Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds: (Nutrition Data Comparison)

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All seeds have a lot of vitamins and minerals and are generally considered healthy foods (at least compared to other foods).

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are the most popular snack seeds, so let’s put them head-to-head to see which is better for your diet.

All data on this page is per 100 grams of each seed.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds

To start with, let’s look at the macro profiles of these seeds.

  Pumpkin Seeds Sunflower Seeds
Energy (kcal) 559 584
Protein (g) 30.2 20.8
Total Lipid (g) 49.0 51.5
Carbohydrate (g) 10.7 20.0
Fiber (g) 6.0 8.6
Sugars (g) 1.4 2.6

The profiles are fairly similar, but a few things stand out:

  • Both seeds have a similar amount of calories and fat
  • Sunflower seeds have about double the carbohydrates, and a bit more fiber
  • Pumpkin seeds have significantly more protein (about 50% more)

Omega 3 and 6 Fat Ratios of Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds

Omega fats are essential to good health, but most people get way too many omega 6 fats, and not enough omega 3 fats. Ideally, research suggests that the ideal ratio of omega 6 to 3 fats should be 4 or below.

Some seeds have great omega 3 to 6 fat ratios, but pumpkin and sunflower seeds do not, as shown in the table below.

  Pumpkin Seeds Sunflower Seeds
Omega 3 Fats (g) 0.12 0.06
Omega 6 Fats (g) 20.7 23
Omega 6:3 Ratio 172.5 383.3

Both pumpkin and sunflower seeds have essentially zero omega 3 fats, while also having a substantial amount of omega 6 fats.

SUMMARY

In practical terms, most people should not eat a large quantity of either seed on a regular basis unless they’re getting a lot of omega 3 fats from other sources.

Vitamins and Minerals of Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds

Seeds really shine when it comes to the nutrients in them.

The table below shows the vitamins and minerals that are found in significant amounts in this pair of seeds, and there’s quite a few of them.

I’ve included a column with the general RDA for an adult (your specific one may vary) so that I could sort the nutrients from most abundant to least.

  RDA Pumpkin Seeds Sunflower Seeds
Vitamin E (mg) 15 2.2 35.2
Manganese (mg) 2.3 4.5 2.0
Phosphorus (mg) 700 1230.0 660.0
Magnesium (mg) 400 592.0 325.0
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.3 1.5
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.1 1.3
Selenium (µg) 55 9.4 53.0
Zinc (mg) 11 7.8 5.0
Folate (µg) 400 58.0 227.0
Niacin (mg) 16 5.0 8.3
Iron (mg) 18 8.8 5.3
Potassium (mg) 2000 809.0 645.0
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.4
Choline (mg) 550 63.0 55.1
Vitamin K (µg) 75 7.3 0.0
Calcium (mg) 1200 46.0 78.0

Neither profile is clearly better than the other, which means that unless you’re looking for a specific nutrient, mixing seeds like these is usually best.

The table shows that:

  • Pumpkin seeds are much higher in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium
  • Sunflower seeds are higher in vitamin E, thiamin, vitamin B-6, selenium, folate, and niacin

Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds: Which is Healthier?

Pumpkin seeds are arguably a bit healthier than sunflower seeds, just because they have significantly more protein.

Overall, both seeds are very similar in calories, fat, omega fat ratios, and even vitamin and mineral profiles. However, if someone is looking for a particular vitamin or mineral, they might consider one seed healthier than the other in their situation.

Are Pumpkin Seeds or Sunflower Seeds Better for Keto?

While both pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds have similar levels of fats, pumpkin seeds have fewer net carbohydrates and are better for keto.

In a 100 gram serving, pumpkin seeds have just under 5 grams of net carbohydrates, while sunflower seeds have about 11 grams.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.