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Get Serious About Sunflower Seeds

If you believe in sensible snacking (and even if you don’t), you’ve got to get serious about sunflower seeds, the famous “fruit” of the gorgeous sunflower, a native to North America and a member of the daisy family. Not long ago, sunflower seeds were recognized as healthy nutrition … for birds! I remember when my sister brought home a bag and my father asked her where the bird was. Back then, they came in the shell; I had to break them open with my teeth to get to the tasty little kernel on the inside. They are so much easier to enjoy now that they are available shelled. Move over birds!

The nutritional profile of sunflower seeds makes them ideal for humans, too. Did you know that one ounce of shelled sunflower seeds contains nearly 50% the Daily Value for Vitamin E? They deliver antioxidants, powerful compounds that support healthy cells. They also contain fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. And very importantly, sunflower seeds deliver healthy unsaturated fats. Here are some super suggestions for enjoying sunflower seeds:

You’ll find sunflower seeds shelled, unshelled, sprouted, prepackaged and available in bulk bins. You’ll also find sunflower seed oil available on our grocery shelves. High-heat sunflower oil is great for baking and sautéing. Remember: Sunflower seeds include unsaturated fats. That means, once shelled, they can go rancid fairly quickly. This is especially true once they have been roasted. Be sure to store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. If you’ve purchased a large quantity, freezing is a perfect option and won’t affect their flavor or texture.

Do you include sunflower seeds in your sensible snacks and meals? Got a favorite recipe or idea? Let me know!