Can you eat the shell of sunflower seeds?

Fiber is positive for health. However, the hull of sunflower seeds is a type of fiber that passes improperly through the intestine, which is dangerous.

Last update: 15 October, 2022

Sunflower seeds are recommended foods for health, since they contain essential nutrients of high quality. However, the consumption of its shell must be avoided, as it could be counterproductive. We explain it in detail below.

Keep in mind that sunflower seeds contain a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids. These are able to protect cardiovascular health, thus modulating the levels of inflammation in the body. Its consumption is recommended, although in a moderate way, since they are very caloric.

Avoid eating the shell of sunflower seeds

The main problem with the shell of sunflower seeds is that it can cause damage to the digestive tract due to its sharp character. It may cut, stick, or collect in the diverticula of the intestine in people who are prone to them.

Similarly, the shells do not have a remarkable nutritional value, unlike the meat inside. Sunflower seeds stand out for their content in omega 3 fatty acids. These have proven to be useful for the treatment of some inflammatory pathologies such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, sunflower seeds have a significant concentration of protein, essential to ensure good muscle health, as confirmed by a study published in the journal Nutrients. Adequate and regular consumption of these nutrients prevents loss of lean mass and the appearance of sarcopenia.

The fatty acids themselves are also capable of preventing the catabolism of muscle mass, positively influencing the state of health. In older individuals, the regular intake of these nutrients is totally decisive. In fact, sometimes its supplementation is valued to avoid deficiencies or deficits.

On the other hand, we must not forget that these foods provide essential micronutrients. Calcium would be one of the most remarkable at the concentration level, necessary for the maintenance of bone density. Thanks to it, the risk of suffering fractures in the medium term is reduced.

Risks of consuming the shell of sunflower seeds

There are many digestive problems that can be caused by consuming any amount of sunflower seed hulls.

Ingestion of the shell of sunflower seeds can cause structural damage to the digestive tract. Even if this does not happen, it could increase the risk of experiencing diarrhea or nausea.

This is mainly due to its high fiber content, which generates a laxative effect when consumed in large quantities. On the other hand, there have been cases of obstruction of the rectum from an accumulation of this kind of debris.

The contribution of dietary fiber is necessary, but in adequate amounts. In addition, you have to make sure that it is a type of fiber that does not cause blockage in the digestive tract.

It is always advisable to emphasize the soluble typesince it is fermented producing a positive impact on the intestinal microbiota, as evidenced by research published in Gut Microbes.

What use can be given to them?

With a little creativity, it is possible to put sunflower seed shells to a new use.

It is not suitable to consume the shell of sunflower seeds. However, it is possible to find other uses for it. For example, they are used to produce oils and fertilizers. In this way, they can be used as fertilizer to ensure a good diversity of the native flora of an area.

There are even industries that manage to transform these elements into useful consumables for animals, like chicken beds. There is also the possibility of using the shells as a raw material in biomass energy systems, thus obtaining a useful resource.

In any case, its use is not yet widespread. There is a large amount of sunflower seed shells that are wasted after the consumption of the fruit they contain. Although there are more and more industries that manage to reuse human food waste, it is a sector to be exploited.

Don’t eat the shells of sunflower seeds.

As indicated, consuming the shell of sunflower seeds is counterproductive. It could even be truly dangerous for health, if the person in question had a tendency to form diverticula. For this reason, we recommend that you always discard them.

If you need to increase your fiber intake, there are other much safer and more effective solutions, which will ensure better transit at the intestinal level. Thus, there will be an increase in the biodiversity of the microbiota and better digestive health.

In any case, keep in mind that although they are not valid for human consumption, sunflower seed hulls have applications at an industrial level. Although this is a sector that is still little exploited, they represent a good substrate for the generation of biomass and even fertilizer.

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