5 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds — Are Sunflower Seeds Healthy?

health benefits sunflower seeds

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Turns out all, that time you spent cracking (and spitting out) sunflower seeds was time well spent: These tasty, if not labor-intensive, snacking seeds are actually bursting with important nutrients that deliver some pretty impressive health benefits, from supporting your immune system to protecting your heart. They’re also allergy-friendly, making them “a great alternative to peanuts and other tree nuts if you have a food allergy,” says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CDN, Registered Dietitian for the Good Housekeeping Institute. Here are five more health benefits of sunflower seeds.

They help your eyes.

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant and is critical to eye health—studies show it may support good vision by warding off eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. Try spreading Once Again Organic Unsweetened Sunflower Butter on whole grain toast and topping with fresh apple slices, banana, or berries.

They’re good for your muscles.

You need plenty of protein to support and grow strong muscles, and sunflower seeds are a great source of this muscle-building puzzle piece. “Sunflower seeds are about 20% protein,” says Sassos. One cup of sunflower seeds, once hulled, delivers nearly 10g of protein. Try adding them to a smoothie with another superstar such as Greek yogurt for a double protein punch.

They’re good for your heart.

“Sunflower seeds aren’t just delicious, they’re also especially rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids,” says Sassos. These “good” fats are heart-friendly because they can help lower levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, reducing your risk of heart attack or stroke.

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They support good immunity

A strong immune system is key to maintaining good overall health, and sunflower seeds are a great immune supporter, thanks to their vitamin E content. They also contain a bit of zinc and selenium, two other immune system friends. Add them to a salad, trail mix, or sprinkle over roasted veggies for a crunchy, protein-filled bite.

They promote a healthy weight.

Getting plenty of fiber and protein is an important step in dropping pounds or maintaining a healthy weight, and sunflower seeds are packed with both. How do they help? Both nutrients help keep you full for longer, and fiber also promotes good digestion and helps regulate blood sugar—all weighty factors.

    Senior Editor
    Alyssa is a senior editor for the Hearst Lifestyle Group Health Newsroom, supporting Prevention, Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Day. 

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