Sunflower Seeds Might Worsen Zits

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Ought to we be involved concerning the pimples, cadmium, and “colonic crunch” related to the consumption of sunflower seeds?

A latest observational examine on pimples reported a “statistically important relationship” between “pimples severity and dietary components comparable to chocolate, dairy merchandise comparable to milk, [and] sunflower seed consumption….” I’ve produced movies on pimples and chocolate and dairy, however I used to be stunned by the sunflower seeds, the subject of my video Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?.

After I take into consideration sunflower seeds, I simply consider a great, whole-food supply of diet that’s been found to decrease levels of cholesterol as a lot almonds, which is fairly good. However do you know there are proper and mistaken methods to eat them? In the event you eat a pound of unshelled sunflower seeds—that’s, eat them with the shell nonetheless on—you may find yourself corked with “a fist-sized mass of shredded sunflower seed shells.” How may a physician diagnose one thing like that? By the “‘colonic crunch’ signal,” after all. Appears like breakfast cereal served in hell, however, relatively, it’s the “palpation of a giant crunchy rectal mass.” You’ll be able to see a photograph of 1 at 1:10 in my video.

Certainly, should you eat sunflower seeds with the shells nonetheless on, you can find yourself with a “sharp, thorny mass,” which is why the so-called sunflower seed syndrome has been described as “a prickly proctological drawback.” It’s been lamented that “individuals who devour well being meals often fall into the lure of believing ‘if some is sweet, extra is healthier.’” On this case, it’s not the quantity that’s the issue, however how they’re being eaten: with the shells nonetheless on. “Maybe this is the reason the syndrome is unusual until the sufferers are kids or adults who’re both impaired or haven’t any expertise with consuming sunflower seeds.”

Most instances involve youthful, “preadolescent kids,” aged 5 to 11, however researchers described the case of a “psychologically sound” 13-year-old woman and “confused the significance of the function of the mother and father guiding their kids, regardless of the age group, concerning the potential issues related to the ingestion of unshelled seeds.”

Does that imply you may eat as many sunflower seeds as you need so long as they’ve been shelled? No—you may overdo even shelled seeds. Merely due to the character of sunflowers, they’re good at drawing the naturally occurring heavy metallic cadmium out of the bottom. So, even when they’re grown in uncontaminated soils, sunflower seeds (or kernels) find yourself with larger cadmium ranges than most meals. Nevertheless, individuals who devour giant quantities of sunflower seeds don’t appear to undergo any untoward results and even find yourself with detectably larger cadmium ranges. What constitutes a “giant” quantity? On this examine, it was outlined as greater than an oz per week, which is sort of a handful, about 150 seeds.

The World Well being Group recommends staying under about 490 micrograms of dietary cadmium per week. In the event you ate a handful of shelled sunflower seeds a day, you’d be effectively under that, however we could get as a lot as 36 micrograms a day from the remainder of our food plan, so I feel one handful a day is an affordable secure higher restrict. 

Okay, however will sunflower seeds give us pimples? You don’t know, till you set it to the check, which researchers did as a result of, in spite of everything, “consuming sunflower seeds is a really pleasant approach of taking part in a medical trial….” Fifty younger adults have been randomized to eat sunflower seeds—or not—for per week. As you may see at 3:23 in my video, the pimples severity index stayed about the identical within the management group, however obtained worse within the sunflower group. This translated into about three further pimples within the sunflower seed group versus solely about one further pimple within the management group. The researchers concluded that “sunflower seed consumption seems to worsen pimples vulgaris; nevertheless, additional proof is required to ban sunflower seed consumption in sufferers with pimples.”


  • Sunflower seeds, a great, whole-food supply of diet, decrease levels of cholesterol as a lot as almonds.
  • They need to be eaten unshelled, as consuming their shells may cause issues, together with “a fist-sized mass of shredded sunflower seed shells.”
  • Due to the character of sunflowers, their seeds are good at drawing cadmium, a naturally occurring heavy metallic, out of the bottom. So, even when grown in uncontaminated soil, the kernels have larger ranges of cadmium than most different meals.
  • The World Well being Group recommends consuming lower than about 490 micrograms of dietary cadmium per week; consuming a handful of shelled sunflower seeds a day within reason secure.
  • Researchers reported a “statistically important relationship” between pimples severity and chocolate, dairy merchandise, and sunflower seed consumption. When put to the check, the pimples of examine individuals within the sunflower group worsened in comparison with these within the management group, main the researchers to conclude that consumption of sunflower seeds seems to worsen pimples vulgaris. Nevertheless, extra proof is required to ban sufferers with pimples from consuming sunflower seeds.

The findings I simply shared have been as shocking to me because the Does Cocoa Powder Cause Acne? revelation. Inquisitive about extra concerning the results of assorted meals and diets on pimples? Take a look at:

In the event you haven’t but, you may subscribe to my movies without cost by clicking here.

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: In the event you haven’t but, you may subscribe to my free movies here and watch my stay shows:

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