Sunflowers produce edible seeds.
Sunflowers are native to North America, and the American Indians cultivated them for the high nutrition content and energy. While the soft interior kernel is safely edible, the hard shell may cause intestinal problems. Does this Spark an idea?
Sunflower seeds are a good source of dietary fiber recommended by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, particularly for people allergic to peanuts . Fiber binds water in the digestive tract, improving bowel function and reducing the risk of inflammation and colon cancer.
Sunflowers seeds may be eaten by the kernel or with the shell. Removing the shell reduces fiber content. Sunflower kernels are safe to eat, but sunflower shells are hard, chewy and not easily digested. Eating the shells may cause painful intestinal obstructions or puncture the lining of the digestive tract.
Physicians have encountered patients with severe obstipation after consuming sunflower shells, needing surgery for impaction of the rectum. Patients suffering from diverticulosis are warned against eating sunflower shells, as the hard shards may become lodged in the small sacs of the intestines.