Seeds and their health benefits

“Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts.”– Michael Pollan

Seeds are a great addition to any eating regime as they are packed with a multitude of vitamins and minerals in much higher proportions than found elsewhere. Remember, a seed is the first form of food the baby plant will have as well as being the young plant itself. Therefore, just like an egg, it is a tiny parcel that is jam packed with everything a young organism needs to grow. We can take advantage of this when we add seeds to our diet and luckily much research has been done recently on the health benefits of seeds. 

Chia seed

  • High in protein
  • Aid in digestion
  • Omega 3 oils
  • High in calcium
  • High in magnesium
  • High in iron 
  • Rich in antioxidants

Chia seeds, which are known as a superfood, are harvested from the plant Salvia hispanica which is a member of the mint family. These seeds are high protein and high energy little capsules that are able to aid digestion. They typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil (high in omega 3) and 25% dietary fiber. This superfood is also extremely high in calcium, magnesium and iron as well as containing may antioxidants, which makes it an all round amazing food to include in your diet. 

Hemp seed

  • Rich in Omega 3 and 6
  • Rich in protein 
  • High in vitamin E
  • High in phosphorus
  • Rich in sodium
  • High in potassium
  • High in calcium
  • High in zinc
  • Rich in sulphur
  • Rich in iron 

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) seeds are another seed that has been termed a superfood in recent years and they do live up to this title. They are rich in Omegas 3 and 6 as well as being exceptionally high in protein. These little seeds contain high levels of vitamin E, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulphur, iron and zinc. They help to reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause as well as aid in proper digestion. Despite the fact that many associated these little wonders with marijuana, they have absolutely none of the mood altering effects and all of the goodness. 

Sunflower seed

  • Rich in vitamin E
  • High in folate
  • Good for cardiovascular health
  • Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antidepressant

The common, and often overlooked sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seed in fact has some great health promoting properties. Being extremely high in vitamin E and rich in folate, they promote cardiovascular health and having high levels of phytosteroids, will also help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Sunflower seeds also contain a good amount of magnesium which not only helps the body but also can be used to treat depression. Sunflower seeds also contain selenium, which supports antioxidant function and reduces swelling in the body. Want to know how to tell which seeds are most nutritious? The black ones are usually made into sunflower oil and the stripy ones are known as the culinary type and are packed full of goodness!

Linseed (flax seed) 

  • Omega 3 oils
  • Good cholesterol balancer
  • High levels of vitamin B1 and B6
  • Rich in protein
  • Rich in iron
  • Normal immune functioning
  • Reduce tiredness
  • High in zinc
  • Rich in phosphorus
  • Rich in potassium
  • High levels of magnesium

Linseeds are harvested from the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) from the family Linaceae. Much like the other seeds discussed here, they are packed with omega 3s which are great in maintaining normal cholesterol levels. Not only this, but they contain high levels of vitamins B1 and B6 as well as lots of protein. They are high in iron which helps your red blood cells which in turn helps you feel less tired. Iron is also essential for a functioning immune system and to maintain normal cognitive functioning. These little seeds are packed with zinc, which is good for the skin, hair, bones, vision as well as fertility. They are also rich in phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.

Poppy seed

  • Contain antioxidants
  • Prevent coronary artery disease
  • Rich in vitamin B
  • High in iron
  • High levels of zinc
  • Rich in copper
  • High in manganese
  • