Can You Eat Sunflower Seed Shells?

by Charlie

Sunflower is a popular plant known for its nutritious seeds, used as a snack, and manufacturing vegetable oil. These seeds provide a firm texture and a nutty taste, making them a delicious and healthy meal.

Experts suggest that just 35 grams of sunflower seeds can supply over 80% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E. They are also known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, being quite beneficial to arthritis and asthma patients. 

Incredible benefits for the dried sunflower kernels! But before getting this excellent snack, you need to remove the shell. 

But can you eat the sunflower seed shells? Unfortunately, no. Sunflower seed shells are fibrous and contain a tough texture. Eating them will affect your digestion negatively and the excretion process.

Next time you are harvesting sunflower or eating sunflower seeds, make sure there are no shells. 

Are Sunflower Shells Bad for You? 

Sunflower shell is the by-product that comes from removing the seeds, and they are black. You should not eat them, and when you have kids around, you should keep them away. 

According to experts, if you state you are determined to eat sunflower shells, you will need to take time and chew them properly so that they are digested. And eating lots of them will strain your digestive system resulting in constipation. Doctors agree that it’s not easy to treat sunflower shells induced constipation. 

So, are sunflower shells bad for you? Yes, they can be. Adults, teenagers, and children who have eaten the shells complain of constipation and excruciating pain when trying to pass stool. Some state that their stomach feels like there are clumps of small knives trying to get out of their system. 

Another reason that makes sunflower shells not good for you is the fact that laxatives may not help loosen the stool. Some people have gone to the extent of using mineral oil to assist in the excrement. While mineral oil helps to some extent, it doesn’t alleviate the painful process. You can even land in the ER and feel pain when walking. 

The excretion process becomes challenging because the shells form a fist-like ball that is compact and hard to pass out. 

This can cause pain in the abdomen. And some people have suffered appendicitis because of the sunflower shells, leading to a surgical procedure. 

It’s also not uncommon to hear of people experiencing nausea or diarrhea after eating many sunflower shells. 

Therefore, even when there’s a temptation, do not eat sunflower shells.

How Can You Avoid Eating Sunflower Seed Shells? 

Since it’s clear that sunflower shells are not good for you or your children, how can you avoid eating them? 

The best and safest way is to buy sunflower seed kernels. This also allows you to enjoy the snack better. However, if you want to go the traditional way, take it slow. You can put one seed in your mouth, enjoy the hull’s seasoning and then crack it in your molars. After that, carefully spit out the shell without chewing it. 

There is also another way –but maybe for experts. You can get a handful of unshelled sunflower seeds, put them on one side of the mouth, enjoy the seasoning, remove the shells, and put the seeds in the other cheek to chew later. And while you do all these, you should be careful.

Can Animals Eat Sunflower Shells?

While the shells are unfit for human consumption, they make an excellent meal for animals. They can form the bulk of the diet by providing roughage

Since they have low nutritional value, they are mixed with other products such as crude protein ash, lip material, carbohydrates, and reducing to increase nutrients. T

o prevent digestion issues in your animals, make sure your sunflower seed shells are ground into powder form. They will act as a good filler material providing sufficient roughages for your sheep and cows. 

What are Other Uses of Sunflower Shells?

Maybe the desire to recycle is what made you consider whether you can eat sunflower shells. 

And since they are inedible but bad for your health, what are some of the uses you can them into? Sunflower shells can be used for gardening, fuel, and in the construction industry. 

In gardening, sunflower shells have an allelopathic effect, meaning that they release a chemical in the soil that prevents the growth of other plants like weeds. You can comfortably use the shells for mulch in your flower beds or crop fields. 

The sunflower shells are also used in the construction industry. They are used as recycled materials as a natural fiber wood, which is environmentally friendly since the shells are renewable. This wood fiber is called the Dakota Burl, which is commonly used in applications such as furniture, wall paneling, cabinetry, and award plaques. 

Another popular use of the sunflower shell is as fuel. A kilogram of the sunflower shells has a fuel value of 19.2 megajoules. You can press the shells into fuel logs with other wood products or burn them by themselves. This is a good step towards environmental sustainability as they are more affordable, renewable, thus won’t stress the environment. 

Final Thoughts 

  • Sunflower shells are not suitable for human consumption as they can result in rectum blockage, pricking, and damaging parts of the digestive tracts and can strain your appendix. 
  • You can prevent eating sunflower shells by ensuring you buy shelled seeds or spit the shells after cracking the grain before swallowing the seed. One seed at a time will do. 
  • Sunflower shells are great animal feeds, as long as they are mixed with other nutritional feeds and are properly ground into powder. 
  • Other uses of sunflower shells include using them as fuel, as mulching material in your garden, or the construction industry. 

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