Sunflower seeds come from one of the plants in the Asteraceae family, the species Helianthus annuus L. They’re found right in the centre of the sunflower.
Sunflower seeds have multiple health benefits and go well with many recipes. This is why they were the snack of choice for Spaniards over the last year, according to the study ‘Consumption of sunflower seeds in Spain in 2021’ carried out by the Bilendi Institute for Pipas USA.
Sunflower seeds: a snack that combines culture and tradition
According to the study, sunflower seeds rank first in terms of snack preference and frequency of consumption. Some 30% of those surveyed said that they consume sunflower seeds on a weekly basis during their free time, with during the summer, while enjoying a film and while with friends as the most popular consumption times.
We live life at a very fast pace, which leads our body to consume products between meals to satisfy our hunger. However, we often opt for unhealthy products. By contrast, sunflower seeds are a healthy food to eat between meals or when you get home after a long day at work.
“Sunflower seeds are part of Spanish culture, a deeply rooted product that is consumed homogeneously and transversally at all times of the year.” John Sandbakken, director of Pipas USA in Spain.
As for the benefits of this product, 97.9% of Spaniards agree that sunflower seeds are good for health and attribute various benefits to them, such as their fibre-richness (52.1%), ability to improve mood (44.1%) and support in protecting the heart (31.9%).
The benefits of sunflower seeds
But what are the benefits of sunflower seeds? These are the main benefits that make this food a satiating and healthy snack:
- Improves mood and sleep quality
Sunflower seeds are a nutritious and healthy food that brings us energy and helps regulate our mood, as they provide a high level of tryptophan. This amino acid is important for the production of serotonin, the hormone associated with happiness and well-being. In addition, tryptophan is essential in the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. As a result, consuming sunflower seeds allows us to improve the quality of our sleep and moments of rest.
- Heart, skin and hair care
One of the most outstanding benefits of sunflower seeds is that they are an excellent source of vitamin E and contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats), which help protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular disease. As they’re rich in fibre, consuming them also helps to reduce cholesterol, control blood glucose and prevent constipation. In addition to these benefits, they’re also ideal for skin and hair thanks to the B vitamins they contain, which work as a revitalising and anti-ageing complex.
- Energy food
Before exercising, it’s advisable to consume some energy-rich food to help achieve better results in your workout. Sunflower seeds stand out for their high levels of folic acid, calcium, iron and magnesium, the latter contributing to the proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
- Increases our level of good cholesterol
Most of the lipids contained in sunflower seeds are polyunsaturated (omega 3 and 6) and monounsaturated. As long as this food is consumed in moderation, it reduces LDL levels (known as bad cholesterol) and raises HDL levels (good cholesterol).
Sunflower seeds can be eaten unshelled or shelled, raw or roasted, salted or unsalted and with different flavour combinations, as they’re great in both sweet and savoury dishes. This nutrient-rich food can be added to salads, smoothies, desserts and snacks, among many other options.
Discover our sunflower seed breadsticks and how to combine them with these recipes: