Seeds are one of the greatest nutritional secrets that the world has to offer. Broad statement?
I don’t think so…
Per table spoon these seeds have fantastic protein content and all but one or two have a low carb content. In this article i will be taking you through my favourite super seeds that i use on a daily basis, in my salads, and other great foods.
So lets start….
57 calories, 3 grams protein, 4 grams fat, and 1 gram carbs per tablespoon
Hemp seeds are easily digested by the body and is one of the most nutritious foods available in nature. They contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and proteins. Hemp seeds are such foods which can sustain our dietary needs, even if you don’t consume any other healthy food. There are several hemp seeds health benefits, some of which are listed below.
One of the most important hemp seed benefits is its high quantity of proteins. Moreover, there are a range of vitamins and minerals in hemp seeds, besides omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are not synthesized by the human body naturally, and this is what makes hemp seeds an excellent food source of essential fatty acids. If you want to keep your heart healthy, you should try and consume a lot of hemp seeds, as they are rich in essential fatty acids.
You can reduce the chances of a fatal cardiac arrhythmia or a heart attack if you substitute saturated fats with foods like hemp seeds, as they contain healthy fats. Moreover, it produces phytosterols, which help in reducing the amount of cholesterol in the body, thereby removing fat buildup in the arteries.
- All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
- A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
- Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.
- Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
- A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
- A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
- A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
You can press hemp seeds to extract polyunsaturated oil, besides making seed cakes out of it. Oil extracted out of hemp seeds can be mixed with other foods like breads or salads or even eaten plain. You can use grind hemp seed cakes to hemp flour and use it while baking.
Another important hemp seeds health benefits is, that oil extracted out of hemp seeds can also be used as an ointment to regenerate and nourish the skin. Hemp oil can penetrate the skin quickly compared to other oils. This helps in preventing skin from sagging due to aging as essential fatty acids completely penetrate the outer skin layer, thereby, encouraging healthy moist skin.
47 calories, 2 grams protein, 4 grams fat, and 1.5 grams carbs per tablespoon
Heart Healthy Magnesium
One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.
Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.
Zinc for Immune Support
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, drug effects, plant-based diets, and other diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.
Heart and Liver Health
Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.
What’s the Best Way to Consume Pumpkin Seeds?
In order to preserve the healthy fats present in the seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten raw. If you choose to purchase seeds from a bulk bin, make sure they smell fresh – not musty, spoiled or stale, which could indicate rancidity or the presence of fungal mycotoxins. Organic pumpkin seeds are preferred, as they will not be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
However, most nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. So if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them.
To make them more palatable, you can then dehydrate them in your oven, or better yet and more cost effectively in a dehydrator. There are many dehydrators on the market, but Excalibur is generally considered the best. I have used one for over 20 years. They are readily available on Amazon.
If you prefer to eat the seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time. Raw pumpkin seeds can be roasted on a low heat setting in your oven (no more than 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius), sprinkled with Himalayan or other natural salt, for about 15-20 minutes.
37 calories, 1 gram protein, 3 grams fat, and 2 grams carbs per tablespoon
When you look at the nutritional benefits of flax seeds, there are many things that will catch your attention.
A 1 ounce (3 tbsp) serving of flaxseeds contains:
- Omega-3 (ALA) 6,338mg
- Fiber 8g
- Protein 6g
- Vitamin B1 31% RDA
- Manganese 35% RDA
- Magnesium 30% RDA
- Phosphorus 19% RDA
- Selenium 10% RDA
- Also, flaxseeds contain a good amount of vitamin B6, Iron, potassium, copper and zinc.
This flax seed nutrition profile makes it easy to see why it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
High in Fiber, but Low in Carbs
One of the most extraordinary benefits of flax seeds is that they contain high levels of mucilage gum content. Mucilage is a gel-forming fiber that is water soluble and has incredible benefits on the intestinal tract.
The mucilage can keep food in the stomach from emptying too quickly into the small intestine which can increase nutrient absorption.
Also, flax is extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber which can support colon detoxification, fat loss and reduce sugar cravings.
You should aim to consume 30-40 g of high fiber foods daily.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flaxseeds and walnuts may improve obesity and support weight loss.
Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation.
This is important for weight loss in that an inflamed body will tend to hold on to excess weight. Add a couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseed to soups, salads, or smoothies as part of your weight loss plan.
The journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that adding flax seeds into your diet can naturally reduce cholesterol levels.
The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder.
The bile is then excreted through the digestive system, forcing the body to make more, using up excess cholesterol in the blood and lowering cholesterol overall.
Flaxseeds are Gluten-Free
Using flax is a great way to naturally replace gluten-containing grains which are inflammatory where flax is anti-inflammatory. So, flax seeds are great for those who have Celiac disease or have a gluten-sensitivity. They may also be a good alternative to omega-3 fats in fish for people with a seafood allergy.
Another great aspect of flax being gluten-free is that it can be used as a grain-free option in cooking. I will often use it along with coconut flour in baking at home.
Flaxseeds are High in Antioxidants (Lignans)
Amongst its other incredible nutrition facts, flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health.
Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.
Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties, therefore consuming flax regularly may help reduce the number or severity of colds and flus.
Maybe the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.
You can also take 1-3 tbsp of flax seed oil with 8 oz of carrot juice to help naturally relieve constipation.
