Benefits of Sunflower Seeds for Skin & Hair

Sunflower seeds are now your new sunscreen! Yes, you read that right, but don’t throw your sunscreen out just yet! Read on to see how sunflower seeds can offer sun protection and what more they can offer!

When it comes to caring for hair and skin, sometimes people are ready to go all the way. They will try everything possible until they find something that works for them. In this journey, they might often come across home remedies or remedies that are relatively low maintenance– something like the usage of sunflower seeds for hair and skin. But the question that now stands is whether or not the benefits of sunflower seeds for skin and hair are reliable.

To answer that question, yes, sunflower seeds can be beneficial to skin and hair. They can prevent premature aging, reduce acne and inflammation, detoxify your skin, reduce frizz, and so on. Now that you know sunflower seeds can be beneficial, let’s take a look at the guidelines, if any, that you must follow and what is the best course of action you must take to reap the most from sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds and everything they have to offer

I’m sure we all have drawn a sunflower at one point in our lives, and while doing so, we must’ve wondered what the blackish-brown center was. Well, now, as adults, we know that they were seeds! But do you also know how beneficial those seeds are and how one should consume them?!

Sunflower seeds are actually extremely popular, and you’ll find at least one other person munching on them. Once the flowers are harvested, they’re dried, and the seeds are separated. The kernels that are consumed are then extracted from the seeds. Since extracting them one at a time is cumbersome because you have to ensure not to smash the kernels, a special machine is used.

When the seeds are extracted, they come with an outer hull and an interior kernel; the kernel is what we consume and has various benefits. These kernels are rich in beneficial plant compounds, healthy fats, and several vitamins and minerals. These nutrients can help prevent the onset of common health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

These seeds are firm but tender in texture and have a mild, nutty flavor. Some people prefer roasting these seeds to enhance their flavor, although you can still consume them raw.

Nutritional value

According to the USDA, these are the nutritional values of 100g of dried sunflower seed kernels. [1]

584 kcal Energy
Nutrient Content in 100g RDA (% of total RDA)
Macros
Total Carbohydrate 20 g 130 g (15.3%)
Sugar 2.62 g 30 g (8.7%)
Protein 20.8 g 52 g (40%)
Total Fats 51.5 g 77 g (66.8%)
Saturated fats 4.46 g 30 g (14.8%)
Monounsaturated fats 18.5 g 44 g (42%)
Polyunsaturated fats 23.1 g 22 g (105%)
Total Fiber 8.6 g  23 g (37.3%) (women)
34 g (25.2%) (men)
Micros
Calcium 78 mg 1000 mg (7.8%)
Iron 5.25 mg 18 mg (29.1%) (women)
8 mg (65.6%) (men)
Magnesium 325 mg 420 mg (77.3%)
Phosphorus 660 mg 700 mg (94.2%)
Potassium 645 mg 3400 mg (18.9%)
Zinc 5 mg 11 mg (45.4%)
Copper 1.8 mg 0.9 mg (200%)
Manganese 1.95 mg 4 mg (48.75%)
Selenium 53 mcg 55 mcg (96.3%)
Vitamin C 1.4 mg 75 mg (1.8%) (women)
90 mg (1.5%) (men)
Vitamin B6 1.34 mg 1.7 mg (78.8%)
Vitamin E 35.2 mg 15 mg (234.6%)

Apart from these nutrients, sunflower seeds are also rich in plant compounds like phenolic acid and flavonoids. As the sunflower seeds sprout, their plant compounds increase, and the factors that interfere with mineral absorption also reduce.

Although sunflower seeds can be extremely beneficial to one’s health, they can also be harmful. Their high calories and sodium and cadmium content can cause harm. If the seeds are sprouted, you should watch for harmful bacteria that might cause diseases like Salmonella. Consuming way too many of these seeds could also cause stool blockage; also, remember to watch out for any allergies.

When it comes to storage, keep in mind to store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer. These seeds are incredibly high in fats, which can cause them to turn rancid; by keeping them in an airtight container in a cool environment, you can potentially prevent them from turning rancid. 

Benefits of Sunflower seeds for skin and hair

We established that sunflower seeds are extremely beneficial to our health, but do these benefits also translate to skin and hair? Will including sunflower seeds into your skin and hair regimen help you in the long run? Let’s find out!

Benefits of sunflower seeds for skin

Consuming a handful of seeds daily goes a long way for your skin health. It is rich in Vitamin E and the benefits of vitamin E for skin are plenty; therefore, sunflower seeds are naturally beneficial to the skin. It can protect your skin from oxidative damage and help prevent aging, but what more can it offer?

Prevents premature aging [2]

Selenium is an important component when it comes to repairing damaged cells, and sunflower seeds are loaded with this mineral; it is also rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E and selenium together help keep your skin looking young and healthy since they are vital to producing collagen and elastin. They can keep your skin taut and prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Reduces acne and inflammation

Sunflower seeds are rich in fat-soluble antioxidants. They can help fight oxidative damage and improve your skin’s barrier function. Due to these properties, sunflower seeds play an important role in fighting inflammation [3], redness, and sensitivity; these are factors that are usually a result of having temperamental, acne-prone skin. 

Apart from these antioxidants, the magnesium in the sunflower seeds contributes to reducing acne and inflammation by regulating hormonal imbalance and excess sebum production.

Detoxifies the skin

Sunflower seeds can not only protect you from the harmful effects of the sun but also can reduce the effect of pollution on your skin. The antioxidants help prevent or minimize the effects of toxic impurities on the skin. They also prevent the clogging of the pores and eliminate the impurities present on the skin and therefore help give it a clearer and an overall brighter appearance [4].

