Sunflower seeds are some of the most widely used seeds around the world. They are included in many different cuisines and they can be implemented in your diet in many different ways. The sunflower seeds can be found in some multi-grain bread, nutritional bars and often they are eaten salted or unsalted, straight from the bag.
Sunflower seeds are great as a low-carb snack between meals as they are packed with nutrients, like healthy fats, vitamins such as Vitamin E and minerals like Magnesium and Selenium, which make this seed beneficial to your health.
Their cholesterol content is 0, so that makes them a superfood for your heart. Their high Vitamin E content makes them a great anti-inflammatory food and it helps keep your cardiovascular system stay healthy. Their high magnesium content also helps calm nerves, muscles and blood vessels. (*)
However, while they have a great nutritional value and they are low on carbs, they aren’t carb-free. Only 100g of dried sunflowers can reach your daily limit of 20g of carbohydrates. That’s why it’s important to watch out on the serving size when you consume them.
What Are Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are the seeds from sunflowers. One sunflower isn’t just one single plant, in fact, they are created from multiple plants that connect together to create the large heads we see. Even the bright yellow flower petals are separate plants that absorb sunlight.
The sunflower seeds are harvested from the large flowerheads. One flowerhead can have from 1000 to 2000 sunflower seeds. There are three main types of sunflowers that are grown- linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. One is used for sunflower oil and the others are grown for the seeds we consume.
Sunflower seeds come in shells, the first type- grown for oil has a solid black shell that is used when extracting the oil. The second and third types are grown for the consumption of the seeds and have a shell that’s stripped with black and white lines.
The flavor of the sunflower can be described as nutty, with a firm, but tender texture. They are often salted and roasted or dried to enhance their nutty flavor even more.
Sunflower seeds can be consumed in many different ways. When they are salted and roasted they make a great snack and a great substitute for the times where you crave salty snacks like potato chips. If you like to add a little crunch to your salad you can just toss them over and enjoy the nutty flavor that way. You can also add them to your yogurt for that extra flavor.
Sunflower seeds are often eaten roasted and salted, but they can be eaten in many ways such as- raw, roasted or dried, salted or unsalted, all depending on the preference and how you intend to use them.
Here are the nutritional facts of 100g of dried sunflower seeds (*):
Are Sunflower Seeds Keto-friendly?
Serving size of 30 grams of sunflower seeds has 6g of carbohydrates which means that they are the type of food that you should be careful about when being on the keto diet. Sunflower seeds also have high potassium, magnesium and sodium content (if they are salted) which can help with balancing the electrolytes and retaining water in the body, and therefore avoid or help manage the “keto flu”.
You can consume them in moderation and with caution. That is mostly because, for such a small seed, you can easily reach the daily limit of 20 grams and throw off your carb intake completely. Sunflower seeds are also very calorie-dense and most of their calories come from their fat content. If you are looking out for your calorie intake, the idea of consuming them in moderation is even more advisable.
Additionally, there is also some research done on men, women, and children that shows that sunflower seeds have a natural higher content of Cadmium- a heavy metal that can harm your kidneys if taken in large doses over a longer period of time. (*)(*).
Keeping all that in mind, if you are following a strict keto diet, then sunflower seeds need to be consumed in moderation.
Yes sunflower seeds are keto-friendly. You could fit a serving size of 30 grams of sunflower seeds into your daily carb intake. Make sure to allocate your daily carbs limit for other vegetables too.
100 grams of sunflower seeds contain a total carbohydrate content of 20 grams, out of which fiber are 9 grams and 11 grams are net carbs.
Sunflower seeds are often used in restaurants in salads or yogurt along with other types of nuts and seeds and they can also be served as an appetizer. They are also often eaten raw, roasted or dried with or without salt.
Sunflower seeds on the keto diet should be consumed with great caution and in moderation because even though they are a low-carb food they can easily reach your daily carb limit. They are great for those who are at the beginning of their keto journey and are experiencing the “keto flu” because of the minerals that they contain.
However, if you are on a strict keto diet, the sunflower seeds are not the best fit for you, as you can find other lower carb foods that keep you in ketosis!