Seeds are tiny but loaded with healthy nutrients. Seeds are starting material for plants to grow and hence have every nutrient required for growth and life.
Seeds are a true superfood in every sense. They protect and preserve our health and help prevent diseases.
In this blog, we will learn about the health benefits of seeds. Let’s begin with why should you eat seeds?
Seeds Have a Rich Nutrient Profile.
The health benefits of seeds are due to their rich nutrient profile. They contain every nutrient you need to keep your body in sip shape. Seeds house valuable compounds that protect against and prevent several diseases, lifestyle and otherwise.
Seeds are tiny powerhouses of healthy energy, good carbs, protein, and fiber. They are bursting with nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin K and antioxidants, vitamin E, and trace minerals like copper, selenium, magnesium, zinc, etc.
Eating roasted seeds as a snack with a balanced diet ensures you get every nutrient you require to lead a healthy life.
Seeds are a Source of Pure Plant Proteins.
Protein is one nutrient of utmost importance, and everyone struggles to add an adequate amount of proteins to their diets, especially vegetarians and vegans.
But guess what? Seeds are here to rescue.
Seeds contain all nine essential amino acids making them a good quality plant protein. Roasted Seeds make a good high-protein snack to be added to your diet.
Also Read: Why Do You Need Proteins?
Seeds are a Good Source of Dietary Fiber.
The importance of fiber in our diet is undisputed. Fiber helps slow digestion and helps balance blood sugar levels. It helps reduce cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.
Dietary fiber is a savior when it comes to losing weight. Fiber makes you feel full and staves off the craving.
Therefore, roasted seed mixes make a healthy weight loss snack option for people keen to manage their weight and stay fit.
Seeds are Anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is a leading cause of lifestyle diseases. Constant fatigue, mood swings, aches and pains, insomnia, depression, and digestive disorders are signs of inflammation.
What is the best way to reduce this inflammation?
Eating a plant-based diet, antioxidant-rich foods, and omega-3 helps you reduce inflammation in the body. Seeds are an essential part of an anti-inflammatory diet as they contain copious amounts of omega-3 and antioxidants.
Seeds Contain Good Fats.
One major health benefit of eating Seeds is that it contains large amounts of good fats. Good fats like monosaturated fats and omega-3 and plant sterols help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
Good fats nourish blood cells and maintain blood function. Good fats like omega-3 are effective against heart diseases, inflammation, and certain cancers.
The health benefits of seeds are overflowing. It will be wise to say, a handful of seeds a day will keep diseases away.
5 Seeds You Must Eat.
There are several seeds you can eat, all bursting with health benefits. It is wise to add all of them to your diet in different ways. However, we have short-listed five of the healthiest seeds you need to eat.
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Let’s discuss the health benefits of each seed in detail.
Health Benefits of Flax seeds
Flaxseeds also known as linseeds are the oldest and healthiest food known to man. The health benefits of flaxseeds are due to their rich nutrient profile. They are rich in fiber, thiamine, copper, proteins, and omega-3, especially Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Fiber and omega 3 in flaxseeds help protect your heart and keep LDL cholesterol levels in check. A significant reduction was observed in LDL cholesterol levels (up to 10mmol ) in people who ate flaxseeds regularly.
Flaxseeds are effective in lowering blood pressure. An analysis of several studies concluded that consuming flaxseed regularly for more than 12 weeks can help reduce blood pressure.
Flaxseeds are also a rich source of polyphenols, especially lignans. Lignans are an essential antioxidant in the body.
Studies have found that lignans reduce the growth of tumor markers in women with breast cancer and reduce the risk of cancer. This is because lignans are phytoestrogens and mimic the female sex hormone estrogen.
The lignans, omega3, and fiber in flaxseeds help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Add a handful of roasted flaxseeds to your daily diet and reap the health benefits of flaxseeds.
Health Benefits of Chia seeds
Chia seeds are packed with fiber, omega3, and healthy antioxidants. They were a great favorite in Aztec diets, where chia seeds were used to power their armies.
Chia seeds have a profound effect on your blood sugar levels. Multiple studies have shown that eating chia seeds, whole or powdered, after meals helps balance blood sugar levels.
That is not all!
Chia seeds for weight loss are quite famous. This is because they are rich in soluble fiber and plant proteins that help control appetite, prevent you from overeating, and curb cravings.
Chia seeds have a rich antioxidant profile. Some of these antioxidants include:
- Caffeic acid
- Chlorogenic acid
These antioxidants protect against free radical damage that leads to aging, inflammation, and cancer. Antioxidants, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid in chia seeds help reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
Chia seeds contain bone minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, copper, etc., and omega-3, making your bones dense and strong.
The Health benefits of chia seeds make them a must-have in your daily diet.
Health Benefits of Sunflower seeds
Bright and yellow sunflowers are delightful to the eyes, and sunflower seeds are pure nourishment for the body.
Sunflower seeds are bursting with healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, good fats, antioxidants, zinc, fiber, etc. Sunflower seeds provide healthy energy and strengthen the immune system.
Sunflower seeds contain healthy antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium, and flavonoids, which help reduce inflammation.
A study highlighted that eating sunflower seeds and other seeds more than five times a week reduced inflammation. A low inflammation is associated with lowered risk of chronic diseases like heart problems, arthritis, etc.
Sunflower seeds contain plenty of healthy fats, magnesium, flavonoids, and fiber, that help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and shield the heart from diseases.
