If you love peanut butter but suffer from peanut allergies, sunflower seed butter is a tempting and tasty alternative. Made from sunflower seed kernels, sunflower seed butter is sold mostly in health food stores or other health-oriented venues. Sunflower seed butter serves as a healthy sandwich spread or peanut butter substitute in cooking.
Low Saturated Fat
Sunflower seed butter contains a large amount of fat, 16 grams per 2-teaspoon serving, about the same as peanut butter. But the good news is that all but 2 grams is unsaturated fat rather than saturated fat. The American Heart Association says that saturated fat is the single highest cause of elevated cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fat, on the other hand, has positive effects on cholesterol levels, raising high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol and lowering low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol.
Sunflower seed butter is fairly low in sodium, with 120 milligrams of sodium per serving. This equals around 5 percent of the daily recommended maximum sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams per day. Excess sodium intake causes fluid retention as well as high blood pressure, medically termed hypertension. Hypertension often leads to heart disease.
Sunflower seed butter contains no cholesterol. In most people, dietary intake contributes only around 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body, while 75 percent is manufactured in the liver, according to the American Heart Association. Watching your dietary intake of cholesterol and limiting it to 300 milligrams per day or less is helpful if you have high cholesterol levels; for most people, dietary measures lowers cholesterol levels. Some people, called dietary non-responders, inherit genes that produce a larger than normal amount of lipids and may need medications to lower cholesterol, registered dietitian Candyce Roberts, M.S. explains.
Sunflower seed butter serves as an excellent non-animal source of protein, with 7 g per serving, or around 14 percent of your daily recommended protein intake. Protein, found in every cell in the body, is necessary for the repair and replacements of tissue, nerves and cells and also plays an important role in normal growth during childhood, adolescence and pregnancy.
Vitamins and Minerals
Like many nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals necessary to keep your body functioning. The water-soluble B-complex vitamins and vitamin C along with fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E are all found in sunflower seeds along with vitamin K. Sunflower seeds supply minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium.