Sunflower seeds are a great plant-based protein source that provides essential nutrients for both vegans and omnivores. Although ‘fashionable’ seeds like chia and flax are contemporary darlings of the wellness world, the health-conscious should take another look at sunflower seeds.
The minerals and compounds within sunflower seeds work hard to enhance health. Inside sunflower seeds are nutrients which boost immune system health, bone strength, and brain function.1
In this article, we’ll explain how sunflower seeds can support you in a healthy diet and lifestyle. We’ll break down their nutritional highlights, so you can discover all the good stuff inside sunflower seeds and advise how to eat more. Finally, we’ll warn of any side effects.
Benefits of eating sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds may be small, but their health benefits are mighty:
Chronic inflammation is associated with age-related disease development.2 Sunflower seeds are full of antioxidants that help combat inflammation in the body.3
Better skin health
Sunflower seeds contain fatty acids which can reduce skin dryness and improve skin condition.4
Improved heart health
One scientific study showed that people at risk of heart problems who regularly ate sunflower seeds enjoyed better heart health than those who did not.5
Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is strongly associated with poor health outcomes.6 Scientific evidence suggests that those who incorporate sunflower seeds into a balanced diet enjoy lower blood pressure than those who don’t.7
Maintains regular blood sugar
Too frequent blood sugar spikes can damage blood vessels and affect the health of organs.8 Sunflower seeds can help to normalise blood sugar levels when eaten daily as part of a balanced diet.9
Sunflower seeds nutrition
A 35g portion of sunflower seeds contains10:
|Vitamin E||Copper||Vitamin B1|
|82% of RDA||70% of RDA||43% of RDA|
- Vitamin E consumption is associated with an improved brain, heart, and eye health11
- Copper helps the body produce blood cells, and blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body12
- Vitamin B1 maintains the health of the nervous system and helps the body process energy from food13
How to include more sunflower seeds in your diet
Sunflower seeds are a versatile ingredient, and you can often simply add them to your favourite dishes. Sprinkle seeds on soups, curries, and porridges to give an old favourite an extra nutrient hit.
Bakers could add seeds to bread and cakes for a delightful textural contrast. If you want a sunflower seed snack, roast sunflower seeds and then enjoy them on the go.
Sunflower seeds side effects
Sunflower seeds are an allergen which can cause skin irritation and respiratory difficulties.14 People allergic to peanuts and tree nuts are more likely to be allergic to sunflower seeds than others.15
Eating large volumes of sunflower seeds has been known to cause constipation.16 Reduce your likelihood of developing constipation by removing skins before consumption.17
Last updated: 15 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal