Sunflower seeds guide: Health benefits & nutrition facts
No flower can make you feel quite as happy and positive as a sunflower – they’re the ultimate embodiment of summertime! But this feel-good flower has something far more powerful to offer than its good looks alone: sunflower seeds.
Bursting with nutrients that provide a wealth of natural benefits, these sunny seeds are one of our 7 core ingredients. That means you’ll find (and benefit from) them in every single one of our 14+ flavours!
Here's everything you need to know about sunflower seeds – their health benefits, history, nutrition facts and more.
Sunflower seeds 101
Sunflower seeds (helianthus annuus L.) come from (you guessed it) the sunflower – in fact, a single sunflower head can produce a mighty 2000 seeds. The sunflower seeds we use are de-hulled and grey, with a mild nutty flavour.
Sunflower seeds were first cultivated by early American Indian tribes as far back as 3000 BCE – not just for food, but as a medicine for colds, coughs and other respiratory problems. It’s claimed that Indian warriors ate sunflower seed balls for sustenance whilst hunting far away from home!
Spanish explorers brought the sunflower to Europe sometime around 1500, where it later became widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds and oil.
Sunflower seeds nutrition
Sunflower seeds, like most seeds, are nature’s vitamins – you get a lot of nutrition in a small amount of food.
Two tablespoons (around 10g) of sunflower seeds contains approximately 2g protein, 4.75g fat (mostly beneficial poly and mono-unsaturated fats), 3.77g vitamin E (31% NRV), 39 mg magnesium (10.4% NRV), 64mg phosphorus (9.14% NRV) and 0.22mg copper (22% NRV).
NRV = Nutrient Reference Value (EU guidance on the daily amount of a vitamin or mineral that the average healthy person needs to prevent deficiency)
Sunflower seeds are notably high in health-protective phytochemicals, which is why they’ve been found to play a potential role in chronic inflammatory conditions, bacterial and fungal infections, cardiovascular diseases, skin diseases and even some cancers.
Sunflower seeds health benefits
1. Lowers cholesterol & supports heart health
High cholesterol levels put you at risk of heart problems, as well as stroke.
Studies show that the fatty acids (OA and LA) found in sunflower seeds can contribute to the reduction of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, which can help to decrease the chances of heart disease.
Sunflower seeds are also among the best natural sources of phytosterols, which are well-known for their cholesterol-reducing power. Better still, they’re high in flavonoids; which (alongside antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties) contribute to a lower incidence of heart disease.
2. Reduces disease risk
Sunflower oil is a great source of Vitamin E/tocopherol, an essential fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that can help to slow and prevent damage to your cells from free radicals. This, in turn, can help to reduce your risk of illness and chronic disease, including some types of cancer.
Tocopherols are also known for their anti-inflammatory action and, according to research, appear to play a promising role in reducing the risk of chronic inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, chronic inflammation is also associated with age-related disease development. Due to their high antioxidant capacity, sunflower seeds can help to combat inflammation.
3. Boosts skin health
Sunflower seeds are packed with skin-loving nutrients. They’re high in essential fatty acids, which help to produce the skin’s natural oil barrier and keep your skin looking and feeling plump and youthful.
Sunflower seeds are also high in:
- Linoleic acid, which can help to decrease inflammation in the skin.
- Vitamin E, which can help to protect the skin from oxidative damage and environmental stressors.
- Zinc, which contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin.
Flax, chia, pumpkin and sesame seeds are also packed with skin-loving essential fatty acids. The good news? You’ll find every single one of them in your daily Purition!
4. Improves blood sugar control
Although more research is needed, promising studies show that sunflower seeds could have a positive effect on blood sugar in those with type-2 diabetes.
One study discovered that those who eat 30g sunflower seeds daily as part of a healthy diet reduced fasting blood sugar by about 10% within 6 months, compared to a healthy diet alone.
It’s believed that this effect is caused by a plant compound called chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to have beneficial effects on the regulation of blood glucose.
If you have type-2 diabetes or suffer from blood sugar spikes, you’ll love Purition. All of our flavours are naturally low in carbohydrates, packed with nuts and seeds and high in fibre to support blood sugar balance. According to our own tests and lots of positive customer feedback, Purition has a negligible impact on blood sugar levels.
5. Healthier bones
Poor bone health can increase your risk of osteoporosis and mean you’re more likely to break a bone from a fall later in your life. Thankfully, sunflower seeds are a great source of bone-boosting nutrients.
A diet low in calcium can reduce bone density and lead to early bone loss, plus an increased risk of fractures. Sunflower seeds contain some calcium and lots of magnesium; which actually helps to increase calcium absorption. A real bone-health-boosting-duo!
Magnesium is also an important mineral for muscle recovery – which is just one of many reasons why Purition can make such a great post-workout partner.
Enjoy sunflower seeds in Purition
Purition is made and textured with seeds and nuts – whole ground golden linseed (flax), sunflower kernels, almonds, coconut, pumpkin seeds, whole chia seeds and sesame seeds.
We chose nuts and seeds because they’re fresh, they’re real and they’re bursting with the natural nutrients that you need to keep your body healthy throughout life.
That means heaps of vitamins, nourishing fats, fibre and protein from fresh seeds and nuts, not chemicals, in every single shake.
It’s a whole food meal, instantly, without all the faff, so that you can stay on track with a healthy diet throughout the busy week. It’ll keep you full for hours, provide a slow release of energy and make it easy to stay on track with your healthy eating routine.
How we source our sunflower seeds
Unlike many other products on the market, you won’t find any ultra-processed sunflower oil powders or sunflower derivatives on our ingredients lists. When we say sunflower seeds, we mean real sunflower seeds!
We buy sunflower kernels from France. The sunflower kernel is the ‘meat’ of the sunflower seed, once it has been de-hulled. We sieve and chop the sunflower kernels ourselves at Purition HQ. They’re then mixed with a bunch of other fresh ingredients to create our signature whole food blend.
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