Pumpkin Seeds vs Sunflower Seeds: (Nutrition Comparison)


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.


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.

Related Questions

What are the health benefits of consuming these seeds daily?

There are many potential benefits of consuming sunflower and pumpkin seeds on a regular basis (in reasonable quantities) (1, 2, 3):

  • Heart Health: The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in these seeds, along with other heart-healthy compounds, may contribute to cardiovascular health by helping to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Sunflower seeds, in particular, are rich in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants play a role in reducing inflammation and preventing chronic diseases.
  • Weight Management: The combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber in both sunflower and pumpkin seeds can contribute to a feeling of fullness, which may aid in weight management by reducing overall calorie intake.
  • Blood Sugar Regulation: The fiber and healthy fats in these seeds may contribute to better blood sugar control, which is beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage blood sugar levels.
  • Bone Health: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, essential minerals for bone health. Adequate intake of these minerals is important for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
  • Mood and Sleep Regulation: Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. Additionally, the magnesium in both seeds may contribute to better sleep quality.
  • Skin Health: The vitamin E content in sunflower seeds can contribute to healthy skin by protecting against oxidative damage. Additionally, the fatty acids in these seeds may help maintain skin integrity.
  • Immune Support: The vitamins and minerals in sunflower and pumpkin seeds, including zinc and selenium, play essential roles in supporting the immune system and promoting overall immune health.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: The combination of antioxidants, healthy fats, and other bioactive compounds in these seeds may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases.

How can I incorporate these seeds into my diet?

  • Smoothie Boosters: Add a tablespoon of sunflower or pumpkin seeds to your morning smoothie for an extra boost of protein and healthy fats.
  • Salads: Sprinkle roasted or raw seeds on top of your salads for added crunch and nutrition. Make a homemade trail mix with a mix of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits to sprinkle over your salads.
  • Eat as a snack: Roast pumpkin seeds with your favorite seasonings for a delicious and crunchy snack. Mix sunflower and pumpkin seeds with dried fruit for a trail mix.
  • Granola and Cereal: Mix seeds into your homemade granola or sprinkle them over your favorite cereal.
  • Baking: Add seeds to your vegan muffin or bread recipes for added texture and nutrition. Incorporate seeds into vegan energy bars or protein balls for a nutrient-packed snack.
  • Yogurt or Non-Dairy Yogurt: Top your yogurt with a handful of seeds for added flavor and nutrition.

Are Sunflower or Pumpkin seeds good for vegan diets?

Both sunflower and pumpkin seeds are excellent foods to include in a vegan diet. They both contain a good amount of protein, which plant-based diets often lack. In addition, they are some of the best plant-based sources of minerals like zinc and potassium.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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