Sunflower seeds are usually eaten as a balanced snack rather than as part of a meal. They can serve as a garnish or ingredient in many tried-and-true recipes. Actual seeds can be sold as peeled seeds or peeled seeds. The seeds will also sprout and be eaten in a salad. However, eating expired sunflower seeds can cause stomach irritation such as bloating or diarrhea with the rotting of the seeds.
Hulled sunflower seeds are a favorite in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia, as well as Egypt, Syria, Israel, Turkey, and Malaysia, where they may be called geranium or semi-geranium.
In Turkey, Syria, and Israel it can be bought freshly roasted in stores and markets and it is a standard food for sports stadiums, while in Malaysia it can be bought stuffed with a variety of roasted flavors. Fortunately, it is popular in countries around the world, such as Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Spain, China, Morocco, Iran, Canada, and the United States. There are many sources online where you can buy the raw organic sunflower oil.
During the past decades, sunflower oil has become popular all over the world. The oil can be used as-is or it can be processed into polyunsaturated margarine. The oil is usually extracted by applying intense pressure on sunflower seeds and gathering the oil. The protein-rich cake that remains after the seeds have been turned into oil is used as livestock fodder.
Primary sunflower oil (linoleic sunflower oil) is full of polyunsaturated fatty acids (about 68% linoleic acid) and is lower in unhealthy fats, for example, palmitic acid and stearic acid. However, several types of hybrids have been designed to modify the EFA profile of the crop for various purposes.