I love snacking on salted sunflower seeds in the shell, instead of high-carb popcorn, while watching movies. They’re my “go-to” when I’m craving something salty for a snack. The unshelled variety takes more time to eat, which prevents overindulging.
You can sprinkle shelled sunflower seeds on salads to add flavor and crunch. Or add them to chicken-salad to jazz up your lettuce wraps.
You can even add a few tablespoons of sunflower seed butter to your smoothies (instead of peanut butter) along with a spoonful of cocoa to make a healthy chocolatey-nutty tasting treat. I have included a recipe for homemade low carb sunflower seed butter later in this article, so keep reading…
Are Sunflower Seeds Keto-Friendly?
Sunflower seeds are a popular snack that can make a good addition to your Keto diet, as long as you stick to a 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of shelled sunflower seeds.
Since dehydration is common on the Keto diet and the main cause of the “Keto flu” choosing the salted variety of sunflower seeds could help your body absorb water and restore electrolytes.
How Many Carbs are in Sunflower Seeds?
Stick to a ¼ cup serving, which yields a moderate 7 grams of carbs.
There are 20 grams of carbs in 100 grams of shelled sunflower seeds. This is much too high for a low carb meal plans, like the Keto diet.
How Many Calories are in Sunflower Seeds?
If you are on a calorie-reduction diet, you should stick to ¼ cup serving of shelled sunflower seeds, which contains 194 calories.
There are 584 calories in a 100 grams of shelled sunflower seeds (roughly ¾ of a cup). Nuts and seeds are typically high-fat foods; therefore, they can rack up calories quickly in just a small serving.
Interesting Facts About Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are grown in the dark brown center part of the Sunflower. The three main varieties of sunflower seeds are linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. Each of these types of seed has its own unique nutritional profile.
The process of pollination enables the sunflower to produce its seeds. The brown center of this flower is called the “stamen” of the male plant or the “stigma” of the female. The stamen is composed of pollen. The stigma of the female plant receives the pollen from the male plant, which then travels down to the unfertilized seeds.
Both humans and wildlife consume sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds can be stored and then planted a year later for a whole new crop of sunflowers.
Sunflower oil derived from sunflower seeds has many uses: in cooking, to soften leather, condition hair, treat wounds, as medicine, to thin paint, animal feed, and even bio-diesel.
A single sunflower can grow up to 2000 seeds.
The sunflower’s head is actually made up of 1000 to 2000 individual flowers joined at the base. The large yellow petals which are found around the edge are also individual flowers that absorb the sun’s rays, but do not develop into seeds.
Sunflower seeds are either entirely black or black with a white stripe. The black seeds are typically used to make sunflower oil and the striped seeds are most often eaten as snacks.
Based on a 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of shelled sunflower seeds. To calculate net carbs, subtract total carbs in grams from fiber in grams.
Protein: 6 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Total carbs: 6 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fiber deducted from total carbs equals 4 grams of net carbs per ounce.
Low Carb Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe
This natural seed butter is low in calories and carbs. 1 tablespoon contains only 124 calories, 12 grams of healthy fat, 3 grams of total carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. (Subtracting the fiber from the total carbs, calculates to only 1 gram of net carbs per tablespoon.)
- 1 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Sugar-free, non-granular, confectioner’s sweetener of choice (Example: Swerve Confectioners)
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sunflower seeds on to a parchiment-lined cookie sheet and toast them until they turn golden brown. Remove the sunflower seeds from the oven and let them cool on a separate plate, not on the pan or they may burn. Pour them into a food processor or blender and add salt.
- With the blender on low and using short bursts, begin to grind the sunflower seeds. They will turn into a powdery meal will become fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and blend. Scrape the sunflower seed meal from the outer edge of the blender towards the middle with a spatula. Add more oil and the mixture slowly begins to turn into “butter”.
- Add the remaining oil and turn the blender up to medium-high and let it grind down until it smooths out even more. Add the confectioner’s sweetener at this point and blend to combine. When done, it will still be grainy looking, but smooth. (If you prefer yours a little crunchy, blend the mixture less.)
- Turn off the blender and taste the sunflower seed butter. It should be a little salty and slightly sweet. Adjust to your preference.
- Place into a Tupperware container and store in the refrigerator.
Are Sunflower Seeds Healthy?
Studies show that eating sunflower seeds may benefit health in several ways. Sunflower seeds are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, such as vitamin E, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Research also shows that these tiny but nutrient-packed seeds might even have antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Sunflower seeds are also a good source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, and iron. They can be a healthy addition to your diet; however, like most things in life, moderation is key.
A 1-ounce serving of sunflower seeds is an excellent source of minerals like phosphorus and potassium. They are also rich in selenium, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Not only that, they’re packed with an array of vitamins; like, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and B6.
As with peanuts, it’s best to opt for unsalted varieties. However, for Keto dieters dealing with dehyrdration, the additional salt could actually help restore hydration levels and combat the dreaded Keto flu.
Are Sunflower Seeds Gluten-Free?
Gluten is only naturally found in some grains, like wheat, so sunflower seeds would not naturally contain gluten.
With that being said, many processing plants contaminate other products because they process wheat on the same machines as sunflower seeds, or use flour to prevent sticking or clumping of the seeds.
Shelled sunflower seeds may be the best option for individuals with gluten-intolerence. Always be sure to check the packaging to see if the product may contain traces of wheat. You can also grow your own sunflowers in your yard and when they mature, roast their seeds yourself to ensure they remain gluten-free.
Are Sunflower Seeds Fattening?
Sunflower seeds can be fattening if you don’t keep your portion sizes in check. Measure out a 1 ounce serving (4 tablespoons). Sunflower seeds are particularly high in healthy fat: A serving delivers 14 grams of fat, containing a mix of of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Eating too much of any food can cause you to gain weight. If you more than the recommended amount, you could be racking up way more calories than you intended. Eating too many sunflower seeds on top of your regular diet may lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain. So get out your measuring spoons, instead of absent-mindedly snacking on them directly out of the bag. This will ensure that you don’t overindulge.
Sunflower seeds are a rich source of the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats that have been shown to improve heart health; however, they’re also a source of saturated fatty acids. An excess of fatty acids may lead to increased levels of lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting our saturated fat intake to no more than 5% of our daily calorie intake, about 12 grams of fat per day.
If you like other kinds of seeds you can also read about carbs Pumpkin Seeds