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Sunflower seed vs. Peanut — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Sveta Badalyan by Sveta Badalyan | Last updated on April 16, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Sunflower seed
vs
Peanut

Summary

Sunflower seeds are high in phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, choline, copper, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, A, and C. On the other hand, peanuts provide more potassium, calcium, sodium, and vitamins B3, B5, and folate. Moreover, sunflower seeds have more polyunsaturated fats, carbs, and calories, whereas peanuts are high in protein, oxalate, and monounsaturated and saturated fats.

Introduction

Peanuts, also called groundnuts, are legumes that grow underground. Sunflower seeds originate from the sunflower plant. 

Sunflowers are native to North America, although they are grown in many regions. 

Peanuts are native to South America, most likely in the Andes area. Peanuts are now farmed in a variety of tropical and subtropical climates worldwide. 

Nutrition

This part of the article will compare the nutritional information of sunflower seed kernels and raw peanuts.

Macronutrients and Calories

Sunflower seeds have more fats and carbs, whereas peanuts have more protein. Sunflower seeds are denser compared to peanuts. Peanuts contain 6.5% water, whereas sunflower seeds have 4.8% water

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Carbs +24%
Contains more Other +30%
Contains more Protein +24.2%
Contains more Water +37.4%
Equal in Fats - 49.24
21% 51% 20% 5% 3%
Protein: 20.78 g
Fats: 51.46 g
Carbs: 20 g
Water: 4.73 g
Other: 3.03 g
26% 49% 16% 7% 2%
Protein: 25.8 g
Fats: 49.24 g
Carbs: 16.13 g
Water: 6.5 g
Other: 2.33 g
Contains more Carbs +24%
Contains more Other +30%
Contains more Protein +24.2%
Contains more Water +37.4%
Equal in Fats - 49.24

Calories

Compared to peanuts, sunflower seeds provide more calories per hundred grams. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 584 calories and 567 calories, respectively. One cup of peanuts (146 grams) provides 828 kcal, whereas one cup of sunflower seeds (140 grams) has 818 kcal.

Protein

Both are good sources of protein. Peanuts have more protein than sunflower seeds. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 20.78 grams and 25.8 grams of protein, respectively. Both sunflower seeds and peanuts provide all essential amino acids, but sunflower seeds are higher in all of them except for histidine, leucine, and phenylalanine.

Fats

Sunflower seeds and peanuts are high in fats. Compared to peanuts, sunflower seeds have slightly more fat. A hundred grams of sunflower seed has 51.46g of fat, whereas a peanut provides 49.24g. Peanuts are high in monounsaturated fat, whereas sunflower seeds have more polyunsaturated fat and less saturated fat.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -29%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +48.7%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +31.8%
10% 40% 50%
Saturated Fat: 4.455 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 18.528 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 23.137 g
14% 53% 34%
Saturated Fat: 6.279 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 24.426 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 15.558 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -29%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +48.7%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +31.8%

Fatty acids

Sunflower seeds and peanuts are high in omega-6 fatty acids. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 23g and 15.6g of omega-6 fatty acid, respectively. Sunflower seeds contain also 0.014g of omega-3 fatty acid, whereas peanuts lack it.

Carbohydrates

A hundred grams of sunflower seeds have 20g of total carbs, whereas peanuts provide 16.13g. Compared to peanuts, sunflower seeds have more net carbs. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 11.4g and 7.63g of net carbs, respectively. They have equal amounts of dietary fiber. A hundred grams of sunflower seed and peanut have 8.5g of fiber.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
100%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 2.5 g
Glucose: 0 g
Fructose: 0 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g

Cholesterol

Sunflower seeds and peanuts are cholesterol-free.

Vitamins

Sunflower seeds have over two times more vitamin B1 (thiamin)2.5 times more B2 (riboflavin), and four times more B6 (pyridoxine) and E. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 35.17mg and 8.33mg of vitamin E, respectively. 

In contrast, peanuts have more vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), folate, and 1.5 times more vitamin B3 (niacin). Moreover, sunflower seeds have 1.4mg of vitamin C and 50IU of vitamin A, whereas peanuts lack them. Both do not have vitamins K, D, and B12.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
3
Peanut
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +322.2%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +131.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +163%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +286.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +44.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +56.4%
Equal in Folate - 240
Equal in Choline - 52.5
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 3% 704% 0% 5% 370% 82% 157% 68% 311% 171% 0% 31% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 167% 0% 0% 160% 32% 227% 107% 81% 180% 0% 29% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +322.2%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +131.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +163%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +286.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +44.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +56.4%
Equal in Folate - 240
Equal in Choline - 52.5

Minerals

Sunflower seed has more phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, choline, and copper. Sunflower seed also has over seven times more selenium. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 53µg and 7.2µg of selenium, respectively. 

