Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds: Which is Healthier? 

pumpkin seeds vs sunflower seeds

We have seen the popularity of pumpkin and sunflower seeds rise among the health-conscious demographic, and rightfully so. The benefits of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are immense, and if consumed in the right quantity, they have a lot to offer.

Moreover, their tastes can be appreciated quite a lot when thrown into a smoothie bowl, custards, or cakes and cookies. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are often consumed as snacks or added to meals.

In this article, we will detail pumpkin seeds vs sunflower seeds: their taste, origin, texture, health benefits, nutritional value, protein content, and amino acid profile.

Through these, we will try to determine a clear winner to help you choose between the two. Let’s understand sunflower and pumpkin seeds and see if they can be used interchangeably.

Classification For Pumpkin seeds vs Sunflower Seeds

We have classified pumkin seeds and sunflower based on various categories listed below

Classification For Pumpkin seeds vs Sunflower Seeds

1. Origin

Pumpkin seeds are considered to have been first discovered in North America. It was widely used by North Americans, though actual pumpkin seeds have been found in Mexico and can be traced as far back as 7000 BC. Pumpkin seeds have been an integral part of sustenance and medical attention throughout history.

As for sunflower seeds, they have been quite common among the American Indian tribes across North America. According to some evidence, the plant was cultivated in present-day Arizona and New Mexico around 3000 BC. There’s more proof to the fact that sunflower might have been domesticated prior to corn.

2. Taste

Pumpkin seeds are mostly crunchy and salty, with a nutty undertone that adds an earthy touch to these healthy snacks. They can be added to smoothies and custards as a means to introduce some crunch along with the viscosity of the rest of the drink or dessert. They can be toasted or roasted to add a charred flavor to the crunchiness.

As for sunflower seeds, you might expect a mild, nutty flavor once again. Nuts and seeds of these kinds usually tend to carry along an earthy and nutty taste. You can roast sunflower seeds to enhance the flavor or even have them raw. They are obtained from the large flower heads of the sunflower plant.

3. Texture

Pumpkin seeds tend to have a malleable and chewy texture that does not break if snapped so much as it is bent. They are nutty and crunchy, both roasted and raw. These typically oval seeds have an asymmetrically oval shape, a white outer husk, and happen to be slightly light green in color.

Black or grayish sunflower seeds tend to have a tender texture along with their nutty flavor. One more thing that makes sunflower seeds stand out is their high oil content. Sold shelled or unshelled, they can be consumed alone or as a snack. They are often added to various dishes to add a unique taste, nutritional benefits, and texture.

Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds

The health benefits of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are immense. Here are a few things you will be improving with these seeds in your daily diet:

1. Cardiovascular Health

Sunflower seeds are packed with polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for serum lipids. They lower the total cholesterol and low-density (bad) cholesterol levels, leading to a reduced risk of atherosclerosis.

Strict vegans, despite being at a lower risk of developing high cholesterol related health implications, are still not completely immune to it. Hence, it makes sense for them to include cholesterol-reducing foods in their diet.

Sunflower seeds also decrease the chances of myocardial ischemia, ventricular fibrillation, and arrhythmias. As for pumpkin seeds also have cardioprotective qualities such as reducing total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol levels.

2. Diabetes

Both pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds have been studied to harbor protective qualities against hyperglycemic disorders. The former is often recommended to those who have type 2 diabetes as a part of their blood glucose-lowering activities.

The same can be said about pumpkin seeds which can assist in maintaining glycemic control owing to a few components in them, such as nicotinic acid, trigonelline, and D-chiro inositol.

3. Cancer

Sunflower seeds have chemoprotective qualities as well, along with cytotoxic and antioxidant potential owing to a high flavonoids and phenolics content. As for pumpkin seeds also demonstrate cell growth-inhibiting effects on breasts, colon, and prostate cancers. In this regard, pumpkin seeds show a similar effect as that of flax seeds.

Nutritional Value Of Pumpkin And Sunflower Seeds

Here’s a table of the nutritional value posed by both pumpkin and sunflower seeds:

ParametersPumpkin SeedsSunflower Seeds
Energy (kcal)559584
Sugars (g)1.42.6
Carbohydrate (g)10.720.0
Total Lipid (g)49.051.5
Protein (g)30.220.8
Fiber (g)6.08.6

Both the seeds have nearly a similar amount of calories and fat, though sunflower seeds tend to have double the carbohydrates and a little more fiber content. As for pumpkin seeds, they have significantly more protein in comparison to the former.

Protein Content in Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds offer no less than 5.3 grams of protein per ounce, and dried sunflower seeds provide around 21 grams of protein per 100 grams serving. The amino acid profile of sunflower seeds can often be varied, depending on the origin and quality, but in general it contains lysine from 0.56 to 0.66% and methionine ranging from 0.33 to 0.50%.

Here’s the amino acid profile of pumpkin seeds vs Sunflower seeds for per 100 grams serving:

NamePumpkin SeedsSunflower Seeds
Alanine0.74 g1.16g
Isoleucine0.81 g1.139 g
Leucine2.30 g1.659 g
Glutamic acid3.50 g5.579 g
Aspartic acid2.05 g2.446 g
Tryptophan0.60 g0.348 g
Phenylalanine1.30 g1.169 g
Cystine0.40 g0.451 g

Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds: Which is Better? 

All in all, it can be said that pumpkin seeds are arguably a little healthier than sunflower seeds solely because of their significantly higher protein content. But, overall, both these seeds are quite similar in fat content, calories, omega fat ratios, as well as vitamin and mineral profiles.

However, if you happen to be looking for a particular kind of vitamin or mineral, you might consider one seed healthier than its counterpart.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The PRAL value of pumpkin seeds has been calculated to be -14.3, making this food alkaline-forming or alkalizing. Sunflower seeds, however, tend to have a PRAL value of 11.6, meaning these are acidic.

The sunflower seed extract has been touted to have a beneficial effect on body fat, weight, mass, as well as lipid profile. So it can be deemed as a natural anti-obesity herbal extract. However, the majority of your weight loss results come from a well-structured diet plan designed to keep you in a sustained caloric deficit.

According to the PRAL value of both these seeds, pumpkin seeds are more alkaline, and sunflower seeds are mostly acidic. They have a pH number of -14.3 and 11.6, respectively.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of iron for those suffering from issues such as anemia. Their high iron levels help keep your body’s dietary equilibrium afloat. Among other iron-rich vegan food options, sunflower seeds can be considered a good alternative.

1 ounce of pumpkin seeds contains no less than 2.5 mg of iron, so they are a great support system for people suffering from iron deficiency and its side effects.

Sunflower seeds do not have any cholesterol content at all. In fact, they are often recommended for the reduction of cholesterol levels.

Zinc plays an integral role in developing immune cells in our body, and sunflower seeds are quite high in zinc, making it a suggested addition to our daily diets. Here’s another helpful roundup of vegan foods that are super high in zinc.

Pepitas are a kind of pumpkin seeds that do not need to be shelled and can be consumed whole. You get this variety only from Styrian or oilseed pumpkins.

While sunflower seeds do contain more fat than pumpkin seeds, the assumption that it is fattening is a myth. In fact, sunflower seeds can be quite good as a breakfast option during your weight loss journey.

While both these seeds tend to have similar levels of fats, pumpkin seeds usually have fewer net carbohydrates and are thus better for keto diets. For example, in 100 grams of pumpkin seeds, you will have no more than 5 grams of net carbohydrates, which scale to 11 grams when it comes to sunflower seeds.

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