Why Do Baseball Players Eat Sunflower Seeds? Know All The Details

Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Alex PT

Baseball players eat sunflower seeds for a variety of reasons, including keeping their mouths occupied, staying hydrated, getting nutritional benefits, and reducing stress and anxiety. Sunflower seeds may also improve alertness and reaction time.

Why Do Baseball Players Eat Sunflower Seeds?

  1. Tradition:
    Baseball is a sport steeped in tradition, and sunflower seeds have been a fixture of the game for decades. Consuming sunflower seeds has almost become a ritual that connects current players with those who played the game in the past.
  2. Time Filler:
    Baseball games can be long and drawn out, often lasting three hours or more. Chewing and spitting sunflower seeds is a method players use to kill time between innings or while waiting for their turn at bat.
  3. Distraction and Relaxation:
    The repetitive process of cracking open seeds with their teeth can help players find a rhythm and distract their minds from high-pressure situations. It is similar to how some people use worry beads.
  4. Nicotine Replacement:
    In the past, it was common for baseball players to chew tobacco. As the harmful effects of tobacco became more recognized, players started looking for a healthier alternative. Sunflower seeds provided a similar oral fixation without the health risks.
  5. Nutritional Impact:
    Sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that athletes need. They contain Vitamin E, B vitamins, protein, and a decent amount of healthy fats which are vital for an athlete’s wellbeing and performance.
  6. Hydration:
    Many flavors of sunflower seeds contain a significant amount of salt, which can help players stay hydrated. When they sweat, they lose salt, so eating sunflower seeds can help replenish this loss.
TraditionConnects current players with the history of the game.
Time FillerUseful for passing time during longer games.
Distraction and RelaxationRepetitive process can help keep players calm.
Nicotine ReplacementHealthier alternative to chewing tobacco.
Nutritional ImpactProvides vital vitamins, proteins, and healthy fats.
HydrationSalty seeds help replenish lost sodium and maintain hydration.

A Table Showing The Nutritional Values Of The Sunflower Seeds

Nutritional ValueMeasurements 
Calories 163
Saturated fat1.5grams
Monounsaturated fat2.7grams
Polyunsaturated fat9.2grams
Vitamin E37%RDI
Pathogenic acid20%RDI
Folate17% RDI
Vitamin B611%RDI
Zinc 10%

What Are Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are the fruits of the sunflower plant named botanical “Helianthus annuus.” These plants are being harvested from the large flower head of the plant. We say it’s largely because it is 12 inches in diameter and can contain 2,000 seeds. The sunflower seeds that baseball players eat have an encased edible shell with black and stripes. These shells are also called hulls. Sunflower seeds come with a nut-like flavor, it also has a tender texture. To enhance the flavor, sunflower seeds are roasted but you can buy them raw too. 

Is Eating Sunflower Seeds Common In Baseball?

Baseball is a stressful game, not just physically but mentally, a lot of time is wasted during the game and there is a lot of suspense when it’s almost your turn to bat. Even when you are inield, and a play gets to your position, there will be so much pressure and eyes on you. All this could make a player nervous and unsettled sometimes. Even for the fans who are rooting for their favorite team to win. As we have said before, eating is a good stress reliever, also playing with things subconsciously with your fingers, or repeating an action continuously. Sunflower seeds can help you with any of these things, it’s chewable, you have to fiddle it around your fingers to get the seed out, and when eating sunflower seeds, it’s the same process getting out the seed, eating, and spitting repeatedly. 

Is Spitting Common In Baseball? 

Spitting has been in baseball for a very long time, it’s like a tradition just like sitting or pitching. The batter prepares himself by spitting on his gloves and his bat. The dugout floors are mostly dirty because of chewing gums, sunflower seeds, and water that has been spat out. Not only the dugouts, but it also doesn’t look nice on the ballpark too. The batters spit all the time, umpires do the same, catchers lift their masks to spit most times, and the pitchers lick their palms for good grip. 

Are Sunflower Seeds Healthy To Eat?

Sunflower seeds have rich nutrients. One shelled sunflower seed is equivalent to an ounce, a quarter cup, four tablespoons. They are mostly filled with healthy fat which is a mixture of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These fats in show just how healthy these seeds are relating them to heart health. They also have minerals in them, like vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, copper, B6, and zinc. It’s safe to say that a single sunflower seed could give you the complete nutrients your body needs. 

Do You Eat Or Swallow Or Spit Out Sunflower Seeds?

As mentioned before, the seeds have a white and black shell that covers the seeds. The seed inside is the part that’s edible because they are soft for chewing with a butter-like flavor and texture. Some people roast them in their shells and munch them. Baseball players are known for eating them. The shell used to enclose the seed should not be swallowed but spat out because they are not edible. They are tough, fibrous, and very difficult to chew. 

Does The Sunflower Seeds Help For Weight Loss?

The sunflower seeds are good for weight loss. We can say this because of the polyunsaturated fat they contain, it’s also called good fat. It’s good to add sunflower seeds to your weight loss diet also because it’s filled with the relevant minerals like vitamin E, Folate, and copper. It also has protein and fiber. The seeds are a sure bet for weight loss. The seeds are enclosed in a hard shell which you have to crack open to get the seeds out. These seeds can be put in a salad, cereal, and smoothies. 

Is Spitting Banned From Major League Baseball?

Yes! Major league baseball has just released its new safety rules. The most surprising rule of them all is the ban from spitting of any kind on the premises. They banned spitting tobacco, sunflower seeds, or any other paraphernalia. The rules were also updated for pitchers, they are now to carry wet rags when going to the mound so that they don’t have to lick their fingers. Although, we knew it will be like this based on the covid19 protocols. The problem here is we don’t know if this rule has come to stay or not. It won’t be easy for most baseball players if it isn’t changed. 


Most sunflower seeds have a good number of calories in them. sunflower seeds are good when eaten wisely. Also, note that most of the processed sunflower seeds are loaded with salts so they could do much damage to sensitive parts like your heart and kidney. When eaten too much it could cause you to retain water and this can lead to high blood pressure. It is better eaten raw and in smaller quantities to hero the sodium low. The main thing here is that baseball players eat these sunflower seeds cause of their features. We’ve reached the end of this informative article. We hope that this article helped you find resources in your quest to know why baseball players eat sunflower seeds. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments. Thanks!



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