The Sunflower is a plant which produces a flower with a large amount of edible seeds. These seeds are highly potent and nutritious, especially when eaten as microgreens. Sunflower microgreens are a great source of protein and minerals, which is especially useful for those seeking nutrients from a plant-based diet.

Sunflower Microgreens

sunflower microgreenstray of sunflower microgreenssprouting sunflower seeds

Sunflower microgreens are a powerful way of getting the most out of your sunflower seeds. With microgreens you can enhance the nutrition content of your sunflowers, because the sunflowers get a chance to grow in rich soil and quickly absorb additional nutrients.

Growing Sunflower Microgreens

The basic steps to grow sunflower microgreens are as follows:
  1. Soak the sunflower seeds for 12 hours, to get them to germinate
  2. Rinse the seeds every 12 hours, until a root 2x the length of the seed hull develops
  3. Place the sunflower sprouts on a growing medium, usually in a greenhouse tray, then place a greenhouse tray on top of the seeds, to weight them down, so they can take root and have darkness.
  4. In the darkness, the seeds will bolt, causing the tray to rise. When the tray rises to above the rim of the greenhouse tray, turn that tray over, so it is upside down.
  5. Once the sunflowers begin to raise the upside down tray, remove the cover and let the sunflowers grow, either with ambient light. Sunflowers should not be grown under direct light, or it will stunt their growth.
  6. Once the second set of leaves starts to come in, the plants are ready for harvest, so cut them down either all at once, or as you need them.

Nutrition Information

Sunflowers contain a large amount of protein and other nutrients, which make it a great vegetable supplement to your diet, especially if you are eating a plant-based diet.

Nutritional Benefits

source: Sunflowers Transcend Seedy Existence - Vegetarians in Paradise

All seeds are highly concentrated food. Sunflower seeds are no exception.

Raw sunflower kernels provide higher levels of nutrients than toasted seeds. One ounce (28 grams) of raw seeds contains 160 calories and only 6 grams of carbohydrates. They offer an impressive 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The perfect low-sodium food, they contain only 3 grams of sodium; however, their fat content must be considered if weight is a concern. One ounce of raw seeds contains 13 grams of fat.

Across the nutrient scale, raw sunflower seeds contain impressive figures. Usually found in trace quantities, thiamin registers 0.41 mg, riboflavin 0.04 mg, and niacin 0.81 mg. The champion of folate, raw sunflower seeds contain 40.88 mcg for 1 ounce (28 grams). Minerals make a good showing with 6.68 mg calcium, 0.39 mg iron, 20.38 mg magnesium, 39.63 mg potassium, and 0.29 mg zinc. Because raw sunflower seeds are high in phosphorous, eat them in small quantities to prevent loss of calcium.

One of the richest sources of vitamin E with 50.27 IU for 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams), raw sunflower seeds are a powerful antioxidant that rids the body of harmful free radicals that pose risk for heart disease.

The figures for toasted sunflower seeds are slightly lower for most nutrients while calories are slightly higher at 175 for one ounce (28 grams). The fat content goes up to 16.1 grams, 1.7 grams saturated. Protein rates 5 grams with fiber at 3 grams.

Unsalted sunflower seed butter provides 164 calories for one ounce (28 grams) with 6 grams of protein. Total fat registers 13.5 grams with 1.4 grams saturated. Vitamin A content is 15 IU, while folic acid jumps to 67.3 mcg. The seed butter has a good range of B vitamins with the exception of the absence of B12. Calcium levels measure 34.6 mg, iron 1.3 mg, and magnesium 105 mg. There's even a good supply of zinc with 1.5 mg.

Sprouted sunflower seeds produce impressive nutritional data. Imagine, a little sprouted sunflower seed contains enough nutrients to start a whole new plant growing, one that can reach 6- to 12-foot (1.8 to 3.7 m) heights. In the germination process, all nutrients, including enzymes and trace minerals, multiply 300 to 1200%.

One of the richest sources of protein, 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) of sprouted sunflower seeds contains 22.78 grams. The mineral content soars in the sprouted state. That 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) offers a notable 116 mg of calcium, 5.06 mg of zinc, 689 mg of potassium, 1.75 mg copper, and 354 mg of magnesium.

Vitamins increase during sprouting when the seeds are producing a new life. Vitamin A increases to 50,000 IU, and Vitamin E offers 52.18 mg, while Vitamin D provides 92.0 IU for 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams). The Vitamin B family offers niacin at 4.50 mg, riboflavin at 0.25 mg, and thiamin at 2.29 mg. Sprouted sunflower seeds are also a rich source of iron, providing 6.77 mg for 31/2 ounces (100 grams) that can be a benefit to people with anemia.

Mature sprouted sunflower seeds are a rich source of chlorophyll noted for cleansing or detoxifying the liver and the blood. Chlorophyll benefits many functions within the body including building blood supply, revitalizing tissue, calming inflammation, activating enzymes, and deodorizing the body. Most commercial breath fresheners contain chlorophyll.

DietAndNutrition Microgreens

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