On the other hand, peanuts provide more potassium and calcium. Compared to peanuts, sunflower seed has over two times less sodium content. In a 100g serving, sunflower seed and peanut have 9mg and 18mg of sodium, respectively.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Iron +14.6%
Contains more Magnesium +93.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +75.5%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Zinc +52.9%
Contains more Copper +57.3%
Contains more Selenium +636.1%
Contains more Calcium +17.9%
Equal in Potassium - 705
Equal in Manganese - 1.934
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 24% 197% 233% 283% 57% 2% 137% 600% 255% 290%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 28% 172% 120% 162% 63% 3% 90% 382% 253% 40%
Contains more Iron +14.6%
Contains more Magnesium +93.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +75.5%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Zinc +52.9%
Contains more Copper +57.3%
Contains more Selenium +636.1%
Contains more Calcium +17.9%
Equal in Potassium - 705
Equal in Manganese - 1.934

Oxalate

The oxalate content of peanuts is equal to 76mg. Sunflower seeds are oxalate-free.

Glycemic Index

Peanuts have a glycemic index of 13The glycemic index of sunflower seeds is equal to 20. Sunflower seeds tend to have a higher glycemic index than peanuts. However, the glycemic index of both falls in the low category.

Acidity

The Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) is a method used to measure the acidity of the food. The PRAL value indicates the food's ability to break down into acids or bases inside the body. Sunflower seeds have a PRAL value of 11.6, whereas the PRAL level for peanuts is 6.2. That means sunflower seeds are more acid-forming than peanuts.

Weight Loss & Diets

After 12 weeks of consuming 500 mg/day of sunflower chlorogenic acid (CGA) extract, the study found a reduction in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and body weight through loss of mass in the fat compartment, not the muscle compartment (1).

Eating peanuts may suppress appetite and reduce food intake (2).

Between these two, peanuts are the better choice for a low-calorie, low-carb, and low-fat diet. Peanuts are more suitable for a low glycemic index diet.

Health Benefits

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

The intake of peanuts positively impacts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), particularly when considering the type of peanut oil, such as high-oleic peanut oil and peanut sprouts, and when consumed by healthy individuals. However, peanut consumption shows no significant influence on other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (3).

Sunflower seeds contain chlorogenic acid, which may reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation susceptibility and decrease LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) levels in the blood (1).

In addition, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of magnesium and can significantly contribute to reducing arterial blood pressure. Consuming 100g of these seeds can cover up to 77% of the daily magnesium requirement.

Diabetes

According to the study, seeds like sunflower, flax, and pumpkin play a role in lowering glucose levels and the risk of developing diabetes and treating type 2 diabetes. Bioactive components, such as chlorogenic acid in sunflower seeds, help with insulin resistance in pre-diabetic persons and regulate glucose and insulin metabolism (4). 

According to the study, consuming more nuts and peanut butter may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in women (5). 

The high MUFA content of peanut butter may also promote insulin sensitivity and encourage a decrease in the glycemic response in insulin-resistant individuals. Peanuts are high in arginine and protein, which act as insulin secretagogues. They also contain a high concentration of zinc, which may activate the tyrosine kinase receptor and improve insulin sensitivity (2). 

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

Common triggers for hypersensitivity reactions account for 90% of cases, including cow's milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Among these, peanuts/tree nuts are particularly notable as a prevalent food allergen, capable of inducing severe and potentially fatal reactions upon ingestion. Peanut allergies typically manifest in the early years of life and often persist throughout one's lifetime, posing a constant risk of life-threatening reactions (6).

Symptoms related to the skin encompass urticaria, angioedema, and intermittent exacerbation of pre-existing eczema. Gastrointestinal symptoms may involve abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Respiratory manifestations include recurrent coughing, stridor, and wheezing (7).

Avoiding nuts is an essential aspect of nut allergy management. However, oral immunotherapy is considered an alternative treatment option (8).

While sunflower seeds are an uncommon source of allergy, some cases of sunflowers-related occupational allergies have been documented. Bird breeders are notably prone to developing allergies to sunflowers (9).

Classification

Sunflower seeds and peanuts belong to the Plantae kingdom.

Sunflower seeds are part of the Asteraceae family, belonging to the Helianthus genus and the Helianthus annuus species

Peanuts are part of the Fabaceae family, belonging to the Arachis genus and the Arachis hypogaea species.

Taste

Sunflower seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, while peanuts have an abundant and earthier flavor.

The texture of sunflower seeds varies depending on whether the seeds are in their shells or hulled. They can be crunchy in the shell but softer when hulled. On the other hand, peanuts have a thick texture, particularly when roasted. They might be crunchy for snacking or creamy when processed into peanut butter.

