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Healthy Handfuls: 9 Seeds Your Diet Needs

Apr 06, 2016 02:00PM ● By Melissa Lauren
By Melissa Lauren

Have you noticed that people are eating bird food? Well, it’s not just for the birds. Seeds are some of the healthiest foods ever. In addition to being excellent sources of protein, seeds have many other benefits such as vitamins, minerals, fiber— a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories. Following are 10 seeds you need to incorporate into your menu featuring health benefits and how to eat them with easy tasty recipes.


1. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings and there is evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure. Chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega-3, the vital fat that protects against inflammation such as arthritis and heart disease. Studies indicate they can help control blood sugar, which leads scientists to believe that chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.


Chia pudding: whisk together 4 tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 2 teaspoons of agave nectar. Cover and chill overnight. Garnish pudding with dried fruit of your choosing. You can also throw these seeds into your daily breakfast smoothie.


2. Flax Seeds

Flax Seeds contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, and fiber— both the soluble and insoluble types. Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may protect against breast, prostate, and colon cancer. In animal studies, the plant Omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth.


Add 2 tablespoons of ground flax on non-fat Greek yogurt with some naturally sweet berries for a jumpstart to your day.


3. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein, and zinc. Magnesium helps blood vessels relax and promotes proper bowel function. Pumpkin seeds may benefit your heart, liver, and immune system, help fight diabetes, and offer unique benefits for men’s prostate health and women’s relief of menopause symptoms.


Spiced, toasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack. Mix in a bowl a little bit of sea salt, paprika, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Toss with a little bit of olive oil to coat evenly. Toast on a cookie sheet at 275 degrees for 15-30 minutes. After 15 minutes flip the seeds with a spatula so they get golden on both sides.


4. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.


Sunflower butter is a great substitute for peanut butter when making the classic PB&J. (A rise in childhood peanut allergies has caused many school cafeterias to ban peanut butter.) You can also slice an apple and dip in sunflower butter for a tasty snack.


5. Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate Seeds are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. Pomegranate may lower blood pressure, help fight arthritis, and joint pain, and lower the risk of heart disease, in addition to breast and prostate cancers.


Throw pomegranate seeds on a spinach salad with pears, bleu cheese crumbles, and grilled chicken for a satisfying lunch.


6. Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds are high in calcium and magnesium. Sesame also contains fat-soluble lignin with properties known as sesamin studied for inhibiting the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cells including: lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, leukemia, and other forms of cancer. A study published in the 2006 Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that the substitution of sesame seed oil as the sole edible oil lowers blood pressure and glucose in hypertensive diabetics.


Make a sesame seed crust and fry fish in sesame oil. Mix 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, 1 egg. Set aside. Mix 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut, and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander together well. Dip the fish in the wet ingredients followed by dry. Deep fry in sesame oil in 360 degrees of oil for four to five minutes. Over frying will scorch the seeds and make them bitter.


7. Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds are all protein and increase energy, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, boost immune systems, and balance blood sugar levels.


This is your basic pesto recipe switching out pine nuts with the hemp seeds. Mix 3 cups of fresh basil, 1/2 cup of hemp seeds (shell-free), 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste. You can use 1/2 cup of olive oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil. Pulse in a blender until well incorporated! Enjoy on toast, whole grain pasta or dress a sandwich with it!


8. Grape Seeds

Grape Seeds improve cardiovascular health, reduce leg swelling, and may even treat depression naturally.


Don’t buy seedless grapes. Eat grapes with seeds and all for a sweet snack.


9. Cumin Seeds

Cumin Seeds contain iron and can boost your immune system and increase metabolism in addition to benefiting the digestive system.


Add cumin seeds to your favorite homemade soup recipe. Or let cumin seeds sizzle in a bit of oil, cooking them on low and slowly until they are dark brown. Then add this sauce to rice to make the Indian dish, Zeera Rice.