Chanie Kirschner is a writer, advice columnist, and also educator who has actually covered topics ranging from parenting to fashion come sustainability.

You are watching: Is it okay to eat sunflower seed shells


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Why can’t us eat sunflower seed whole? good question. I know about this one firsthand because I ended up being hooked ~ above sunflower seeds (and their hulls, as the shells are technically called), back in the summer after fourth grade. My summer camp took a ar trip come a minor organization baseball game, and as a unique treat, gave out sunflower seed to every one of us to eat in ~ the game. I assumed chewing and also spitting out the sunflower seed was so gross the I decided to eat the sunflower seed totality — kernel, hull, everything. Besides, the external is the part that’s salted and also tastes the ideal to a kid prefer me anyway. An excellent idea, right?


Where execute Sunflower seed Come From?

Before ns tell girlfriend what occurred to me the weekend complying with the sunflower seeds incident, let’s talk a little about these nifty tiny creations. Sunflower seeds are the fruit native — surprise! — sunflowers. The outside shell of the sunflower seeds is actually referred to as the hull. As soon as the hull is left intact, the seeds are dubbed in-shell sunflower seeds. Once the hull is removed, the seed themselves are called kernels. The previous is usually found in the grocery store aisle next to the nuts, if the last is usually uncovered next come the various other seeds supplied as flavors or toppings, such as poppy seeds or sesame seeds.


Eating sunflower seeds has actually long been an American pastime, specifically at baseball games. As anyone who has actually been to a baseball game can phone call you, the floor of the bleachers is commonly littered (and in some stadiums, covered) through the hulls that sunflower seeds.


so Why Can’t us Eat the Shell?

The truth is, like many things in nature about us, you can eat it, however you might not choose the results. The an outcome of mine trying come eat the shells of the sunflower seeds at the ball video game that fateful summer? A weekend at residence in discomfort. Though i was fortunate come experience just mild stomach pain, eating many sunflower seed shells has actually been well-known to reason constipation the can an outcome in painful blockage. Additionally, the spicy edges that the shells can cause tears in her esophagus or somewhere else along your digestive tract. One more reason come spit the shells instead of eat them.


Why carry out sunflower seeds have shells in the first place, you may ask? i have heard the the sunflower particle shells are there because that the same reason that nuts have hard shells too; the shells defend the fruit inside when the seed or seed has actually fallen native the plant. The nut allows the seed to stay intact long sufficient to germinate and produce an additional nut tree or seeds plant.

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Though you might not be able to eat the hull that a sunflower seed, the kernel itself packs a nutritious punch, offering you with valuable nutrients favor vitamin E and magnesium. Bonus: Sunflower seeds room rich in phytosterols, a plant chemical that has been shown to assist reduce cholesterol. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin C, iron, and also even fiber, among many other nutrients.