Can you Eat Sunflower Seed Shells?

Sunflower seeds are commonly added to trail mix, nutrition bars, and multi-grain bread. They also make up for a great mid-meal snacking option you can eat straight from the bag. However, should you eat sunflower seeds with their shells? Let us have a look at whether it is safe to eat sunflower seed shells.

Is it safe to eat sunflower seeds shells?

Sunflower seeds are revered for their high nutritional content. They contain a number of vitamins and minerals. The shell of these seeds also offers similar benefits. Hence, eating sunflower seed shells can be considered safe.

What are the health benefits of sunflower seed shells?

  • Sunflower seed shells are high in selenium and vitamin E. Vitamin E can improve the health of your skin and hair and reduce problems such as scars and hair loss. These nutrients also act as natural antioxidants and protect your body’s cells from free radical damage thereby preventing the development of several chronic diseases
  • Sunflower seeds, consumed with shells, may help to control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Vitamin E, magnesium, and linoleic fatty present in it would regulate the body’s metabolic processes and improve the breakdown and absorption of fats, proteins, and carbs. This action of sunflower seed shells can prevent the development of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. [1] [2]
  • Sunflower seed shells can help to control chronic inflammation in your body. It can regulate the secretion of the pro-inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein thereby reducing inflammatory changes in healthy organs and tissues.
  • Sunflower seed shells possess a rich content of unsaturated fatty acids including linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is used by the body to make a hormone-like compound that improves heart functions.
  • The shells of sunflower seeds can help patients with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels more effectively. [3]


Sunflower seeds, when eaten with their shell, make for a crunchy, nutty snack. It can be a tasty addition to a number of dishes.

Packed with various plant compounds and nutrients, sunflower seed shells could provide you a number of benefits.


  1. Richmond, Korina, Sheila Williams, Jim Mann, Rachel Brown, and Alexandra Chisholm. “Markers of Cardiovascular Risk in Postmenopausal Women with Type 2 Diabetes Are Improved by the Daily Consumption of Almonds or Sunflower Kernels: a Feeding Study.” ISRN Nutrition. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, December 19, 2012.
  2. Guo, Shuangshuang, Yan Ge, and Kriskamol Na Jom. “A Review of Phytochemistry, Metabolite Changes, and Medicinal Uses of the Common Sunflower Seed and Sprouts (Helianthus Annuus L.).” Chemistry Central Journal. Springer International Publishing, September 29, 2017.
  3. Richmond K, Williams S, Mann J, Brown R, Chisholm A. Markers of cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes are improved by the daily consumption of almonds or sunflower kernels: a feeding study. ISRN Nutr. 2012;2013:626414. Published 2012 Dec 19. doi:10.5402/2013/626414