Sunflower seeds: how they are eaten and benefits

How do you eat sunflower seeds and what benefits do they bring to your diet?

I sunflower seeds they represent a very popular food all over the world. Consumed since ancient times, for a long time they were mostly chosen for feeding livestock, later finding great space also in the eating habits of human beings. Rich in nutrients useful for the body, so much so that they are considered as real super-foods, today they are in great demand on the market. But what are theirs property and, above all, which ones benefits do they contribute to the diet?

The great diffusion of sunflower seeds today derives above all from their low cost, as well as from the fast production thanks to the rapid growth of the appropriate crops. Here is some useful information.

What are sunflower seeds

As it is easy to guess, sunflower seeds are nothing more than the seeds produced by the homonymous plant: theHelianthus annuus. Belonging to the family of Asteraceae, this species is known not only for the high height of the stems and for the unmistakable ones yellow flowers, but also and above all for his own eliotropism. The sunflower is in fact able to orient itself in the direction of the sun, so as to maximize the spraying of light throughout the day.

However, a clarification is necessary: ​​those that are considered seeds in the common imagination are, in reality, the fruits of the plant. In fact, the large corolla of the sunflower produces acheni which, once ripe, are collected for animal and human consumption.

Sunflower seeds have a small size – between 5 millimeters and a centimeter – and a flattened drop shape. Their colors can be variable, from brown to black, although the most famous type is that of black achenes streaked with white veins.

These seeds are collected at the end of the maturation of the plant, about when the sunflowers begin to wither. The flower is then cut, the petals are removed and, with the help of special tools, all the achenes are extracted from the corolla.

Sunflower seeds: nutritional properties


Sunflower seeds, like pumpkin seeds, have very important ones nutritional properties, as they are rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals. First, one of the most common questions needs to be answered: how many calories are there in 100 grams of sunflower seeds?

For 100 grams of these seeds, they are counted approximately 660 calorie. It is therefore a very caloric food, even if it is difficult to consume such high doses in a single session. Typically, the daily intake does not exceed 10-20 grams.

For the same weight, 56 grams of fat, 20 of proteins, 17 of carbohydrates and well 10 of vegetable fibres. As for fats, most of this portion is made up of acids that are beneficial to the body, while the most harmful lipids are less than four grams.

On the other nutrient front, these seeds deliver sali minerals such as copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium and manganese. And they are also a useful concentrate of vitamins of group B, such as B5, B6, B9 – also known as folic acid – to which PP is added.

Benefits for the body of sunflower seeds


The incredible nutritional intake of sunflower seeds also explains the great ones benefits for the body. In addition to being a very tasty food, the sunflower seed is in fact also considered as a natural remedy. But what are the advantages it offers the body?

  • They reduce inflammation: since they are rich in antioxidants, and also with a medium intake of vitamin E, sunflower seeds can be considered an antioxidant food, like almonds. They therefore counteract the action of free radicals, slowing down the cellular aging process, and help the tissues to regenerate themselves from external attacks;
  • They help the heart: these seeds are also rich in minerals useful for the cardiovascular system, as well as Omega 3 and Omega 6. These are two essential elements to keep bad cholesterol under control, the main cause of all those ailments – some even particularly serious, such as heart attack – linked to the functionality of the circulatory system;
  • They improve digestion: the high fiber content can favor stomach emptying and, with it, faster intestinal transit. They can therefore be used to regularize the colon and fight occasional constipation;
  • They strengthen the mind: source of B vitamins, in particular folate, these seeds help the proper functioning of the brain. A constant intake improves work performance, concentration and reduces the likelihood of encountering episodes of anxiety or depression;
  • They prevent diabetes: again thanks to Omega 3 and 6, as well as fiber, sunflower seeds can help for a correct absorption of sugars in the intestine, thus reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sunflower seeds: they make you lose weight or gain weight

Weight scale

Noting the high caloric intake of these seeds, the question arises more than spontaneously: sunflower seeds make you lose weight or gain weight?

When analyzing the properties of a food, however, we should not stop at the information relating to calories. Although the intake per 100 grams of product is very high, so much so as to touch 700 calories, it is unlikely that similar quantities will be consumed in a single day. Remaining on 10-20 grams per day, within a healthy and balanced diet based on the Mediterranean diet, it is unlikely that sunflower seeds will have any effect on theexcess fat.

The discussion on weight loss is different. Since sunflower seeds have deflating properties and regularize the functions of the intestine, less simple sugars and fats will be absorbed, all to the advantage of the line. Of course, this is not a diet food strictly speaking, but an ally to be combined with a healthy diet, regular movement and continuous hydration.

How to eat sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds

Ma how they eat sunflower seeds? This food can be consumed in various and different ways:

  • Raw as a hunger-breaker snack, obviously after having shelled them;
  • Raw with other foods, for example in combination with yogurt, cereals, muesli, cheeses and fruit;
  • Toasted, both individually and as a finishing touch for baked goods such as biscuits, cakes and much more.

How many can be eaten a day

As already mentioned, no more than 10 or 20 grams of sunflower seeds should be consumed every day. How many seeds you should actually eat is difficult to establish, as it varies greatly from the size of the food you own, the species and the level of ripeness.

To orient yourself, you can take the measure of as a reference a cooking spoon every single day.

Raw or roasted: which to choose

Another common question is related to how this super-food is consumed. Which to choose between raw and roasted sunflower seeds?

In general, the raw variant, to take full advantage of all its nutritional properties. This is because many vitamins are thermolabile, therefore sensitive to the action of heat and may therefore no longer be available after roasting.

Contraindications of sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds

As a rule, sunflower seeds have no details contraindications, except for individuals who are hypersensitive or known to be allergic to Asteraceae. In the event of an allergic reaction, hives, skin rash, breathing difficulties and angioedema may occur, situations that require immediate medical advice.

The abuse of these seeds – therefore well over 20 grams per day – could facilitate theweight gain, but this is a very rare occurrence. Again, they are generally not recommended for younger children as, given their size, they may increase the risk of choking.

Source: GreenStyle by

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