Sunflower Seeds: The Bone And Brain Food - Save Our Bones

Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh depicted their bright yellow beauty in a series of paintings he named Sunflowers or in French, Tournesol. But these giant flowers do a lot more than inspire artists. The alkalizing seeds of the sunflower, besides being crunchy and delicious, contain high levels of important nutrients that help you build your bones and prevent another condition we all dread.

They contain…

Crucial Bone-Healthy Nutrients

Sunflower seeds are alkalizing and are an excellent source of manganese and copper. Both are trace minerals necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone. A quarter of a cup of these crunchy marvels contains well over 30% of the RDA of these Foundation Supplements.

Magnesium, another Foundation Supplement often ignored by mainstream medicine, is also quite abundant in these tasty seeds. You can get around 100 mg in a quarter of a cup. Add to the list generous amounts of vitamins B1, B6, and folate, all of which are also Foundation Supplements, and you’ll really want to have these delicious seeds handy.

Eat Them Raw and Unsalted

You'll get the most benefits from sunflower seeds when you eat them raw and unsalted. If you'd like to add a little salt for flavor, then use sea salt, but in moderation. Whether shelled or unshelled, they should be firm and crunchy, not limp and soft or yellowish in color. I prefer to get them shelled for added convenience and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, so they stay fresh longer.

And there's more about sunflower seeds, because they are…

An Outstanding Source of Vitamin E

A quarter of a cup provides 62% of the RDA for Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol. This potent antioxidant performs a myriad of important functions in the body. Relating to bone health, it supports proper bone remodeling, as I wrote in a previous blog post.

Vitamin E’s anti-inflammatory effect as well as its cardiovascular benefits are widely discussed topics in the natural health arena. But did you know that…

Dietary Vitamin E Can Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Indeed, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown that those who consumed foods rich in Vitamin E, averaging only 11.4 IU per day, had a 67% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who consumed about half that amount.1 Interestingly, Vitamin E from supplements was not associated with risk reduction. By the way, the RDA of vitamin E is 22 IU per day.

So don’t forget to add sunflower seeds to your salads, stirred-fried veggies, casseroles, and to any of your favorite dishes — your brain will thank you.


1 Martha Clare Morris, ScD et al. “Dietary Intake of Antioxidant Nutrients and the Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease in a Biracial Community Study.” JAMA. 2002;287(24):3230-3237. doi:10.1001/jama.287.24.3230.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Vern

    Does eating sunflower seeds interfer & cause higher estrogen levels for cancer survivor patients ?

  2. Vijay shingala

    Can sunflower seeds use to child brain development?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Vijay,
      Sunflower seeds are good for brains of all ages! Some parents like to use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter for this reason (and because of peanut allergies).

  3. Mira

    I would like to tell about sunflower lecithin benefits. It has 25% more choline than soy lecithin and used to make acetylcholine, a nerve chemical essential for proper brain function. That’s why we have to use it in our stress life and it’s helpful with Alzheimer and other brain problems. It works like isolation on our nerves and they become function w/out any “sparkles”. It also good for somebody who stutters because stuttering is a brain problem. Sunflower lecithin helps my child what couldn’t do one year speech program.

    • Arletta Sloan

      I’m interested in this too, and made it to this site by trying to research how much lecithin is in what amount of sunflower seeds. Because, I kind of know a minimum/maximum dosage of lecithin to shoot for, but, I on’t know if eating, say, 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds per day (or less) would provide an appreciable amount of lecithin or not.

      The reason I’m looking into it as I have read it is great for healing the liver and detoxifying the body. I’ll buy it in some sort of supplement form, if needed, but, I prefer raw whole foods (or, close to) whenever they will be potent enough.

      • Ashlie

        I’m looking for the answer to that question too!! Plz let me know what you find out. How many sunflower seeds does it take to get a recommended dose of sunflower lecithin?

  4. Mira

    Distilled water is worse than alkaline water because doesn’t have any minerals, alkaline water cannot be made with out calcium. It’s very simple answer, for more info you need to do some research.

  5. Cheryl

    What are the scientific info as to why we should drink distilled water oppossed to alkaline water. Why is one better than the other?

  6. Marilyn

    I’am looking for the name of the calcium that would be best absorbed with someone with severe osteoporosis .