Uses

Sunflower seeds and peanuts have a variety of uses in culinary applications and as ingredients in different products. 

One of the most popular uses of peanuts is peanut butter, a creamy or crunchy spread. For those seeking an alternative to peanut butter, sunflower seed butter may be an option.

Peanuts play a vital role in cooking, particularly in Asian cuisines. They are used in sauces, stews, and stir-fries, contributing a distinct flavor and texture. Peanut oil is a widely used cooking and frying oil, appreciated for its unique taste and high smoke point. 

Sunflower seeds take the spotlight as a popular and nutritious snack when roasted and salted, offering a delightful crunch in every bite. Whether incorporated into bread, muffins, or granola bars, sunflower seeds contribute a wholesome element to various baked goods. 

Appearance

Peanuts are covered by a thick, rough, and uneven shell that protects two seeds arranged side by side. Sunflower seeds are densely packed in a spiral arrangement inside the sunflower head, extending outward from the center.

Peanuts' exterior shells can range from light tan to dark brown, while the seeds within are typically tan or light brown. Sunflower seeds can be a variety of colors, with black and white stripes being particularly frequent. Hulled sunflower seeds (no shell) are often brownish or greenish in hue.

Peanuts are typically smaller than sunflower seeds. They have an extended oval form. Sunflower seeds are flat, oval-shaped, and have a distinctive teardrop shape. Sunflower seeds have a length of around 1.5 to 2 centimeters (0.6 to 0.8 inches) or more, depending on the variety. On the other hand, peanuts' size ranges from 1 to 2 centimeters (0.4 to 0.8 inches), depending on the specific type of peanut.

Article author photo Sveta Badalyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: April 16, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Sunflower seed vs Peanut infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Sunflower seed Peanut
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Sunflower seed Peanut Opinion
Net carbs 11.4g 7.63g Sunflower seed
Protein 20.78g 25.8g Peanut
Fats 51.46g 49.24g Sunflower seed
Carbs 20g 16.13g Sunflower seed
Calories 584kcal 567kcal Sunflower seed
Sugar 2.62g 4.72g Sunflower seed
Fiber 8.6g 8.5g Sunflower seed
Calcium 78mg 92mg Peanut
Iron 5.25mg 4.58mg Sunflower seed
Magnesium 325mg 168mg Sunflower seed
Phosphorus 660mg 376mg Sunflower seed
Potassium 645mg 705mg Peanut
Sodium 9mg 18mg Sunflower seed
Zinc 5mg 3.27mg Sunflower seed
Copper 1.8mg 1.144mg Sunflower seed
Manganese 1.95mg 1.934mg Sunflower seed
Selenium 53µg 7.2µg Sunflower seed
Vitamin A 50IU 0IU Sunflower seed
Vitamin A RAE 3µg 0µg Sunflower seed
Vitamin E 35.17mg 8.33mg Sunflower seed
Vitamin C 1.4mg 0mg Sunflower seed
Vitamin B1 1.48mg 0.64mg Sunflower seed
Vitamin B2 0.355mg 0.135mg Sunflower seed
Vitamin B3 8.335mg 12.066mg Peanut
Vitamin B5 1.13mg 1.767mg Peanut
Vitamin B6 1.345mg 0.348mg Sunflower seed
Folate 227µg 240µg Peanut
Choline 55.1mg 52.5mg Sunflower seed
Tryptophan 0.348mg 0.25mg Sunflower seed
Threonine 0.928mg 0.883mg Sunflower seed
Isoleucine 1.139mg 0.907mg Sunflower seed
Leucine 1.659mg 1.672mg Peanut
Lysine 0.937mg 0.926mg Sunflower seed
Methionine 0.494mg 0.317mg Sunflower seed
Phenylalanine 1.169mg 1.377mg Peanut
Valine 1.315mg 1.082mg Sunflower seed
Histidine 0.632mg 0.652mg Peanut
Saturated Fat 4.455g 6.279g Sunflower seed
Omega-3 - EPA 0.014g 0g Sunflower seed
Monounsaturated Fat 18.528g 24.426g Peanut
Polyunsaturated fat 23.137g 15.558g Sunflower seed

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Sunflower seed Peanut
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
146%
Sunflower seed
75%
Peanut
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
207%
Sunflower seed
131%
Peanut

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed is lower in Sugar (difference - 2.1g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed contains less Sodium (difference - 9mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.824g)
Which food is cheaper?
Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed is cheaper (difference - $1.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Sunflower seed
Sunflower seed is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Peanut
Peanut is lower in glycemic index (difference - 7)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Sunflower seed - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170562/nutrients
  2. Peanut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172430/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.