Acts as a natural moisturizer

The oil extracted from sunflower seeds can help hydrate your skin. Applying it topically can repair severely dry, damaged, and dehydrated skin. It can act as a natural emollient and give you soft, supple, youthful-looking skin. It is ideal for people with sensitive skin since it is rich in natural fats. It can also help calm and soothe inflamed skin.

Protects from the sun

Another benefit of sunflower seeds is that they can act as a natural sunscreen and provide excellent sun protection. Additionally, as mentioned above, it can help repair damage caused by exposure to harmful UV rays. This property of protecting from sun damage comes from the presence of beta carotene, which plays a vital role in reducing your skin’s sensitivity to harmful sun rays [4].

Benefits of sunflower seeds for hair

Sunflower seeds are not just essential for your skin but your hair as well. The nutrients it is packed with can help give you thick, voluminous, and healthy hair. It also offers various other benefits like,

Reduces frizz

The fatty acids present in sunflower seeds infuse your hair with moisture, provide deep hydration to your strands, and repair damage. It also helps form a protective layer to prevent the harmful effects of environmental aggressors and therefore leave your hair looking healthy and strong.

Acts as a natural conditioner

Sunflower oil is a highly lightweight oil that is easily absorbed into your hair and scalp—the properties of this oil help in locking in the moisture and providing deep conditioning. A regular scalp massage with this oil can potentially leave your hair looking silky and shiny.

Fights hair loss

One other benefit of sunflower seeds is their ability to prevent hair loss and promote growth. The gamma-linolenic acid in these seeds helps condition your hair and stimulates dormant hair follicles. It also helps mitigate any damage caused by environmental factors, thus promoting a healthier hair growth cycle.

How to use sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds can be consumed as is, and you will still reap the same benefits. In fact, direct consumption is one of the best ways to ensure your skin and hair are getting the nutrients they require from sunflower seeds. However, here is a simple face pack that you can make with sunflower seeds if you want to use them topically.

Ingredients

  • Sunflower seeds – 3tbsp
  • Milk – for soaking
  • Saffron

Method

  • In a bowl, add milk and sunflower seeds.
  • Soak the seeds in the milk for at least 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Blend the soaked seeds into a smooth paste.
  • Add one strand of saffron, and mix well.
  • Apply this face pack to your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash off with lukewarm water, and do not use any face wash or cleanser.

This face pack can revitalize dull skin and treat pigmentation; the milk and saffron help keep your skin moisturized. After washing off the face pack, you will notice a soft, supple glow.

When it comes to your hair, as mentioned above, consuming these seeds directly will always be your best bet; however, if you want to reap these benefits without actually consuming them, you could try the sunflower seed oil and massage your scalp with it at least once a week. 

For direct consumption, you can eat the seeds as is or add them to your fruit bowls, smoothies, salads, and so on. You can use them as a garnish over your favorite meals. You can even just salt them and pop them in your mouth for a quick salty, crunchy snack.

Other benefits of sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds offer other benefits apart from the ones for skin and hair; for instance, these seeds can help improve male fertility. Since these seeds are rich in zinc, an essential mineral for enhancing sperm motility and density, sunflower seeds can benefit men by drastically improving their fertility.

In women, these seeds can help during their pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Sunflower seeds are rich in almost all essential vitamins and minerals that aid in a smooth pregnancy.

Sunflower seeds can also be beneficial if you are on a diet or a weight loss plan since these seeds can help support weight loss. The protein, fats, and fiber in sunflower seeds can keep you full for long periods. However, it is essential that you watch your portion sizes even while consuming sunflower seeds.

FAQ’s

Are sunflower seeds good for skin whitening?

Although there is no evidence of whether or not sunflower seeds are good for skin whitening, we can confirm that they can help revitalize dull skin and treat pigmentation. At the most, sunflower seeds can help even out your skin tone and give you a natural glow and a soft and supple appearance.

Are sunflower seeds good for your complexion?

Yes, sunflower seeds are good for your complexion. Their benefits can help even out your skin tone and give you a much smoother finish. They can also revitalize your skin, smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles and give you a much more youthful appearance. All in all, sunflower seeds are extremely beneficial to your skin and complexion.

Is it OK to eat sunflower seeds every day?

Everything should be consumed in moderation; regardless of how healthy something is, overconsuming it might harm your body. The same goes for sunflower seeds. You can consume these seeds daily but do not go overboard since consuming too much can result in weight gain, excess sodium intake, and other unwanted side effects.

Wrapping Up

Incorporating seeds and nuts in your daily diet can be extremely beneficial, but if you’re including sunflower seeds in your daily diet, then your skin and hair will definitely thank you. These seeds are highly nutritious and don’t just offer health benefits but beauty benefits as well.

Sunflower seeds can make your skin look smoother and your hair thicker and voluminous, and this is just the beginning. It also helps prevent sun damage while also treating previously caused damage. To avail of these benefits, you can consume these seeds directly or apply them topically in the form of a face pack or hair oil!

References

  1. “FoodData Central Search Results.” FoodData Central.
  2. Schagen, Silke K et al. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.” Dermato-endocrinology vol. 4,3 (2012): 298-307.
  3. Guo, Shuangshuang et al. “A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common sunflower seed and sprouts (Helianthus annuus L.).” Chemistry Central journal vol. 11,1 95. 29 Sep. 2017.
  4. Adeleke, Bartholomew Saanu, and Olubukola Oluranti Babalola. “Oilseed crop sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a source of food: Nutritional and health benefits.” Food science & nutrition vol. 8,9 4666-4684. 31 Jul. 2020.
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