Sunflower seeds, as the name suggests, are seeds of a sunflower. To be more precise, the fruits of a sunflower.
A sunflower contains about 1000 to 1500 fruits, these are the black clusters in the middle of the sunflower.
The black skin of the fruit is round on one side and tapered on the other. Without the shell, the kernels are typically cream colored.
Sunflower seeds are aromatic, taste sweet and slightly nutty. The sunflower seed oil is extracted from the kernels. While peeled seeds are mainly used as bird feed.
Seeds are harvested in September and October, but available all year round.
The seeds were initially used as an ornamental plant and it wasn’t until the 17th century that the fruits were used for baking or roasted as a substitute for coffee.
Today, there are huge sunflower fields in the US, Russia, China and all over Europe, which provide for new supplies of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
Sunflower seeds are healthy, affordable and can be used in many ways. You can eat them as a snack, use them for cooking or baking, or squeeze out high-quality oil.
Here's a quick overview of what's in this article:
There are 15 grams of fiber in 100 grams of our sunflower seeds. A very high and good value. It is advisable to consume enough fiber per day to boost digestion.
The high content of unsaturated fatty acids in sunflower seeds include linoleic acid, which lowers cholesterol level. 28 grams of sunflower seeds contain 8 grams of linoleic acid. There is also a high proportion of folic acid, the B vitamin important in pregnancy and breastfeeding women.
Sunflower seeds are a very good source of vegetable protein. They contain more protein than most meats. No wonder you can find them in the kitchens of many vegetarians and vegans.
The seeds contain important minerals like calcium and magnesium. If you have frequent leg cramps due to magnesium deficiency, try snacking on sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds are also rich in magnesium (336 mg), vitamin E (38.8 mg), vitamin B1 (1.9 mg), B3 (11.2 mg) and B6 (1.3 mg). Already 60 grams cover the daily requirement of vitamin B1. Iron, copper and zinc are also abundant in the cores.
There are also many vitamins in sunflower seeds. These include vitamins A, E, B and K. According to a WHO study, vitamin E deficiency is the main risk factor for heart attacks. People with low vitamin E levels are three times more likely to develop angina.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin A which strengthens eyesight, B vitamins provide strong nerves and help prevent heart disease. Vitamin D regulates the calcium metabolism; Vitamin K ensures good blood clotting.
Sunflower seeds have around 666 calories per 100 grams. If you sprinkle two tablespoons into your salad, that's around 200 calories.
They are also suitable as a topping on salads and popular ingredients in bread.
However, as with all foods, you should also pay attention to the right measure here:
Calories : 557 kcal / 2,334 KJ
Carbohydrates : 11.4 g
of which sugar : 2.9 g
Dietary fiber : 6 g
Fat : 47 g
Protein : 19 g
Omega-6 in sunflower seeds
It is important to know that sunflower seeds are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are not unhealthy but they need to be consumed with the right ratio to omega-3 fatty acids.
A ratio of 5:1 is recommended.
So, if you’re eating a lot of sunflower seeds, balance it out with omega-3 through fish, linseed or linseed oil.
Or you can mix flax seed, sunflower seeds with your muesli and linseed oil.
You can use sunflower seeds in a variety of ways, here are different ideas how to incorporate sunflower seeds into your meals:
As salad toppings, sunflower seeds are a real classic. Just sprinkle them over after tossing all your ingredients. Pumpkin seeds are also great additions to add crispness and nutrients to your salad.
With sunflower seeds you can pump up your breakfast cereal and make it healthier. Sunflower seeds are a valuable ingredient, especially for breakfast.
If you like porridge in the morning, you should definitely add sunflower seeds in them. They add a crunchy and slightly nutty component to the porridge and provide you with lots of nutrients.
Soups and stews can be refined by garnishing them with roasted sunflower seeds. Curry dishes, vegetable pans or quiches with sunflower seeds are even finer and more delicious.
You can mix the sunflower seeds in the batter or sprinkle over the bread before it gets in the oven. They add variety to the taste and add extra crunch.
The seeds also go well with sweet pastries like cookies, cakes, waffles and granola bars.