    • Mira

      Corral calcium is the best, my mom uses Alka-Mine product, her nails start to grow nicely in a month

  7. Sheryl

    I have read considerable research that says diatemaceous earth when consumed regularly will considerably increase your bone mass. Women had given testimonials that their bone mass had considerably increased. It is also so great for other health issues.

  8. .Martha

    My Dr. saya I have more Arthritis than osteroporosis, any comments will be appreciated. Thank you

    • steve

      Gabriel cousins of tree of life says dont eat sunflower seeds if your blood type o. It causes immflamation thru lectins, not leptin. Lectins are an allergic reaction which creates many problems like inflammation, malabsorption & many more. Goggle lectins.

  9. .Martha

    Vivian my Dr. telle me I have more Arthritis than Osteoporosis.

  10. Nu Ly

    I cannot find unsaulted Sunflower seeds, so I take unsaulted Pumpkin seeds,
    is it the same nutrition or not?

  11. Syble Jones

    In 2008 my bone density scan showed some osteopenia in L1-L4 area and my doctor wanted me to start on Boniva. I do not like putting any medicine into my body if not absolutely necessary. I did my research and found your Osteoporosis Reversal Program. I refused medication and began your program, although not to the letter, but somewhat loosely. My bone density scan in 2010 showed slight improvement and my recent scan shows more improvement. Each time my doctor has said, “Keep up what you’re doing.” I am so glad I am stubborn about some things and greatly appreciate your program. My sincere thanks.

  12. rosanna

    hi Vivian I LIVE reading your articles. Thank you so much.

    i would like to know if toasting nuts and seeds, value are lost
    Thank you


  13. GEORGE



  14. Leslie (Ms. L.)

    Hi! Vivian,

    Another VERY GOOD Article! I LOVE SUNFLOWER SEEDS. WHERE CAN YOU GET THEM UNSALTED? All The Places I Go, They Are Already Salted!
    Bye For Now. Take Care, And Stay Well!


    • Mary Ann Orecchio

      You can get unsalted sunflower seeds at Trader Joe’s. I use them on plain yogurt and on salads. They’re delicious.

      Mary Ann

  15. David Schleicher

    They are very easy to sprout and much better for you!

    • Holodziprince

      Hi there,is it advisable to chewing it raw

  16. minnie

    been following your program as well as possible.

    however, I slipped on a drop of water and fractured my wrist which required a titanium plate. Any suggestions for inflammation, stiffness to speed recovery. Been using ice, omega pain ointment anti, inflammatory. I am uninsured . The surgeon took stitches out after 10 days and gave me a hand splint and no advice. Any suggestions are welcomed.

  17. Mary

    Vivian, the video or transcript you recommend mainly gives teasers to encourage people to buy their books (4 in all). This drives me crazy.

    • jeannette molina

      I agree. I find it very annoying.

  18. Leonard

    Thank you Vivian,
    Dr. Sandler (see Bootom Line Publishing at Barton’s publishing) recommended several additional nutritions for osteporosis tratment: Soy extract (improve BD by 5% for a year),Essential Fatty Acids, Potassium, Horny Goat plant. Could you please inform of that research? Note: the soy is not good for underactive thyroid.
    See “The drugs seniors should never take” message from Mr. Barton
    Appreciate your work

  19. Eleanor Fox

    I could NOT get the video at all regarding Alzheimer’s. Every link I clicked came up as Web page not available. How can we get to what you want to tell us???

  20. Cecilia

    Was wondering whether sunflower seed butter is just as good as eating the seeds themselves.

  21. Ray

    Aren’t sunflower seeds pro-inflammatory?

  22. Lynn

    I love using sunflower seeds in my morning smoothie as they are also a great source of protein. Thanks once again for all your very useful information.

  23. Shula

    Great Information

  24. Jean

    Because of your blogs, I bought and used sea salt from a local spice shop. I began having problems keeping my weight down for no apparent reason. When I researched this on the web, I learned that I may have had an iodide depletion; when tested, such was indeed the case. So I went back to ordinary iodized table salt, and presto, the problem disappeared (though I always have had to watch my weight carefully). I’ve since found that iodized sea salt is available, and I’ll switch to that when I need to buy salt again.

    • Mira

      In your case, better to take Real Salt, it has iodine naturally / Or you can use sea salt and take 1 capsule of kelp (iodine 400mcg – 267%.

