I've always been a fan of any nut butter. It's one of the most versatile ingredients in anyone's diet. You can spread nut butter on toast, eat it with an apple, or use it in healthy baking recipes. For a long time, I was partial to peanut butter, mostly because I grew up eating it and it's available pretty much everywhere. However, when I learned the truth behind peanut butter's nutrition, I grew wary of it.
Did you know that peanuts aren't actually nuts? They're legumes. I know. My mind was blown too. I felt cheated, as if my whole life was a lie. Because they're legumes, they can wreak havoc on your digestion and make you feel very bloated. It's no wonder I would feel like a balloon after my afternoon apple and peanut butter snack.
Sunflower seeds, on the other hand, are exactly what they say they are: seeds. These aren't known to mess up your digestion or give you bloating. To boot, sunflower seeds actually have more protein than peanut butter. One serving of sunflower seed butter has seven or eight grams of protein, while peanut butter tends to have around six grams.
Sunflower seeds also have more magnesium (for higher energy), vitamin E (an antioxidant that lowers cholesterol), and manganese (to reduce inflammation) than peanuts, and they have more healthy fats than peanuts do. In fact, some experts say that peanut butter contains too much omega-6 fat and not enough heart-healthy omega-3s. Sunflower seed butter doesn't have that problem, though.
They have about the same caloric profile, but when I replaced all my peanut butter with sunflower seed butter several months ago, I saw a difference in my waistline. I was much less bloated and didn't have any trouble going to the bathroom. And I don't know if it's the placebo effect, but sunflower seed butter gives me more energy. That might be because it's known to be much less processed than peanut butter is (a lot less hydrogenated oils and salt).