Sunflower seeds are considered a protein food, according to MyPyramid.gov, along with other nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, meats and beans. However, like many foods, they contain a combination of protein, carbohydrate and fat. If you are counting carbohydrates, you will want to take the carbohydrate content of these seeds into account.
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Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats
A 1-ounce serving, about 3 tablespoons, of dried sunflower seeds contains 160 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. Sunflower seeds are a good protein choice because they are low in saturated fat and don't contain any cholesterol.
Vitamins and Minerals
Sunflower seeds also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, a 1-ounce serving provides you with 45 percent of your recommended thiamine for the day; 25 percent of your magnesium; 20 percent of your phosphorus; 15 percent of your folate; 10 percent of your iron, zinc and vitamin B6; 6 percent of your niacin; and 4 percent of your riboflavin and calcium. Sunflower seeds also are a good source of vitamin E.
Possible Health Benefits
In addition to beneficial fiber, sunflower seeds contain unsaturated fats and high levels of plant chemicals called phytosterols, which can lower your cholesterol levels, according to the October 2013 issue of "WellBeing." Phytosterols may reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your immune system function and lower your risk for cancer by killing cancer cells, reports Linus Pauling Institute's Macronutrient Information Center.
Sunflower seeds make a good snack for people watching their carbohydrate intake. They are filling due to the protein and fiber they contain, and do not contain a lot of carbs. However, you don't want to eat too many servings of these seeds since they do contain a lot of calories along with the nutrients they provide. One way to help control your intake of sunflower seeds is to buy them still in the shells. Then it takes longer to eat them, and you are less likely to eat large amounts in one sitting.