  25. phillips irwin

    I have been eating sun flower seeds for many years for my enlarged prostate & is giving results.I am also eating pumpkin seeds for the bsame purpose.

  26. Sofia Rydberg

    I would like to know your thoughts about phytic acid in nuts and seeds.

  27. Avis Mawson

    I am not going to comment anymore because everytime I do they say I have said it before.

  28. Avis Mawson

    Great article. Really enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

  29. lillian reed

    I agree I have them everyday but what I didn’t know is I didn’t know they had to be refridgerated I keep them in a “cool dry” place in a “glass” jar

    Could you give us “Info” on Pumpkin seeds and their nutrition “value ?

  30. Maria

    I want to thank you for all the information you sent to all of us whom in one way or another can identify with the common illness, pains and more health problems as we grow older. I read and listen to all your suggestions and I know that it will help me and many other woman that read en enjoy your book and videos. God bless you for being there for us.


  31. Diane Martinson

    I hope sunflower butter is as good for you, I eat sunflower butter and almond butter with an apple or pear for lunch pretty much every day.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sunflower butter is another good way to get the nutrients.

  32. Mary K.

    Vivian, I have used “Sunflower Seed Butter” as a pleasant replacement for peanut, almond, and other nut butters. I buy the organic, creamy variety, made in Paris, Ontario. The only ingredients listed are “Dry-roasted organic sunflower seeds”. The “Nutrition Facts” include Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron, but not the trace minerals. Perhaps these items are not among those required for declaration, and/or the content of trace minerals is below the specified threshold.

    I sometimes include the seeds in a “home-made trail mix”, containing various nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

    Thank you for your presentation of sunflower seeds as a healthy snack choice.

    • Diane Martinson

      Hello Mary, do you buy your sunflower seed butter from Ontario in the US? The only kind I can find is organic but has some sugar and sunflower oil added, I would like to find the kind you have without the sugar.


  33. Mr.Pradeep Ghosh

    It is an interesting piece of information I read about sunflower seeds. Thank you so much. I’d like to know if sunflower oil, used as a medium for cooking in India apart from other oil as rice bran oil etc, too has all the properties as in the seeds.If so, what quantity of sunflower oil ought to be used on a daily basis for a family of two to get the same effect as half a cup of sunflower seeds?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Using oil to replace the seeds is not as simple as it sounds. Because oils can undergo different methods of refining. If you wish to use the oil, the expeller-pressed kind is best, since it doesn’t use solvents or high temperatures.

  34. Ghassan

    Sunflower seeds are wonderful source of nutrients, no question about that. However, too much sunflower ‘oil’, which will obviously obtained when one eats the whole seeds, provides high amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturates, and since a lot of this is used nowadays in foods, processed foods and in frying, out-balancing the omega-3/omega-6 ratio, it is worth stressing the point of watching the consumption of this.

  35. Marc

    When I bake my own spelt bread I throw in some sunflower seeds and pepitas.
    Tastes delish.

    • Luc Chene

      I too bake my own spelt bread. I even mill the flour from the grains just before making bread. It makes the bread much nicer! And if it made with sourdough, it is most excellent !

      • Rebeca

        Would you be willing to share your spelt bread recipe? Thank you!

  36. tom cagney

    Vivian,you wrote about using sea salt like it had some extra benefit. To my knowledge salt is salt and land salt maybe/only maybe, a few millon years older. That’s why you will not find an exasperation date on a salt container. I think the average salt container contains salt that is billions of years old. So put some fresh salt on your food.
    Furthermore salt makes your brain work properly. And we came from the sea.
    Well maybe not you but I did, millions or maybe billions of years ago. There is allot more to this but I have ran out of space.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Tom, as I write in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, talbe salt is bleached and has chemical additives. I recommend using pure sea salt.

  37. Swapan Kumar Roy

    Pl. send more details of Sun flower Seeds, is flower & leaves have any role in building health.

  38. wim goeteyn

    Yes Vivian,

    Sunflower seeds are also rich in LA (Linolenic Acid). Essential Fat Acid to build healthy celmembranes in our body and good transporters for Oxygen metabolism towards the mitochondria, the energy drivers of our body. Otto Warburg , Nobel Prize Winner, has proven that this is the main key to protect us from cancer.



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