Foundation for Diet and Health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

Sunflower seed

Sunflower seeds contain over 90 % unsaturated fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin F, carotene, calcium, iodine, and magnesium.
22/23/56  LA!:0ALA

Sunflower seeds. There are four types of sunflower plants: the first has a very thin shell and is used to make oil, the second is used in animal feed, the third is used for decoration, and the fourth, described here, is used in recipes and eaten as snacks. This type has larger seeds that are easier to remove from the shell.

General information:

From Wikipedia: “The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus). The term "sunflower seed" is actually a misnomer when applied to the seed in its pericarp (hull). Botanically speaking, it is a cypsela. When dehulled, the edible remainder is called the sunflower kernel or heart.

There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: linoleic (most common), high oleic, and NuSun. Each variety has its own unique levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats. The information in this article refers mainly to the linoleic variety.

For commercial purposes, sunflower seeds are usually classified by the pattern on their husks. If the husk is solid black, the seeds are called black oil sunflower seeds. The crops may be referred to as oilseed sunflower crops. These seeds are usually pressed to extract their oil. Striped sunflower seeds are primarily used for food; as a result, they may be called confectionery sunflower seeds.”

Culinary uses:

Sunflower seeds are more commonly eaten as a snack than as part of a meal. They can also be used as garnishes or ingredients in various recipes. The seeds may be sold as in-shell seeds or dehulled kernels. The seeds can also be sprouted and eaten in salads.

When in-shell seeds are processed, they are first dried. Afterwards, they may also be roasted or dusted with salt or flour for preservation of flavor. Dehulling is commonly performed by cracking the hull with one's teeth and spitting it out while keeping the kernel in the mouth and eating it.

Sunflower seeds sold by the bag are either eaten "plain" (salted only) or with a variety of flavorings added by the maker including barbecue, pickle, hot sauce, bacon, ranch, and nacho cheese as well as others.

In-shell sunflower seeds are particularly popular in Mediterranean and Asian countries where they can be bought freshly roasted and are a common food, while in many countries, they can be bought freshly packed in various roasted flavors. In the United States, they are commonly eaten by baseball players as an alternative to chewing tobacco.

Dehulled kernels have been mechanically processed to remove the hull. These kernels may be sold raw or roasted. These dehulled kernels are sometimes added to bread and other baked goods for their flavor. There is also sunflower butter, similar to peanut butter, but using sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, which is a common substitute in schools for children with nut allergies . Apart from human consumption, sunflower seeds are also used as food for pets and wild birds in boxes and small bags.

Nutritional value:

In a 100-gram serving, dried whole sunflower seeds provide 584 calories and are composed of 5% water, 20% carbohydrates, 51% total fat and 21% protein (table). The seeds are a rich source (20% or higher of the Daily Value, DV) of protein (42% DV), dietary fiber (36% DV), many B vitamins (23-129% DV) and vitamin E (234% DV). The seeds also contain high levels of dietary minerals, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc (40-94% DV).

Half of a 100-gram serving is fat, mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, principally linoleic acid. Additionally, the seeds contain phytosterols which may contribute toward lower levels of blood cholesterol.”


The hulls, or shells, mostly composed of cellulose, decomposes slowly and may be burned as biomass fuel. Sunflower hulls of the cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus) contain allelopathic compounds which are toxic to grasses and the vast majority of cultivated garden plants. The hulls can be used as an effective herbicide and will typically kill or severely stunt the growth of competing plants if used as mulch. Care should be observed in the placement of bird feeders in gardens with bird seed which contains sunflower seeds as the discarded hulls can end up scattered by birds or squirrels from feeders and can kill or stunt plants that are growing nearby. Only a small number of garden plants, such as day lillies, are unaffected by the allelopathic compounds found in sunflower hulls.

Nutritional Information per 100g 2000 kCal
Energy 584 kcal29.2%
Fat/Lipids 51 g73.5%
Saturated Fats 4.5 g22.3%
Carbohydrates (inc.dietary fiber) 20 g7.4%
Sugars 2.6 g2.9%
Fiber 8.6 g34.4%
Protein (albumin) 21 g41.6%
Cooking Salt (Na:9.0 mg)23 mg1.0%
Recommended daily allowance according to the GDA.
Protein (albumin)
Cooking Salt

Essential Nutrients per 100g with %-share Daily Requirement at 2000 kCal
VitVitamin E, as a-TEs 35 mg293.0%
FatLinoleic acid; LA; 18:2 omega-6 23 g231.0%
MinCopper, Cu 1.8 mg180.0%
ProtTryptophan (Trp, W) 0.35 g140.0%
VitThiamine (vitamin B1) 1.5 mg135.0%
VitFolate, as the active form of folic acid (née vitamin B9 and B11) 227 µg114.0%
ProtThreonine (Thr, T) 0.93 g100.0%
MinManganese, Mn 2 mg98.0%
MinSelenium, Se 53 µg96.0%
VitVitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 1.3 mg96.0%

The majority of the nutritional information comes from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture). This means that the information for natural products is often incomplete or only given within broader categories, whereas in most cases products made from these have more complete information displayed.

If we take flaxseed, for example, the important essential amino acid ALA (omega-3) is only included in an overarching category whereas for flaxseed oil ALA is listed specifically. In time, we will be able to change this, but it will require a lot of work. An “i” appears behind ingredients that have been adjusted and an explanation appears when you hover over this symbol.

For Erb Muesli, the original calculations resulted in 48 % of the daily requirement of ALA — but with the correction, we see that the muesli actually covers >100 % of the necessary recommendation for the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Our goal is to eventually be able to compare the nutritional value of our recipes with those that are used in conventional western lifestyles.

Essential fatty acids, (SC-PUFA) 2000 kCal
Linoleic acid; LA; 18:2 omega-6 23 g231.0%
Alpha-Linolenic acid; ALA; 18:3 omega-3 0.06 g3.0%

Essential amino acids 2000 kCal
Tryptophan (Trp, W) 0.35 g140.0%
Threonine (Thr, T) 0.93 g100.0%
Isoleucine (Ile, I) 1.1 g92.0%
Valine (Val, V) 1.3 g82.0%
Phenylalanine (Phe, F) 1.2 g75.0%
Leucine (Leu, L) 1.7 g69.0%
Methionine (Met, M) 0.49 g53.0%
Lysine (Lys, K) 0.94 g50.0%

Vitamins 2000 kCal
Vitamin E, as a-TEs 35 mg293.0%
Thiamine (vitamin B1) 1.5 mg135.0%
Folate, as the active form of folic acid (née vitamin B9 and B11) 227 µg114.0%
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 1.3 mg96.0%
Niacin (née vitamin B3) 8.3 mg52.0%
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 0.36 mg25.0%
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 1.1 mg19.0%
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 1.4 mg2.0%
Vitamin A, as RAE 3 µg< 0.1%
Vitamin D 0 µg< 0.1%

Essential macroelements (macronutrients) 2000 kCal
Phosphorus, P 660 mg94.0%
Magnesium, Mg 325 mg87.0%
Potassium, K 645 mg32.0%
Calcium, Ca 78 mg10.0%
Sodium, Na 9 mg1.0%

Essential trace elements (micronutrients) 2000 kCal
Copper, Cu 1.8 mg180.0%
Manganese, Mn 2 mg98.0%
Selenium, Se 53 µg96.0%
Zinc, Zn 5 mg50.0%
Iron, Fe 5.2 mg38.0%