Sunflower seed is not actually a seed but a fruit of sunflower plant. This plant is native to U.S.A. The botanical name of sunflower plant is Helianthus annuus. The seed is commonly available either dehulled or whole.
Types of Sunflower Seeds
Classification according to color of husk
· Black oil sunflower seeds – The outer husk of this seed is solid black in color. This is majorly used as oil seed.
· Striped sunflower seeds – The striped variety is used for fortifying dishes or as snack food. They are also called confectionary sunflower seed.
Classification According to Nutrition:
· Linoleic - Low in saturated fats, high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, has no cholesterol and is transfat free.
· High Oleic - Low in saturated fats, high in monounsaturated fatty acids, no cholesterol and is transfat free.
· Nusun - It is much lower in saturated fats tham oleic variety, has high monounsaturated fatty acids and relatively lower polyunsaturated fatty acids.
· Sunflower seed forms a part of healthy snacks.
· It is used as an ingredient in salads and garnishes to fortify the dish.
· It can also be used to encrust meats and fish.
· It is also a value added ingredient for nutrition cereals and bars.
· Roasted sunflower seeds which are seasoned with salt and pepper are consumed as snacks.
· Sunflower butter is made resembling peanut butter made of peanuts.
· It can also be used as a part of pet food.
· Russia is the largest cultivators of sunflower seeds. It produces nearly 6.3 million MT of seeds each year.
· Countries like Ukraine, Argentina, China, India, U.S.A., France, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria and South Africa also produce significant amounts of seeds.
Health and Nutrition Facts
Serving size - 28 g (1 oz.)
Calories - 173 cal, Fat - 16 g, Saturated fats - 2 g, Protein - 5 g, Dietary fiber - 3 g
- Sunflower seed is high in calories and fat. Not more than one serving should be consumed in a day. It almost contributes to 50% of half days requirement of fats.
- It is a very good source of vitamin E, B1, B6, manganese, copper, tryptophan, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and folate.
- Vitamin E in sunflower seed helps to protect cell membranes and brain cells from free radical damage. It also prevents oxidation of cholesterol which plays a vital role in avoiding cardio vascular diseases. It reduces risks of strokes and blood vessel blockages.
- Selenium in sunflower seed helps in DNA repair. It helps to reduce risks of cancer, specially colon cancer and prostate cancer.
- Magnesium is very important for bone development and maintaining bone healtth. It enhances the absorption of calcium as well.
Addition of sunflower seeds to diet
- Sunflower seeds can be used in breads to enhance the nutrition as well as the flavor of bread.
- It can be used as a part of salads and breakfast cereals.
- Savoury muffins and souffles can be made by topping the batter with sunflower seeds.
- Flavored and salted variants should be avoided as it contains a lot of sodium and can have adverse effects on the blood pressure.
- David sunflower seed is a popular brand which manufactures flavor and salted seeds. It is a brand owned by conagra foods.