Healthy seeds are an important part of any healthy eating plan. So lets take a closer look…

– What is a seed?

– The benefits of eating healthy seeds

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– Who should avoid seeds

– Five must-eat seeds for a nutritional boost to your diet (and five ways to use each type).

What is a seed?

A seed is, simply, the reproductive part of a plant. It contains all the genetic material required to germinate and make a new plant. Therefore, the seed contains all the important nutrients that a plant needs to germinate and grow.

Many of those nutrients are healthful for us humans!

Seeds include the things you already know as seeds – chia, pumpkin seeds sesame seeds. These are what we’ll be discussing in this article.

Other foods that are actually seeds include grains (wheat, barley, oats etc.), legumes (beans, peas) and corn – even the little seeds on the outsides of a strawberry!

Any of those ‘seeds’ can theoretically be planted and grown again.

The benefits of eating healthy seeds

There are numerous benefits of eating healthy seeds each day.

These include:

– Heart health benefits

– Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits

– Cancer prevention

– Improving digestive health

– Reducing menopausal symptoms

– Regulating insulin

– Antimicrobial benefits

– Lowering cholesterol

– Calming nerves and muscles

– Improving detoxification

– Good complementary protein source.

Many of these benefits are related to the specific nutrients and properties of particular seeds.

For example: flaxseeds are very high in omega 3 fatty acids – powerful anti-inflammatory compounds.

In comparison, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is linked with cardiovascular benefits and lowering of cholesterol.

From this perspective, it’s important to include a good variety of seeds in your diet.

healthy seeds_2Who should avoid seeds

Wait – but seeds are healthy right? They’re good for you, aren’t they?

Well, some people simply aren’t designed to eat seeds. They have digestive or immune challenges that make seed-eating kind of troublesome, even dangerous.

You should probably avoid some or all seeds if you have one of these conditions:

– A known allergy or intolerance

These are usually typified by symptoms like hives, swelling around the mouth, an itchy mouth or vomiting, within 30 minutes of eating the seed.

– Diverticulitis

There are mixed reports that seed coatings may damage the intestinal lining, but it may be ok to eat ground seeds/seed butter.

– Salycilate sensitivity

Some seeds, e.g. sunflower seeds, contain moderate levels of salicylates and may need to be avoided.

[Krase M.V. and Mahan L.K., 1979 ‘Food, nutrition and diet therapy’, 6th Edition WB Saunders Co. Sydney].

5 Must-Eat Seeds for A Nutritional Boost

The Worlds Healthiest Foods  list four types of seeds in their Top 100 healthiest foods.

These specific seeds are chosen as they are the most nutrient dense, familiar and readily available types of seeds around:

1. Flaxseeds (aka linseeds)

Flaxseeds are exceptionally rich in omega 3 fats (specifically, alpha linoleic acid), with 2 tablespoons of seeds containing 133% of the daily value of fatty acids.

This quantity of flaxseeds also delivers 13 – 20% of your daily requirements of vitamin B1, copper, manganese, fibre, magnesium and phosphorous.

Five ways with Flaxseeds

1. In a smoothie – blend 1 tbsp with cacao powder, yoghurt, almond milk, stevia, kale, mango

2. In bars and balls – blend with walnuts, goji, coconut oil, cacao powder and vanilla extract

3. In yoghurt – mix 1 tbsp flax with your yoghurt and some berries

4. In crackers – grind and mix with water, then slice and dehydrate or bake at low heat.

5. As an egg substitute – grind 2 cups flax seeds in a coffee grinder, add 1 cup water, pinch salt and a little garlic.

Discover four more nutritional seeds to include into your diet in Part 2 tomorrow…

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