Sunflower Seeds

By Alyssa Morlacci
Updated on 14. Sep. 2020

While sunflower seeds are tiny, they're packed with power! Did you know that 100 grams of the crunchy kernels is packed with more protein than a steak? Read more about the benefits of the delicious seeds here.

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Sunflower seeds...

  • ... keep your skin beautiful. Vitamin E is a perfect anti-aging remedy that protects the skin from wrinkles. Sunflower seeds contain a large amount of vitamin E — as little as 50 grams covers the average daily requirement.
  • ...are packed with protein. The vegetable protein in sunflower seeds not only beats other seeds, but even very protein-rich meat and fish cannot compete. This makes sunflower seeds the perfect food for vegetarians, vegans and athletes.
  • ...contain many vitamins. Although the quantities aren't huge, the mix of vitamins in sunflower seeds is good for your health. While vitamin A makes the skin beautiful and strengthens vision, B vitamins ensure strong nerves. Vitamin D regulates calcium metabolism, and vitamin K ensures good blood clotting.
  • ...protect the heart and blood vessels. The fat contained in sunflower seeds consists of 90 percent unsaturated fatty acids. This is a plus for the blood vessels and the heart because these fatty acids keep the cholesterol level in a healthy balance and prevent harmful deposits.
  • ...strengthen bones and teeth. Sunflower seeds can score points with calcium — the mineral protects the teeth from periodontosis and the bones from osteoporosis.
  • ...make you fit. With 420 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams, sunflower seeds are the best supplier of this mineral after wheat bran. Magnesium plays an important role in the function of nerves and muscles.
  • ...promote blood formation. With a good 6 grams of iron per 100 grams, sunflower seeds are an insider tip for vegetarians who might suffer from deficiencies due to the lack of meat in their diet. Iron protects against anaemia and states of exhaustion.
  • ..taste great with almost anything. Whether raw or briefly roasted in a pan, whole or chopped, sunflower seeds can be used to spice up muesli, sandwiches, herb curd cheese or salads, as well as vegetable and rice dishes, soups or desserts.

What You Should Know About Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are enjoyed throughout the world because they're healthy and cheap. They can be nibbled and used for cooking or baking, or they can be pressed into a high-quality and inexpensive oil.

Origin

As early as 2500 B.C., the indigenous people in the Mississippi region and in Mexico are said to have grown sunflowers. The Spanish conquerors then discovered the plant for themselves in the middle of the 16th century and brought it home with them. Today, the main growing areas are China, the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the rest of Europe, but they thrive most lavishly in southern countries with a mild climate and plenty of sunshine.

Season

Quality sunflower seeds are available all year round without price differences.

Taste

Sunflower seeds have a pleasant nutty, mild aroma and a firm consistency.

Here you can find all sunflower seed recipes.

How Healthy Are Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are the front-runner in providing folic acid, offering around 100 micrograms of this B vitamin in every 100 grams. This makes it particularly beneficial for pregnant and nursing women. Sunflower seeds also contain an impressive amount of protein — even more than most types of fish, meat and poultry — therefore making it an important food for vegetarians and vegans.

With 420 milligrams of magnesium, sunflower seeds offer more of the mineral, which is important for good nerves and well-functioning muscles, than any other nut, seed and kernel. Sunflower seeds also offer 618 milligrams of phosphorus, as well as fiber. 

The high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in sunflower seeds makes it an ideal basis for edible oil, which is rich in vitamin E and tastes pleasantly neutral.

Nutritional values of sunflower seeds per 100 grams  
Calories 596
Protein 26.5 grams
Fat 49 grams
Carbohydrates 12.3 grams
Fiber 6 grams

Shopping and Kitchen Tips

Shopping

More and more often you can also get sunflower seeds with husk, which can be a healthy snack when they're lightly salted. For cooking, baking and garnishing, however, you always want to use them peeled and untreated.

Storage

Because they are small and contain a relatively large amount of fat, sunflower seeds quickly become rancid when exposed to light and air. Cool, dry and dark storage is therefore advisable. Seal opened packages well and use them as quickly as possible.

Preparation

Peeled sunflower seeds are ready to cook; they are usually used whole, straight from the package. Depending on the recipe, they can also be chopped with a knife.

Lightly toasting the sunflower seeds in a coated pan makes the taste even more intense. Immediately transfer them to a plate once they're slightly browned so they do not burn.

What To Make With Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds go well with almost all sweet and savory dishes, and give them that little extra punch, both in flavor and healthiness. Sunflower seeds can be kneaded into bread rolls, pizza dough and cake dough. A handful sprinkled over raw vegetables, salads, vegetable pans or soups gives dishes a pleasant bite; casseroles and gratins get an even crispier crust with sunflower seeds. Crunchy muesli is also particularly tasty thanks to the small seeds. You can also nibble sunflower seeds as a nutritious snack!

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