Seeds provide amazing nutrition with a nutty crunch, and they are easier to work into my caloric total for the day than nuts. It’s very easy to overeat pecans, walnuts, almonds or cashews but it’s more challenging to eat too many seeds. Pepitas, pumpkin seeds, are the only seeds that I have to strictly control. The healthy flax, chia and hemp seeds that I eat in oatmeal every morning are dense in nutrition and satisfaction. A Tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed into oats with a Tablespoon of Trilogy, (mixed chia, hemp and flax seeds), Saigon Cinnamon and Brown Swerve starts my day with superfoods that are made for function. Since seeds contain the building blocks for an entire plant, they are powerhouses of nutrition.
Pumpkin are my favorite! I particularly like pepitas, which come from specific types of pumpkins and don’t have to be shelled. Pepitas are green instead of white like the ones from a carving pumpkin. A 1-ounce serving has 151 calories, 1.7 grams of fiber, 3.3 Net Grams of carbs, a whopping 7 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat, 6 grams being Omega-6. They are chock full of Vitamin K, Phosphorus, Manganese, Magnesium Iron Zinc and Copper. An ounce goes a long way towards staving off hunger with the added benefit of crunch! They are truly a superfood! I don’t know of another way to enjoy 151 calories so completely.
Although I like pumpkin better, sunflower seeds may trump them on nutrition! Inflammation is considered to be the beginning of disease and one study found that eating sunflower seeds more than five times per week was associated with reduced C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of inflammation in the body. I eat them at least that often and my C-reactive protein is all but non-existent. They are believed to reduce cholesterol overall but my good cholesterol is very high and I eat them daily. My bad cholesterol is quite low. I eat a broad range of seeds so if the sunflower seeds are simultaneously reducing both good and bad cholesterol, then some other food must be building the good cholesterol. I eat almost exclusively superfoods so that’s entirely likely.
Wild rice is a seed! It contains 30 times more antioxidants than white rice and also has more protein. It is rich in fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, vitaminB6, niacin and zinc. One study found it to be effective in lowering cholesterol and other lipids in the blood. (1) I don’t usually eat rice because it’s so high in carbs that the benefits just don’t justify all that starch. Wild rice is a beneficial addition to the diet that I will be incorporating more often. It’s versatile and can be used to make satisfying meals when combined with a good protein source.
When I first heard of this food, I thought that it was a cereal grain. I tried it a few times and still have some at home. It’s a superfood that is 15% protein, boasting a full amino acid profile. It has a nutty flavor and can be used in recipes to replace pasta. It can be used as a gluten-free breading and can be eaten as a breakfast cereal. It is one of the most versatile food sources on the planet. Since it has a mild flavor, you can use it with any flavor palate.
These little powerhouses contain all of the amino acids and vitamins and minerals to boot! They supply linoleic acid which may act as an appetite suppressant. They can be added to anything for extra nutrition and crunch. They can also decrease the likelihood of stroke and heart attack by lowering cholesterol levels.
Flaxseeds contain a wide array of nutrients including omega-3 fats which are found in the outer shell. In order to get those healthy fats, it’s necessary to grind them. Flax is packed with antioxidants and the omega-3’s and the fiber can help reduce cholesterol. Some studies also suggest that they can reduce blood pressure. Breast and prostate cancer and diabetes risk may be reduced by eating flax. (2) The ground seeds provide a chewy, crunchy texture that makes oatmeal a satisfying way to start the day.
While you are not going to eat an abundance of these little super seeds, just one teaspoon supplies up to 4% of the recommended daily intake of phosphorus, calcium and iron. They are delightful sprinkled on almost everything from salads to muffins.
Chia seeds add a gelatinous volume to your food. Their nutritional profile is similar to flax. When combined with other seeds, the benefits are amazing! Every system of your body can be fine-tuned by the excellent nutrition produced when you eat a variety of these powerful little plants.
Hemp seeds are one of the few plants that provide a complete amino acid profile. They have a unique, pungent taste that adds interest to any food. They’re 30% protein so they’re a great food for a vegetarian who’s trying to make sure that their protein needs are being met. Hemp, Chia and Flax are all three found in a product called Trilogy, manufactured by Badia. A 21 ounce bottle of these super seeds are available at Walmart for about $10. That’s 33 servings of excellent nutrition for $10. You can’t beat that deal!
While I am not eating sesame seeds, I think that I will! In my research for this article, I discovered that they contain sesamin which is converted to enterolactone, which acts like estrogen in the body. When the levels of enterolactone are too low, there is a higher risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Sesame seeds are especially good for post-menopausal women due to this estrogen-like effect.
As you can see, seeds are a goldmine that many people have not explored! I already eat many seeds and after the research for this article, I will be eating more.
Always remember, “You Are What You Eat.”
Let it be the good stuff!