Do you eat some seeds everyday? I'm here today to suggest to you not to overlook them. They may be tiny, but they are packed with loads of goodness.
All seeds (and nuts too) have individual purposes in our diets. This post will tell you some of those purposes so you can choose which seeds are best for you.
Treat seeds with gentleness -- respecting what they give us without overdoing consumption. You only need a tablespoon or two per day to make a positive difference. And with that small amount, even if you aren't fond of seeds, they are easy to sneak into a meal. Put them in salads, or sprinkle them on your oatmeal in the morning. Or sprinkle them over chili, stews, soups, most any vegetable ... just about anything. In addition to the nutrients, they provide healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they provide protein as well.
Choose your favorite seeds
Chia seeds contain calcium, boron, thiamin, folate, magnesium, zinc and iron. The also contain fiber, protein, and good fat (with the right ratio of omega-3 to omega -6 fatty acid to fight inflammation). They don't have much flavor, so they blend well into other foods and serve many purposes. When soaked in water or juice, they form a gelatin that makes them useful as an egg substitute when baking or as a thickener when making shakes and puddings.
Known more for being a spice, cumin is often used in chili and in many Mexican and curry dishes. Cumin helps colds, digestion and is used for anti-septic purposes.
Flaxseeds contain manganese, selenium, copper, phosphorous, thiamin, and magnesium. Also high in fiber, flaxseeds help cleanse the colon. High in omega-3 fatty acids, they are good for neurological and cardiovascular function and they contain antioxidants. They are also known to be helpful in lowering blood sugar. It is recommended that you use them fresh as they turn rancid when cooked. It is also recommended that you grind them to get the best benefit from them otherwise they will move right through you unscathed.
Hemp seeds are known for being good for heart health. They contain magnesium, iron, sulfur, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. They are highly digestible raw.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Pumpkin seeds contain potassium, vitamin E, manganese, copper, vitamin K, iron. zinc, and phytosterols. Pumpkin seeds are known to be good for prostate health due to the zinc, and the anti-oxidants in them destroy free radicals. In addition, studies show that pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation and consequently help prevent diabetic complications.
Sesame seeds contain iron, calcium, anti-oxidants, and phytosterols. They also have fiber which lowers cholesterol and protects heart health.
Sunflower seeds offer vitamin E, B vitamins, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, folate, and copper. The phytosterols in sunflower seeds are beneficial for heart health and the immune system, and may lower cancer risk.
Shopping for and using seeds
Seeds are best purchased raw as you can't count on their nutrient values when cooked at high temperatures. You can make a crunchy snack out of seeds though (especially, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds) by soaking for 7 hours then dehydrating them in a toaster oven or cooking in an oven at under 150 degrees.
Because seeds are fragile, it is good to store them in the refrigerator. The best way to use them is to eat a handful or to sprinkle them over oatmeal, soup, granola, stir fry, smoothies, a casserole, or a salad.
Overall, seeds help fight illness, help keep cholesterol levels in check, help your digestion and help prevent cancer. Eat a handful daily for good health.