The average cup of sunflower seeds contains 28 grams of carbs. At first glance, that may seem like a lot. That same cup contains roughly 72 grams of fat and 29 grams of protein. Do those nutrition facts mean sunflower seeds are really good–or really bad? Here’s a closer look at sunflower seeds so you can make a smart choice.
Make A Healthy Snack Decision
There are three common varieties of sunflower seeds that you might consume. Linoleic sunflower seeds are the most popular. But, the other two types include high oleic and sunflower oil seeds. Each type has varying amounts of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
Do Sunflower Seeds Contain a Lot of Carbs?
A cup of sunflower seeds will contain roughly 28 grams of carbs. A can of soda contains about 25 grams of carbs. Making that comparison on paper can quickly lead some to a drastic conclusion. Seeing those numbers could even convince you to avoid sunflower seeds altogether. But, is that really the case?
Regardless of what you’re eating, you should definitely aim for portion control. However, you shouldn’t get scared by the carbs in sunflower seeds. The fact is, the carbs in sunflower seeds are very different from the carbs in a can of soda. Eating a cup of sunflower seeds (or even two) will always be healthier than drinking soda.
After all, sunflower seeds are completely natural. They provide your body with a lot of nutrients too. In fact, you’d probably find it difficult to sit down and snack on a whole cup or two of sunflower seeds. That’s because sunflower seeds also contain large amounts of healthy fat and protein. These two things, along with the fiber content, will fill you up quickly.
Are Sunflower Seeds Healthy?
Sunflower seeds are a healthy snack in moderation. The reason why you’ll want to watch your intake has little to do with the carb count, though. Sunflower seeds are a high calorie snack. So, eating too many can lead to weight gain. But, each calorie is definitely worth it. It will surprise you how densely packed each calorie is.
Unlike soda, sunflower seeds come filled with nutrients. If soda is a type of “empty” calorie, you can consider sunflower seeds to be overflowing. Eating sunflower seeds will help you get a quick boost of filling energy. They can even can satiate you in between meals.
Each sunflower seed comes stuffed with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E is one of them. This essential vitamin reduces inflammation and the risk of heart disease. Sunflower seeds also contain folate, which plays a major role in DNA synthesis. Add to the list phosphorus (for bone health), selenium (a powerful antioxidant), and copper (good for the immune system).
Many more also make the list. Like Zinc and Vitamin B6. Finally, sunflower seeds are also very rich in a key mineral: magnesium. Magnesium is something most people don’t get enough of. Sunflower seeds provide a healthy dose.
What About The High Fat Content?
One of the primary health benefits of sunflower seeds comes from the fat content. Sunflower seeds actually contain a lot of fat. But, fear not…it’s healthy fat!
Sunflower seeds primarily contain a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These are naturally occurring, unprocessed fats. That means that they are actually very good for you. In fact, your body needs some amount of these fats in order to function at its best. These healthy fats link to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
In general, they also promote heart health with regular consumption. Experts recommend consuming more of these dietary fats. At the same time, look to reduce your consumption of saturated and trans fat.
According to the American Heart Association, “Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.”
But, it goes back to moderation. Keep in mind that 1 gram of any type of fat will contain 9 calories. That’s more than the calories found in the same amount of carbs and protein combined. So, you need to practice portion control to avoid weight gain.
With all of this in mind, sunflower seeds can definitely contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle. And, there is more than one way to consume this delicious snack.
What About Sunflower Seed Butter?
Thanks to its rich nutrient profile, sunflower seeds are a great addition to seed butters. Here at Betsy’s Best, we blend sunflower seeds into our gourmet Cinnamon Seed Butter. Combined with chia seeds, they make for an enjoyable, sweet, and spreadable butter.
We utilize natural roasted sunflower seeds at the start of the process. This allows the flavor of the sunflower seeds to shine through. In the form of seed butter, sunflower seeds remain a high protein, healthy snack for anytime of day. You can blend it into a shake, spread it on toast, or eat it by the spoonful.
Enjoy Healthy Carbs
Here at Betsy’s Best, we work to promote and support healthy lifestyles through high-quality products that are as delicious as they are good for you. Our sunflower seed butter is no exception. But, if you’re looking to delve into the world of healthy, protein-packed nut butters, we entice you to try them all!