Nutritional Benefits You Need to Know About Sunflower Butter

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Sunflower Butter (also known as Sunflower Seed Butter) has become a popular food that is nutritious, convenient, and delicious. It is a safer choice for people with nut allergies and peanut allergy. 

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History of Sunflower Butter

Nut and seed butters have boomed over the last two decades. Nut butters and seed butters are staple foods of many Americans. You can find almond butter, cashew butter, hemp seed butter, sesame seed butter, walnut butter, and many others. Over 3 million U.S. adults today are allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, or both (source)

types of seeds

Sunflower seeds are derived from the sunflower plant, Helianthus Annuus, which originated in present-day Arizona and New Mexico by American Indians in 3000 BC (source).

Sunflower butter was produced in the 1980s but failed to meet the palatability standards set by peanut butter due to its bitter taste and poor texture (source).

In 2002, a new sunflower seed butter was produced that closely matched the color, mouthfeel, and texture of peanut butter. It was later branded as SunButter (source).

Sunflower seed butter or sunflower butter comes from pulverizing roasted sunflower seeds and adding other ingredients like salt and coconut sugar for flavor.

Types of Sunflower Butter

You can make sunflower seed butter at home using a fairly straightforward recipe. You can get creative with homemade recipes by adding ingredients like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and coconut oil. 

Roasting sunflower seeds prior to processing may improve the flavor. See below for information on roasting sunflower seeds. 

roasted sunflower seeds in a while bowl

Or, if you prefer store-bought, there are many brands to choose from. Some brands offer sunflower butter varieties in different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, maple syrup, and honey. Most grocery stores carry at least a few options. 

There are natural types, crunchy types, no sugar added types, organic types, and sprouted sunflower butter types as well.

How to Roast Sunflower Seeds

According to a study (source), the roasting conditions of sunflower seeds has a significant impact on the nutrition, color, and spreadability of sunflower butter.

Roasting is critical to avoid a dull-colored and poor tasting sunflower butter (source).

pan roasted sunflower seeds in a cast-iron pan

You can roast raw sunflower seeds in two ways: oven-roasting or stovetop roasting.

Stovetop Method:

Place raw sunflower seeds in a pan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. They should be roasted until lightly golden and constantly stirred so that they do not burn (source).

Oven Method:

To make sunflower seeds in the oven, you can heat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheight and place a single layer of sunflower seeds on top of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Occasionally, you can stir these too and bake until lightly golden; about 10–15 minutes (source).

Sunflower Seed Butter Nutrition

Calories200
Protein6 grams
Fat18 grams
Carbohydrate7 grams
Fiber2 grams
According to Food Data Central (source) two tablespoons of sunflower seed butter typically provide.
Sunflower seed butter in a jar

Compared to peanut butter and almond butter, sunflower butter provides more Monounsaturated Fats, Magnesium, Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorus, and Copper  (source).

Sunflower seed butter also has less Saturated Fat and more Vitamin E, Iron, and Manganese compared to peanut butter (source).

Sunflower Butter Benefits

Sunflower seed butter goes beyond just being a trendy alternative to peanut butter. Sunflower butter offers considerable health benefits including being a safer option for those with food allergies. 

Here’s a summary of Sunflower Butter Benefits with more details below:

  • Source of Protein
  • Healthy Fat Source
  • Provides Magnesium
  • Source of Vitamin E
  • Provides Zinc

Source of Protein

Sunflower butter is rich in protein, like many other nut and seed butters.

Protein is a macronutrient that your body needs to sustain cells, tissues, muscles, body organs, hair, skin, and nails. Fluid balance and immune health are a few of the many vital roles of protein.

sunflower seeds in a heart-shaped bowl

Healthy Fats Source

Heart-healthy fats are crucial for all healthy diets. Rich in monounsaturated fats, sunflower seed butter may help increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. These natural oils contribute to a pleasant mouth feel and help you stay full after eating.

Provides Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for maintaining bone and tooth health (source). Low intakes of magnesium are associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes (source).

Two tablespoons of sunflower butter provide 30% of your daily value of magnesium (source).

Source of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that combats cell-damaging free radicals. It also helps to maintain a healthy immune system (source).

Two tablespoons of sunflower butter provide almost 1/2 of your daily value of Vitamin E (source).

Provides Zinc

Zinc deficiency is very risky as it can lead to pregnancy complications and increased susceptibility to illnesses like the common cold and viruses (source).

Two tablespoons of sunflower butter provide 12% of your daily value of zinc (source).

sunflower butter blog infographic that lists nutritional benefits
Sunflower Butter Nutritional Benefits Infographic

Is Sunflower Butter Diet-Friendly?

These days, many people and families follow special diets for many reasons. You, too, might be following a special diet.

Sunflower butter is profoundly compatible with most diets. It is politely paleo, kindly keto, decidedly dairy free, and generously gluten-free.

food allergens: shellfish, eggs, wheat, soy, milk, and treenuts.

The benefits don’t stop there! Sunflower butter is free of all eight common allergens (wheat, soy, shellfish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and eggs).

If you are vegan or vegetarian, it is safe to consume sunflower seed butter.

Sunflower Butter Ingredients

Sunflower butter is made by many manufacturers and in many varieties.

Some have added sugar, salt, dietary fats and flavoring. In case of food allergies or sensitivities, please read all labels carefully and consider purchasing a product that contains only a single ingredient.

Some brands of sunflower butter are single ingredient foods, meaning that the only ingredient in roasted and ground sunflower seeds.

Many brands of sunflower seed butter are manufactured in nut free facilities. Be sure to check labels.

Recipes Made With Sunflower Butter

Sunflower butter is a versatile ingredient and can be used as a sandwich spread, a dip, in savory main dishes and in desserts. 

Generally speaking, sunflower butter can be substituted for other nut and seed butters.

Delicious Recipes using Sunflower Butter

Bottom Line

Sunflower seed butter is a highly nutritious allergy-safe food that goes beyond just being a peanut butter alternative.

This protein-promising spreadable food offers whole body benefits from the depths of your cells and tissues to the top of your skin and hair.

You can purchase store-bought sunflower butter or make your own at home by roasting raw sunflower seeds. Sunflower butter can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. 

Sunflower butter is simple to make at home, but it can be adapted to a wide variety of special diets and used in many recipes.


15 healthy recipes using sunflower butter graphic with food images

Authors

  • Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She has a Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa enjoys helping clients in her private practice.

  • Gabrielle McPherson is a Registered Dietitian and Freelance Writer. Gabrielle has a masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and a bachelors degree in Dietetics. She has worked extensively with pediatrics and works as a freelance health and nutrition writer.

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