Protein powders are increasingly in demand amongst athletes, body-builders and endurance exercisers for their accessibility in providing a nutrition-rich, fast-food supplement to the diet, when time is short or energy needs boosting. They are also of value as supplements for vegans and vegetarians, where optional sources are now providing a rich supply of plant-based proteins from seeds, nuts and sprouted grains.
In addition, concerns about genetic modification of soya protein and potential problems with nut allergies and gluten intolerance make sunflower protein a good choice. It carries approximately 45-55% protein content, in addition to nutrient additives, which can also be marketed as whole meal replacements.
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, of B vitamins (especially thiamine, essential for the nervous system) and the potent antioxidant vitamin E, which combats cell-damaging free radicals.
Sunflower protein is available as a milled flour which can be used as a protein-enriching food additive in baked goods, salad sauces and spreads, or as a powdered supplement which can form part of protein shakes and smoothies. It is generally thought to be more neutral in taste and lighter in colour and texture than some other protein powders.