Flax is also very high in soluble and insoluble fiber which can also improve digestive health and is one of the highest magnesium foods in the world.
Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contains about 5 g of fiber or 1/4 of the RDA. The fiber found in flaxseeds provides food for friendly bacteria in your colon that can help cleanse waste from your system.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We hear a lot about the health benefits of fish oil or omega-3 fats. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fats that are critical for optimal health. Although flaxseeds do not contain EPA or DHA, they do contain ALA, another type of omega-3 fat.
A study published in Nutrition Reviews has shown that approximately 20% of ALA can be converted into EPA, but only .5% of ALA is converted into DHA. Also, surprisingly gender may play a big role in conversion where young women had a 2.5-fold greaterrate than men.
Regardless of conversion, ALA is still considered a healthy fat and should be included in a balanced diet.
51 calories, 2 grams protein, 4.5 grams fat, and 2 grams carbs per tablespoon
Flavorful, crunchy sesame seeds are widely considered healthy foods. 100 g of seeds carry 573 calories. Although, much of its calorie comes from fats, sesame contains several notable health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness.
The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which comprises up to 50% fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats help prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by favoring healthy lipid profile.
The seeds are also very valuable sources of dietary protein with fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 18 g of protein (32% of daily-recommended values).
In addition, sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guajacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenylethanthiol and furaneol, vinylguacol, and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminol are phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the human body.
Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins, and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.
100 g of sesame contains 97 µg of folic acid, about 25% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given to expectant mothers during their peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the newborns.
Niacin is another B-complex vitamin found abundantly in sesame. About 4.5 mg or 28% of daily-required levels of niacin is provided by just 100 g of seeds. Niacin helps reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
Just a hand full of sesame a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and protein.
60 calories, 3 grams protein, 3 grams fat, and 5 grams carbs per tablespoon
Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids-can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
Get More Fibre
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fibre — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fibre, which is important for digestive health.
Stock Up On Omega-3
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are important for brain health. “There’s better conversion of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food than with flax seed,” said researcher Wayne Coates.
Stronger Teeth And Bones
A serving of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
Don’t Forget Manganese
Manganese isn’t a well-known nutrient, but it’s important for our health: it’s good for your bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin. One serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30 per cent of your recommended intake of this mineral.
Plenty Of Phosphorus
With 27 per cent of your daily value for phosphorus, chia seeds also helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also used by the body to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.
Pack In The Protein
Chia seeds also make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don’t have any cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 per cent of the daily value.
Fight Belly Fat
Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat, according to Live Strong. This type of resistance can also be harmful for your overall health.
Get Full. Faster
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. While tryptophan is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner for example, it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.
Improve Heart Health
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol. All good news for your ticker!
51 calories, 2 grams protein, 4.5 grams fat, and 2 grams carbs per tablespoon
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Sunflower seeds contain two nutrients that promote cardiovascular health — vitamin E and folate.
A quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds contains over 60% of the daily value of vitamin E. This essential vitamin performs important antioxidant function and balanced levels of vitamin E have been linked to a lower overall reduced risk of early death from cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E helps neutralize free radicals to protect brain health and cell membranes against redness and swelling. Make no mistake about the benefits of vitamin E, it has been linked to protection from more than one serious health risk.
Additionally, folate has been shown to promote cardiovascular health from birth to old age. It metabolizes homocysteine, an indicator of cardiovascular problems, into methionine, an essential amino acid. Folate and essential fatty acids naturally occur in sunflower seeds and have been associated with cardiovascular health.
Phytosterols Promote Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Sunflower seeds contain a high level of phytosterols. These phytosterols have physical properties similar to cholesterol; more than once, research has linked them to supporting healthy cholesterol levels.
Potent Source of Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency can lead to a variety of heath problems that affect the cardiovascular, nervous, and immune systems. The muscles and skeletal system also require magnesium for proper function. Homeopathic practitioners have long used magnesium to promote respiratory function, heart health, and reduced PMS tension.
And a quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds provides more than 25% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. That’s protection for your brain, heart, muscles and more!
Supports a Healthy Mood
There’s an added bonus to the magnesium in sunflower seeds, it promotes a healthy mood. Over one hundred years ago, magnesium sulfate was given to patients suffering from depression. Its success, as well as its safety, made it a valuable option. Today magnesium plays an essential role in homeopathic therapies for mental health.
Contains Selenium: A Powerful Antioxidant and Great for Thyroid Health
Sunflower seeds contain selenium, an essential nutrient. Studies have found it plays a role in antioxidant function and helps reduce redness and swelling in the body. It also has recently been identified for its critical role in thyroid hormone metabolism. Selenium has also been noted for its ability to encourage DNA repair in damaged cells.
The Best Way to Eat Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great snack but it’s important to keep it healthy. Many of the available-everywhere varieties are roasted and loaded with high-sodium flavorings. They’re also probably not organic or GMO-free — two things you want to look for.
Personally, I love the sprouted, organic sunflower seeds from Go Raw. They’re an awesome snack, go great in a salad, and the quality is as good as it gets. I’d also recommend you give sunflower butter a try, similar to peanut butter, it’s available in some grocery stores, it’s not hard to make, and it’s delicious.
Do you snack on sunflower seeds? What’s your favorite way to eat them? Leave a comment below and share it with us!
These are our favorite 6 super seeds have we missed one? Comment below..