I enjoy snacking on sunflower seeds and often sprinkle them on salads.
So, I was curious about how healthy they are, and if they offer any health benefits.
I looked at what nutrients are in sunflower seeds, as well as, what medical professionals say about them, and here’s what I found.
Sunflower seeds are particularly high in the following nutrients:
- Fiber – 35% RDI
- Copper – 128% RDI
- Zinc – 35% RDI RDI
- Thiamin – 148% RDI
- Vitamin E – 89% RDI
- *RDI = recommended daily intake per 100g (half a cup).
Additinal health benefits include reduced inflammation, improved heart health, and natural support for your immune system.
In researching sunflower seeds I looked at all of the nutrients in sunflower seeds, and so below I will explain what they are, what vitamins are in sunflower seeds, and whether you can eat sunflower seeds raw.
What Nutrients Are in Sunflower Seeds?
I’ve been researching a bunch of different kinds of seeds and seeing what nutrients they are high or low in.
As well as, all of the nutrients that are in them.
Here’s what nutrients are in sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds contain significant amounts of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C
They also contain other beneficial nutrients but are in smaller amounts and only account for 5% or less of your recommended daily intake per 100g.
Here’s a table I put together that shows how much of each nutrient is found as a percentage of the recommended daily intake:
|Nutrient||% Recommended Daily intake per 100g (half a cup)|
|Fiber, total dietary||34.40%|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||1.56%|
As you can see, some nutrients are in significantly higher amounts than others.
Some also go over the recommended daily intake. They are:
The values are per 100g which is half a cup, and quite a large serving.
A small handful of sunflower seeds that an average person would consume is somewhere around one-third or half that amount.
Therefore, there is some risk of overconsuming certain nutrients.
Especially if you eat sunflower seeds everyday.
And when you take into account that the other foods you eat during the day also contain at least some of these nutrients.
So, in my opinion you should limit how much sunflower seeds you eat in a day to 30g to 50g – under a quarter of a cup.
But, that’s only if you eat sunflower seeds everyday.
If you rarely eat sunflower seeds it’s ok to go over that amount.
But, don’t consume a significant amount of sunflower seeds and too much of one nutrient can be toxic for your body.
Ensure you chew them well to get the most nutrients
Seeds in particular are prone to be swallowed whole as they are small.
When seeds aren’t chewed they can go through your digestive system without breaking down.
And when you poop, they will come out whole.
This limits how much of the nutrients are absorbed from your body.
As you may remember from science or maths class, there is what is called the surface area.
Chewed sunflower seed has more surface area because it’s all broken into pieces.
And therefore, the nutrients can dissolve and get absorbed by your body easier.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to crush or blend sunflower seeds and ensure you chew them thoroughly to get the most nutrients.
What Vitamins Are in Sunflower Seeds?
I’ve learned that vitamin C is very good for your health, and other vitamins are also essential to maintain good health.
So, I was curious about what vitamins are found in sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds contain the following vitamins:
- Vitamin C
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
The vitamins sunflower seeds do not contain are pyridoxal, cobalamin, biotin, vitamin D, K, and B-12.
Of the vitamins that sunflower seeds do contain some of them are in particularly high amounts relative to the recommended daily intake.
Here’s a table that shows the vitamins that are in high amounts, and how much of each is in sunflower seeds:
|Nutrient||% Recommended Daily intake per 100g (half a cup)|
The others are in much smaller amounts, under about 5% of your recommended daily intake.
According to Dr. Weil, a qualified doctor, thiamin is not harmful in large amounts.
It’s an accepted fact that excess thiamin isn’t absorbed by the body and comes out in your urine.
Medical professionals do agree that too much vitamin E, can cause blood thinning, which will cause excessive bleeding if you suffer an injury.
Half a cup of sunflower seeds contains about 90% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E.
So, it’s best not to consume a large number of sunflower seeds everyday.
How Are Sunflower Seeds Good for You?
I’ve heard that sunflower seeds have benefits for your health, and I was wondering exactly what they are.
I looked into various studies and how sunflower seeds improve your health.
Sunflower seeds are known to reduce inflammation.
Chronic inflammation leads to serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and asthma.
The nutrients in sunflower seeds also boost your immune system and increase your energy levels.
Sunflower seeds are particularly high in fiber, copper, zinc, thiamin, and vitamin E.
Here’s a table that shows the health benefits of these nutrients:
|Nutrient||What your body uses it for|
|Fiber||Good for digestion, and the health of your bowel.|
|Zinc||Healing wounds, your sense of taste and smell, good for the immune system, and your metabolism.|
|Thiamin||Involved in the flow of electrolytes, and maintains the health of your muscles, heart, digestive system, nerves, and brain.|
|Copper||Keep cells healthy, forms collagen, maintains the cells in your nerves, used to make red blood cells.|
Can You Eat Sunflower Seeds Raw?
I have been eating raw foods, and cooked foods because I’ve learned that some foods are healthier raw than cooked.
But, I was curious whether it’s fine to eat sunflower seeds raw or if they need to be cooked.
Here’s what I found.
It’s perfectly fine to eat raw sunflower seeds according to medical professionals.
Sunflower seeds generally have a better flavor when roasted.
Raw sunflower seeds are generally widely available in stores and online and can be consumed as they are without cooking.
Some people have said that you should dry or roast sunflower seeds to make it easy to remove them from the kernel.
However, sunflower seeds can easily be removed from the husk even when eaten fresh from the plant.
Here’s a video of a person eating raw sunflower seeds straight from a sunflower:
I also remember eating raw sunflower seeds straight from the flower as a child without any issues.
But, most people find that roasted sunflower seeds have a better flavor.
Whereas, raw sunflower seeds can be a bit bland.
On a side note, you can also eat papaya seeds raw.
I recently found out that papaya seeds are in fact edible and taste like peppercorns.
I discussed the nutritional benefits and how to use them in recipes in this article about the benefits of eating papaya seeds.
Do Sunflower Seeds Burn Belly Fat?
I’ve been putting on a few pounds here and there, and have been looking for ways to lose weight.
Sunflower seeds are quite healthy, but do they burn belly fat?
Sunflower seeds do not burn belly fat. But, they help burn belly fat.
Sunflower seeds are high in thiamin which is known to be good for your metabolism.
A healthy metabolism causes your body to be more efficient at burning fat.
So, it helps but doesn’t burn belly fat on its own.
And it’s a good idea to incorporate sunflower seeds into your diet if you’re trying to burn belly fat.
Sunflower seeds are particularly high in calories and contain 584 calories per 100 grams.
Most nuts and seeds have a much lower amount of calories and have in the range of about 100 calories per 100 grams.
So, it’s good to keep that in mind when incorporating sunflower seeds into your diet.
If you eat too many calories it creates an excess that your body stores as fat.
But, due to the high amounts of other nutrients in sunflower seeds, it’s recommended that you don’t consume more than about a quarter of a cup to one-third of a cup per day.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.