Most of the nutrition information we have is related to sunflower sprouts, which are just seed sprouted in water. Therefore, we generally assume that our sunflower microgreens, which are grown in nutrient rich soil, are more nutritious than sunflower sprouts.
Two of the most reliable sources that are widely researched, well-referenced and relatively undisputed are the following books:
- “Wheatgrass, Sprouts, Microgreens and the Living Food Diet” by Living Whole Foods, Inc.
- “How can I grow and use sprouts as living food?” by world-renowned herbalist Isabel Shipard
Shipard says that sunflower sprouts are made of 24% to 30% protein with 8 essential amino acids present. Futhermore, she says, the following vitamins and minerals are present in varying amounts:
Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B15, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin F, Vitamin H, Vitamin K, Choline, Folic Acid, Inositol, PABA, Calcium, Cobalt, Copper, Flourine, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Sulphur and Zinc.
Shipard also states that, “Due to the enzymes that are activated during sprouting, the sprouts are more easily digested than the dry seeds… The sprouted greens are a richer source of vitamins than the dry seeds… Young leaves of sunflower lettuce are rich in cholorphyll.” Reference: Herbs are Special – Free Sunflower Sprout Nutrition Information
Because all of our sunflower microgreens are grown in our own nutrient rich worm castings from seed to harvest, we are allowing the highest degree of nutrient uptake possible into the sunflower microgreens.
Living Whole Foods, Inc. states that Sunflower Sprouts are “High in fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E. They also contain calcium, phosphorous, iron, iodine, potassium, magnesium and the trace elements zinc, manganese, copper and chromium.” (P. 29 “Wheatgrass, Sprouts, Microgreens and the Living Food Diet”)
We consider this confluence of well-referenced, well-researched, independent sources to be very reliable, and they echo also are reasonably in line with well known information regarding sunflower seed kernels, which is provided below.
Because microgreens are increasing in popularity all over the United States, they are considered an emerging food product. As such, there has been some research done on their nutrition. For example, the University of Maryland and the USDA did an analysis of the nutrient levels in microgreens. They found that microgreens generally have more vitamins and other nutrients than their fully mature counterparts, and in some cases as much as a 40 times greater concentration. Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
There is also nutrition information floating around the internet for “Sunflower Greens” that looks like the following on top:
3oz Sunflower Greens
Serving Size 1cup (85 g)
We did not list the rest of this information set because we do not consider this to be reliable. Although the source is listed as the “USDA National Nutrient Database” when we try to find this information in the actual USDA database, it is simply not present. The database DOES NOT actually contain nutrient information for sunflower greens at all. Therefore, we are not including it here.
There is widely available information as to the nutrition of sunflower seeds, and if we consider how sunflower microgreens grow from the kernel itself in a metamorphic process that sees the kernel disappear entirely, it logically would make sense that the vast majority of the nutrition which is in the seed is maintained in the microgreen, just maybe a little different. As Shipard says, enzymes activated during sprouting cause the vitamin and mineral content to increase in the sprouted greens. We can also readily deduce that much of the oil contained in the seed is carried through to the microgreen based on the oily aftertaste of the greens themselves.
Therefore, it seems plausible to infer that much of the below information about the seed carries over, and is possibly enhanced by, the conversion of the seed to a microgreen. For example, consider the emergence of Vitamins B12, D, and K upon activation of enzymes and exposure to light. This table below is for approximately 4 ounces by weight, or 1/4 pound, dried sunflower seed kernels.
Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26
Full Report (All Nutrients): 12036, Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried
(Click above link to view USDA database) Lookup Date: Jan 22, 2014
Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion
|Nutrient||Unit||Value per 113 g||# of Data Points||Std. Error|
|Water 1 2||g||5.34||5||0.255|
|Total lipid (fat) 1||g||58.15||2||—|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||22.60||—||—|
|Fiber, total dietary 1 2||g||9.7||5||1.883|
|Calcium, Ca 1||mg||88||2||—|
|Iron, Fe 1||mg||5.93||2||—|
|Magnesium, Mg 1||mg||367||2||—|
|Phosphorus, P 1||mg||746||2||—|
|Potassium, K 1||mg||729||2||—|
|Sodium, Na 1||mg||10||2||—|
|Zinc, Zn 1||mg||5.65||2||—|
|Copper, Cu 1||mg||2.034||2||—|
|Manganese, Mn 1||mg||2.203||2||—|
|Selenium, Se 1 5||µg||59.9||11||8.050|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||1.6||—||—|
|Pantothenic acid 1||mg||1.277||2||—|
|Vitamin B-6 1||mg||1.520||2||—|
|Choline, total 1||mg||62.3||—||—|
|Vitamin B-12, added||µg||0.00||—||—|
|Vitamin A, RAE||µg||3||—||—|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||56||—||—|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||µg||0||—||—|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1 3 4||mg||39.74||5||4.981|
|Vitamin E, added||mg||0.00||—||—|
|Tocopherol, beta 1 3||mg||1.33||4||0.125|
|Tocopherol, gamma 1 3||mg||0.42||4||0.178|
|Tocopherol, delta 1 3||mg||0.02||4||0.015|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||µg||0.0||—||—|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 1||µg||0.0||1||—|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||g||5.034||—||—|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||g||20.937||—||—|
|16:1 undifferentiated 1||g||0.023||2||—|
|18:1 undifferentiated 1||g||20.769||2||—|
|22:1 undifferentiated 1||g||0.033||2||—|
|24:1 c 1||g||0.000||2||—|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||g||26.145||—||—|
|18:2 undifferentiated 1||g||26.046||2||—|
|18:3 undifferentiated 1||g||0.068||2||—|
|20:2 n-6 c,c 1||g||0.000||2||—|
|20:3 undifferentiated 1||g||0.000||2||—|
|20:4 undifferentiated 1||g||0.000||2||—|
|20:5 n-3 (EPA) 1||g||0.016||2||—|
|22:5 n-3 (DPA) 1||g||0.000||2||—|
|22:6 n-3 (DHA) 1||g||0.000||2||—|
|Total isoflavones 6||mg||0.0||3||0|
1Nutrient Data Laboratory, ARS, USDA National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program, Wave 9p , 2005 Beltsville MD
2Nutrient Data Laboratory, ARS, USDA Investigation of the carbohydrate fraction of foods . . . raw, processed and prepared , 1985 Beltsville MD
3National Sunflower Association Phytochemicals in sunflower kernel (Helianthus annus L.) and selected tree nuts , 2001 Bismark ND
4M.M. Delgado-Zamarreno, M. Bustamante-Rangel, A. Sanchez-Perez, J. Hernandez-Mendez Analysis of vitamin D isomers in seeds & nuts with & without coupled hydrolysis by liquid chromatography & coulometric detection , 2001 J. Chromatogr. A. 935 pp.77-86
5O.E. Olson, I.S. Palmer Selenium in foods purchased or produced in South Dakota , 1984 Journal of Food Science 49
Remember the extensive nutrition information table above is for the sunflower seed kernels, NOT for sunflower microgreens. However, since the seed kernel disappears entirely and transforms into the microgreen, most of the nutrients in the seed kernel are carried into the microgreen, while others are created anew, others are drawn up from the nutrient rich soil, and still others remain the same but are made more readily digestible.
To some degree, our own experience of consuming sunflower microgreens dictates how nutrient rich they are because when we eat them, we feel strong and are full of energy. We also seem to have increase resistance to illnesses such as the common cold and flu such that while everyone else around us is getting sick, we remain healthy. Granted, we are definitely not totally immune and a variety of factors need to be considered here, but we feel strongly that consuming microgreens regularly does significantly increase our immune capacity, thereby making us more resilient to common diseases.
These statements of personal experiences eating nutrient rich, living, whole, raw foods such as sunflower microgreens are often echoed by our customers and other microgreen growers and consumers as well. They say, “I feel so alive!”
If you know of or come across any additional quality sources of nutrition information on sunflower microgreens, please leave us a comment below or otherwise contact us and let us know about it!