Sunflower seeds form an optimal basis for homemade vegan spreads. For this, puree soaked or boiled sunflower seeds with water, oil and spices.
Depending on your taste, you can add peppers, olives, eggplant, onions, horseradish or other tasty ingredients and season your spread.
For a quick and easy sunflower seed butter recipe, check out ourrecipe here.
Sunflower seeds are an everyday product. You can get them all year round in every supermarket and in excellent organic quality.
They are also available in health food stores andonline shops. They come in different varieties: roasted, salted and unsalted, peeled and unpeeled.
Compared to other nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds are relatively cheap, even if you choose organic quality.
It’s always good to look for organic sunflower seeds.
Because they are small and contain a lot of fat, sunflower seeds quickly become rancid when exposed to air and light.
Store them in cool, dry and dark places in airtight containers like metal cans or glass jars. Close opened packages well and use the rest as quickly as possible.
If stored correctly, sunflower seeds will last for a year. But if they have not been used for a long time, notice any smell or check if molds have formed.
Once opened, bags or cans are extremely attractive to insects. In this case, the seeds should be thrown out.
Sunflower seeds are a very good supplier of vitamin E which is considered the optimal anti-aging agent.
It has antioxidant effects, protects against wrinkles and makes hair shiny and beautiful. It also has a positive impact on cholesterol levels.
There are about 35 mg of vitamin E in 100 grams of sunflower seeds. This is twice what you need every day.
Sunflower seeds also contain a lot of calcium, which is important for bones and teeth.
Additionally, phosphorus plays a role in the energy metabolism of the cells and is part of the genetic material.
With 100 grams of sunflower seeds, you cover your daily needs of calcium and phosphorus.
With a good 6 g of iron per 100 g, sunflower seeds are essential for vegans, who are likely to be deficient due to lack of meat. Iron protects against anemia and exhaustion.
Sunflower seeds contain 100 micro grams of folic acid for every 100 g of seeds. This is particularly favorable for pregnant and breastfeeding women who have an increased need for folic acid.
If you tend to have leg cramps, you probably know the importance of magnesium; it helps muscles and nerves and prevents tension and cramps.
Magnesium is also important for the electrolyte balance and energy metabolism.
Sunflower seeds contain 350 to 400 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. This makes them one of the most magnesium-rich foods ever.
Sunflower seeds contain unsaturated fatty acids that strengthens the immune system, prevents inflammation and improves the conduction of stimuli between the nerve cells.
The special thing about these fatty acids is that they don’t produce cholesterol. Not that cholesterol is fundamentally bad itself, but today’s diet trends supply the body with too much of the less digestible LDL cholesterol.
This type of wax-like substance sticks on the inner walls of the blood vessels and contributes to vein blockage resulting in thrombosis, heart attacks or strokes.
The content of vegetable protein in sunflower seeds doesn't just beat the other seeds, even very high-protein meats and fish cannot keep up.
This makes sunflower seeds the perfect protein alternative for vegetarians, vegans and athletes.
Sunflower seeds have the same effect as chocolates. They both contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which boosts the mood.
Peeled sunflower seeds are ready to go over any salad, bread mixture, and other sweet and savory dishes. Depending on the recipe, you can also chop them with a knife or a chopper.
Simply take the seeds unpeeled anywhere as a snack! Enjoy a delicious nutty snack everywhere you go.
If you like roasted almonds, you'll love roasted sunflower seeds. Doing this in a coated pan without any oils, makes the taste of sunflower seeds even more intense. But be careful: seeds burn easily so keep your eye on the stove! Then transfer immediately to a plate so they don’t take any more heat from the pan.
You can easily caramelize the seeds by boiling them in little water and sugar. Once the water has evaporated, let the sugar caramelize until all the seeds are evenly browned.
Spread the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and let them cool.
Of course, you can grow sunflower seeds yourself.
But know that sunflowers need a lot of sun, enough water and loose soil rich in nutrients. They will thrive in these conditions and form beautiful large flowers.
Here’s how to harvest sunflower seeds: