Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Can you tell me what the health benefits of sunflower seeds are?
A: In general, seeds are classified as tonics in traditional Chinese medicine. Most of them are high in oil content and can assist digestion and regulate the bowels. They are generally safe, although due to the high oil content, you should eat them moderately to avoid weight gain. Make sure that the seeds are fresh and contain no preservatives. Often, sunflower seeds are prepared with salt, which in excess can also have adverse effects.
Otherwise, in moderation, they are a delicious source of many essential oils.