Roasted Sunflower seeds make a healthy snack. They can also be added to various dishes. Their mild, nutty flavor and crunchy texture enhance the flavor of any recipe
Health Benefits of Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are predominant in many cuisines around the world. These tiny seeds are power-packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Sesame seeds protect the heart, help balance blood sugar levels, and defend against oxidative damage and inflammation. Healthy fats, fiber, and lignans in sesame seeds work together to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
Sesame seeds are abundant in magnesium, lignans, vitamin E, and omega-3 that inhibit plaque deposition in the arteries, maintain blood pressure and preserve heart health.
Sesame seeds are the best-known dietary source of lignans. They contain different types of lignans, but sesamin is significant.
Sesamin gets converted by gut bacteria to another lignan called enterolactone. Enterolactone acts like the female sex hormone estrogen. Estrogen is known to shelter against heart diseases and cancers, especially breast cancer in women.
A study shows that post-menopausal women who ate 50 grams of sesame seed powder daily for five weeks had significantly lower blood cholesterol levels.
The anti-inflammatory action of Sesamin in Sesame seeds also protects the cartilage that cushions our joints. A study showed that people with osteoarthritis experienced a 63% decrease in knee pain after eating 40 grams of sesame seed powder daily with drug therapy.
Another recent study found reduced oxidative stress and muscular damage in semi-professional athletes who ate 40g of sesame seeds powder daily.
Eating adequate amounts of sesame seeds every day helps control blood sugar, combat arthritic pain, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancers.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are popular in Mexican cuisine. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential micronutrient required in the body to
- Control blood pressure,
- Manage blood sugar levels,
- Build healthy bones
- Reduce the risk of heart diseases.
According to scientific research, pumpkin seeds are good for your heart. They increase nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels, improves blood flow, and reduces the risk of plaque deposition.
Research has also linked pumpkin seeds to a reduced risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancer.
It is found that Pumpkin seeds are effective against symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), wherein the prostate gland is enlarged and causes difficulty in urination.
A study consisting of 1400 men with BPH showed that eating pumpkin seeds lowered the symptoms and improved the quality of life. Another study found that pumpkin seeds extract daily improved urinary function in men and women with overactive bladders.
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc. Zinc is essential to the quality of sperm and fertility in men.
Pumpkin seeds can help you sleep better and improve the quality of your sleep, as it contains tryptophan, zinc, and magnesium. including pumpkin seeds to your list of seeds to eat is good for your body and mind.
How Much Seeds You Can Eat Every day?
The health benefits of seeds necessitate that you add them to your diet daily. Seeds are small but very nutrient-dense. You do not need to eat a lot of seeds to reap their health benefits.
Daily 1-2 tablespoons (up to 30gms) of seeds is adequate to add the goodness of these little superfoods and keep yourself healthy. Eat different kinds of seeds for optimum nutrition and a wide array of health benefits.
What is the Best Way to Eat Seeds?
You can eat seeds daily, either raw, roasted, soaked, or ground. Roasted seeds are, however, easier to eat and most preferred.
Though seeds house precious nutrients, they also contain anti-nutritive factors like phytic acid or tannins. These anti-nutritive factors interfere with the absorption of nutrients like calcium, zinc, iron, etc.
Roasting or soaking and sprouting helps inactivate these anti-nutritive factors.
How to Add Seeds to Your Diet?
Roasted seeds make a popular snack that can be eaten salted or unsalted. You can enjoy these roasted seeds in a trail mix too. Trail mixes are a mixture of seeds, nuts, fruits, and other foods like granola.
Interesting ways to add seeds and their nutrition to your daily diets.
- Add them to smoothies or yogurt
- Incorporate them into meals by sprinkling them into salads, soups, or cereals.
- Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame, and flaxseeds can also be used in baking.
- Mix them into granola or granola bars, crackers
- Add them to your stir-fries, casseroles, and garnishes.
Seeds are versatile and have a texture and flavor that enhances the taste of any dish or recipe.
Are Seeds High in Calories?
Yes, Seeds are high in calories but they are nutrient-dense. They are rich in polyunsaturated fats especially good fats like omega-3 and other nutrients that are responsible for the health benefits of seeds.
So, though they are high in calories they are bursting with healthy nutrients. Eating 1-2 tbsp. per day gives you approx. 200kcals which is not too high compared to the health benefits of seeds.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Seeds?
The health benefits of seeds can help pregnant women stay fit and healthy. Seeds are a good source of iron, folic acid, calcium, proteins, omega 3, and fiber.
All these nutrients are required for the growth of the baby and the health of the mother. So, yes, pregnant women can eat seeds. A pregnant woman can eat 1-2 tbsp of seeds daily.
Can Seeds be Given to Kids?
Seeds are loaded with healthy nutrients like proteins, iron, calcium, and omega 3 that support growth & development. Therefore, seeds can be given to kids. In fact, owing to the health benefits of seeds, they should be an essential part of your child’s diet.
A word of caution, avoid giving whole seeds to kids below 3 years who may choke on them. You can grind them and add them to gravies, desserts, soups, smoothies, homemade cakes, cookies and energy bars, breakfast cereals, parathas, etc.
Seeds, though small in size, are big on nutrition. They contain valuable nutrients that help you achieve your daily nutrition, correct deficiencies, and keep you healthy.
The health benefits of seeds are diverse and essential. Seeds help prevent as well as protect against diseases.
Switch the unhealthy junk snacks with roasted seeds snacks. Eating roasted seeds as a late-night snack is healthy and guilt-free. But remember to enjoy seeds in small quantities.