Here is my list of the six healthiest seeds you should add to your diet. Seeds are high in fiber, vitamins, monounsaturated fats that can help keep our heart healthy and our body disease free. Healthy seeds are also great sources of protein, minerals, zinc and other life-enhancing nutrients. Although slightly acid on our pH scale, the amount of nutrients bursting within the seeds allows us to add these to alkaline based foods so the overall effect is still alkaline positive plus with all the added nutritional benefits they provide.
I would recommend that you eat only organic seeds, in their raw state. To preserve freshness, refrigerate the seeds after opening and store in a tightly sealed container. My Pumpkin Energy Balls are a packed with many of these seeds.
1. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds is one of the oldest oilseed crops known dating back to 3000 BC and used in culinary as well as traditional medicines for their nutritive, preventive, and curative properties. Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, copper, B1, phosphorus and copper known for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Possessing two unique lignan fibers: sesamin and sesamolin, both have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, lower blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies. Sesamin has also been found to protect from liver damage. Sesame seeds also may help prevent arthritis, asthma, migraine headaches, menopause, pms and osteoporosis. See list of 10 Health reasons for using Sesame seeds (read here)
Knew we loved making hummus for a very good reason. Also try sprinkling on fresh salads, stir fries or mix into snackbars!
2. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals, is the perfect phytochemical-rich seed as they promote healthy digestion and increase fiber intake. Sunflower seeds are also extremely rich in folate, a very important nutrient for women. They are packed full of good fats, antioxidant-rich Vitamin E, selenium and copper, which all play vital roles in preventing heart disease, cancer, and other forms of cellular damage. It also is the finest sources of B-complex group vitamins and Niacin which helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
Use sunflower seeds as a snack, sprinkle over sautéeed vegetables and fresh salads, add to salad dressings or baked foods.
3. Linseed (Flax) Seeds
Another ancient cultivated crops since Mesopotamian times, these chewy seeds are packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (nr 1 source, more than fish oil), copper, iron magnesium, vitamin E and mucilage gum – gel forming fiber that helps intestinal tract with absorbing certain nutrients.
Linseeds are the number 1 source of lignans – a fiber-like compound which provide antioxidant protection. Sesame seeds come second but contain one-seveth of the amount in comparison. Linseeds contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than any other plant foods. These anti-inflammatory benefits decrease risk of diabetes, asthma, obesity and cancer – in particular breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Sprinkle on breakfasts, salads, soups, sandwiches for extra crunch. By grining the seeds, it increases their digestibility. My grandma, a very healthy and wise gal, put a tablespoon of linseeds in half a glass of water each night to eat first thing the next morning. Flaxseed oil is a great source of nutrients as well and recommended in some of the cancer curing diets.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain a varied amount of nutrients including vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, copper and high quality protein. Some scientific studies have shown that the components of pumpkin seeds may stop the triggering of cancerous behavior in male prostate cells.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants which help boost immune system and reduce amount of cholesterol in your blood. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc which are two important nutrients that help with inflammation, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Pumkin seeds can be roasted for a great snack or toss them onto salads, curries, breakfast musli or bake into breads.
5. Chia seeds
Extremely tiny, yet extremely potent, chia seeds compose almost all of the essential nutrients such as protein, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fiber for digestion, vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimum growth and development. In partiuclar, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus play an important role in bone mineralisation and red blood cell production and Niacin which helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
These amazing little seeds are an excellent source of high-quality fats, as they are made up of 34% pure omega-3 oils that combat inflammation. According to Nutritiondata.com chia seeds have a low glycaemic index which help in effective regulation of daily blood glucose levels. Substitution of chia to rice and other cereal grains may benefit in individuals with diabetes.
Chia seeds don’t add a distinctive flavor, making them excellent for smoothies and breakfast porridge (see Strawberry Chia Pot). Like flaxseeds, they too can also be used as a substitute for an egg.
6. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are considered the super seed as they are packed with an impressive list of nutritional attributes. They are perfectly balanced with a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 oils, contain all the 10 essential amino acids, have a greater protein source than most grains, nuts and vegetables, have disease-fighting phytosterols and studies show that hemp seeds, or even hemp milk, may prevent heart disease, many forms of cancer, as well as inflammation-based diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They are a rich source of megnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin E.
When it comes to eating hemp seeds, they add a nice, nutty flavour with mild texture. They blend well in smoothies and baked goods, or use as garnish on top of soups, salads, stir-fries, fruit pies, oatmeal or soy yogurt.