Categories: DietsNutrition

Know the Benefits of Sunflower Seeds & Improve Your Diet


For individuals looking for a quick healthy snack, can adding sunflower seeds to one’s diet provide health benefits?

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are the fruit of the sunflower plant. They have been found to contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can help maintain immune system health, heart health, and more. Regularly grabbing a handful as a snack or adding to salads, oatmeal, baked goods, tuna salad, pasta, and vegetable toppings can help increase energy levels, reduce inflammation, and support general body health.


Sunflower seeds are beneficial for various bodily functions and protect against certain chronic health conditions. They can help with the following: (Bartholomew Saanu Adeleke, Olubukola Oluranti Babalola. 2020) (Ancuţa Petraru, Florin Ursachi, Sonia Amariei. 2021)


  • The seed’s high vitamin E value, combined with flavonoids and various plant compounds, can help reduce inflammation.
  • Research suggests that eating seeds at least five times a week may reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing certain diseases. (Rui Jiang et al., 2006)

Heart Health

  • They are high in healthy fats, like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
  • Plant sterols, or the natural compounds in sunflower seeds, are recommended for their cholesterol-lowering properties. (University of Wisconsin Health. 2023)
  • Data show sunflower and other seeds consumption may lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.


  • The seeds contain vitamin B, selenium, and protein, which can help energize the body throughout the day.
  • These nutrients support blood circulation, oxygen delivery, and food conversion into energy.

Immune System Support

  • Sunflower seeds contain minerals and nutrients like zinc and selenium that help the body’s natural ability to defend against viruses and bacteria.
  • These minerals translate into benefits like immune cell maintenance, inflammation reduction, infection protection, and an overall increase in immunity.


Individuals don’t need to consume a lot of sunflower seeds to gain the nutritional benefits. Inside is a well-rounded mix of healthy fats, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Inside a 1-ounce portion of roasted sunflower seeds/without salt: (U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2018)

  • Calories – 165
  • Carbohydrates – 7 grams
  • Fiber – 3 grams
  • Sugar – 1 grams
  • Protein – 5.5 grams
  • Total fat – 14 grams
  • Sodium – 1 milligrams
  • Iron – 1 milligram
  • Vitamin E – 7.5 milligrams
  • Zinc – 1.5 milligrams
  • Folate – 67 micrograms

Female Health

  • When it comes to female reproductive health, there are aspects that the seeds may be able to help support.
  • The seed’s rich amounts of vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, and healthy fats are crucial for fetal development and maternal health.
  • In addition, the seeds’ phytochemicals can support digestion and the immune system, which can be beneficial during pregnancy. (National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. 2021)

Male Health

  • Sunflower seeds can help males acquire protein for muscle-building.
  • As an alternative to meat, these seeds contain a healthy amount of plant-based protein without the additional saturated fat or cholesterol of meat.
  • A handful provides this nutrient for those who don’t get the daily potassium requirement. (Ancuţa Petraru, Florin Ursachi, Sonia Amariei. 2021)

Shelled Seeds and Salt Intake

  • Sunflower seeds naturally do not contain high amounts of sodium, but they are often packaged with added salt that can potentially sabotage their nutritional benefits.
  • The shells are usually coated in salt for flavor, as much as 70 milligrams for every 1 ounce of seeds.
  • High in calories, individuals should consider moderating portions to one-quarter cup and eating the unsalted varieties. (U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2018)

Other Ways To Incorporate Seeds Into Meals

Other ways to add sunflower seeds to meals include:

  • Sprinkling them on chicken or a tuna salad.
  • Salad topping.
  • Topping for cereal and oatmeal.
  • Mixing them into batter for baked goods, like cookies.
  • Adding them to homemade or grocery store trail mix.
  • Grinding the seeds for a flour coating for meat or fish.
  • Sprinkling them into vegetable dishes, casseroles, stir-fries, and pasta.
  • Sunflower butter can be an alternative to peanut or other nut butters.

Sports Injury Rehabilitation


Adeleke, B. S., & Babalola, O. O. (2020). Oilseed crop sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a source of food: Nutritional and health benefits. Food science & nutrition, 8(9), 4666–4684.

Petraru, A., Ursachi, F., & Amariei, S. (2021). Nutritional Characteristics Assessment of Sunflower Seeds, Oil and Cake. Perspective of Using Sunflower Oilcakes as a Functional Ingredient. Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(11), 2487.

Jiang, R., Jacobs, D. R., Jr, Mayer-Davis, E., Szklo, M., Herrington, D., Jenny, N. S., Kronmal, R., & Barr, R. G. (2006). Nut and seed consumption and inflammatory markers in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. American journal of epidemiology, 163(3), 222–231.

University of Wisconsin Health. (2023). Health facts for you: Plant stanols and sterols.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2018). Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted, without salt.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2021). Vitamin E: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2018). Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, toasted, with salt added.

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The information herein on "Know the Benefits of Sunflower Seeds & Improve Your Diet" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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