September's Superfood: Sunflower Seeds + DIY Sunbutter Recipe

September's Superfood: Sunflower Seeds + DIY Sunbutter Recipe

What fits in the palm of your hand, but can still fill you up deliciously and nutritiously? September's superfood: Sunflower seeds! They’re not only a powerhouse of nutrients, but also low on the allergy scale because they’re nut-free. Translation: Yes, you can send them to your child’s school!

Depending on its form, the beautiful, bright yellow sunflower we know can look quite different. Its grayish-green or black seeds are encased in tear-drop shaped gray or black shells, often striped in black and white. As they have a very high oil content, sunflower seeds are frequently used as polyunsaturated oil in ingredients. With the recipe below, you’ll see that this nut-free seed resembles peanut butter, so you can put a healthful spin on classic sandwiches (and kids are none the wiser).

Here’s what makes these seeds a ray of sunshine for us:

Health & Nutrition Benefits:

While the fats, vitamins, and minerals found in sunflower seeds are really good for you, you should enjoy this high-calorie snack in moderation. Even small amounts are packed with healthy nutrients your body will love. (Keep reading!)

Rich in Healthy Fats

Sunflower seeds are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, two types of fats that are great for your body in moderation. According to a Mayo Clinic study, appropriate portions of these fats can help lower cholesterol levels, decrease heart disease risk, and even possibly help stabilize insulin levels in type 2 diabetics.

High in Vitamin E

As the number one whole-food source of vitamin E, just one-fourth cup of sunflower seeds includes your entire daily serving. Vitamin E helps protect your cells against free radicals, chemicals that oxidize and damage your proteins, cell membranes, and DNA. This vitamin also promotes healthy circulation by helping you make red blood cells.

Rich in Choline

Choline plays a role in memory and cognitive function. Compared to other seeds, the vast variety of key nutrients gives health benefits that make it a functional food.

Packed with Protein

The seven grams of protein in a one-fourth cup serving help give your body energy throughout the day. When paired with complex carbohydrates, this protein-packed seed helps keep you fuller longer.

Proper Selection & Storage is key to getting the most from sunflower seeds:

Select seeds that are greenish to grey in color. They should be firm in texture, not dry or crushed. Since sunflower seeds contain a nice amount of fat, they should be monitored for rancidity when stored. (Rancid seeds will have a bad smell.) Seeds in the shells will have a longer shelf life then shelled seeds. Be sure to store your seeds in an airtight container in temperate conditions; storing your seeds in the freezer can increase their shelf life by 1-2 years (again, always check for signs of rancidity before eating).

Now that you know how good they are for you, it’s time to find out just how good they can taste!

Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter

Ingredients (Use organic when possible)

3 cups sunflower seeds, raw (unsalted, not roasted)

¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

drizzle olive oil

drizzle honey


1. Lightly toast sunflower seeds in a heavy pan (seeds should turn a light to golden brown color)- it is best to toast the sunflower seeds yourself rather than buying roasted sunflower seeds. Pre-roasted seeds do not have enough moisture to create a great creamy texture.

Superfood: Sunflower Seeds

2. Put roasted sunflower seeds in the food processor with salt and sugar and turn on. You will notice that they first turn into a powder. Do not add the oil yet! The key to a rich, creamy sunbutter is time! The seeds will begin to release their natural oils after they have been processed (you will notice that the butter starts to get thicker and creamier). This may take up to 10 minutes or more!

3. When your mixture starts to resemble peanut butter you can drizzle honey (for taste) and process some more. If you like a thinner, creamier sunbutter, drizzle olive oil while the food processor is going until you reach your desired consistency.



We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.