? Sub out the buttery popcorn for a small bowl of sunflower seeds. Are you going for a long car ride? Don’t stop at a gas station for a bag of chips; bring sunflower seeds with you instead. 

All of these details might seem minor, but they can go a long way in helping you with your health journey. 

Even if your primary health goal isn’t to lose weight, you should still give sunflower seeds a try. They have so many benefits and can do various great things for your body. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Sunflower Seeds?

Be mindful that one cup of sunflower seeds, about 128 grams, equals 745 calories. This is a pretty high number, but remember that a cup of sunflower seeds is a lot, and you’ll probably be closer to eating ¼ cup at a time, especially if you’re buying a little pack of seeds from the gas station. 

Packaged sunflower seeds are also high in sodium, so watch out for that as well. 

Additionally, consumption of the shell of sunflower seeds, even unintentionally, can cause a blockage in bowel movements. 

Be aware of how much you eat. Sunflower seeds have so many health benefits but should not be over-eaten. They’re a great alternative to crunchy junk food and will go a long way in making you be and feel like a healthier person.

That was a lot of benefits! If you’re thinking about trying sunflower seeds, there is something important that we left out: you don’t have to eat them by themselves! A lot of people prefer them alone, roasted, and seasoned. However, there are plenty of other ways you can reap the benefits of sunflower seeds without eating them by themselves. 

How Can I Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Just as there are a lot of health benefits, there are even more ways you can eat sunflower seeds. Here are our favorite ways to eat sunflower seeds in different meals and snacks. 

  • Salads: Sunflower seeds make for a super healthy addition no matter what you like in your salad. You can sprinkle them into any salad recipe as their flavor matches well with most dressings and toppings. 
  • Cereal: The same thing goes for cereal as it does for salads. You can add sunflower seeds to many healthy kinds of cereal as a topping to get your required nutrients to start your day. 
  • Trail Mix: One of the more classic meals that sunflower seeds are included in, trail mix also has various other nutrients from ingredients like nuts. 
  • Yogurt: Another classic, sunflower seeds add a tasty and healthy kick to any yogurt or parfait. 
  • Granola: Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, granola bars with sunflower seeds are awesome for your health and your energy levels. 

Sunflower seeds are nutritious, rich in vitamins and minerals, versatile in meals, and, most importantly, delicious. They would be a welcome addition to any diet, no matter your health goals. Just watch out not to overeat as they are high in calories and sodium. 

Remember that sunflower seeds won’t allow you to achieve your health goals instantly. They are undeniably amazing, but a healthy lifestyle means daily movement and a good diet for results over time, and that’s where Able can help. 

What Can Able Do for Me?

Able is a health application that can help with your health needs, from weight loss and gain to dieting. Able is your assistant for anything and everything health-related. 

Movement routines. Food suggestions. Motivation. Whatever it is that you need to succeed, Able can provide you with the necessary tools.

Big lifestyle changes can be overwhelming. You may not know where or how to start. It’s never easy, but Able will help make it as simple as possible. All you have to do is sign up, enter your personal health information, and start changing your lifestyle for the better. 

With Able, you can become a happier and healthier version of yourself and so much more!

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