Can you eat sunflower seed shells?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you eat sunflower seed shells?” We will also discuss the consequences of eating sunflower seed shells, the different ways we can use sunflower seed shells, and whether animals can eat sunflower seed shells or not.

Can you eat sunflower seed shells?

No, you cannot eat sunflower seed shells. While using the sunflower seeds, always make sure to remove the shells as they may be harmful to your health. 

These sunflower seed shells are also commonly known as hulls and are rough, fibrous, and difficult to chew. They are high in lignin and cellulose fibers, which your body cannot digest properly. The shells may even damage your digestive tract, so it is best to avoid the use of sunflower seed shells.

What happens if you eat sunflower seed shells?

Consuming small pieces of these sunflower seed shells may not cause you any harm, but if you consume a significant amount of these shells, they may obstruct your intestinal track, which can be harmful to your health.

These sunflower seed shells can accumulate in your small or large intestine and create a mass known as a bezoar. In many people, this can induce constipation, intestinal pain, and even bowel impaction in some situations.

A bowel obstruction is a large mass of stool that has been trapped in your colon or rectum. In certain cases, it can be painful and cause hemorrhoids or more serious damage, such as a tear in your large intestine. In most cases, the bezoar is routinely removed under general anesthesia, while some cases may require surgery.

Furthermore, sunflower seed shells are known to have rough edges that could scrape your throat if ingested and can even damage your digestive tract when swallowed. So for all the good reasons, it is best to avoid the shells while using sunflower seeds.

How can we use sunflower seed shells?

Sunflower seed shells can be utilized for different purposes like mulching, roughages, and pellets. If you can’t use them for consumption, it doesn’t mean that you have to throw them as waste. Instead, they can be utilized in your garden. You can use them as mulch in your garden to keep weeds at bay around your plants.

Likewise, you can also substitute them for coffee or tea. I know this might sound weird because who on their right mind would use sunflower seed shells for making a drink right? But, not you can use them for making tea, it actually gives amazing flavors and aroma to the tea. 

The best way to prepare tea from these shells is to simply roast the shells in an oven or frying pan before grinding them in a spice grinder. You can use 1 spoonful (12 grams) of tea per 1 cup (240 mL) of hot water.

Furthermore, just like many other agricultural wastes, sunflower seed shells can also be utilized as feed for different farm animals and birds. They make excellent roughage for poultry and ruminant animals such as cows and lambs. In the industrial sector, they are frequently converted into fuel pellets and fiberboard.

For more detailed information on the use of sunflower seed shells in different areas, please click the link here.

Can animals eat sunflower seed shells?

Yes, many ruminant animals like cattle and sheep can eat sunflower seed shells. Although sunflower seed shells are not suitable for consumption by humans, they can be utilized as animal feeds. 

In fact, they provide roughage in their diets. Ash, crude protein, fatty material, reducing sugars, and carbs make up the hulls. Although low in protein and nutritional value, the hulls’ high fiber and carbohydrate content make them well suited for animal feed when combined with greater nutritional value ingredients.

The hulls absorb liquid substances in feed and act as a filler. To facilitate digestion, hulls must be finely ground in the feed. If you have an excess of sunflower seed shells, grind them yourself for animal feed or sell them to a local ruminant feed producer. Sunflower seed shells can also be used as cattle bedding.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Can you eat sunflower seed shells?” We have also discussed the consequences of eating sunflower seed shells, the different ways we can use sunflower seed shells, and whether animals can eat sunflower seed shells or not.

Citations 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-eat-sunflower-seed-shells

https://sciencing.com/what-products-are-made-from-trees-12217179.html

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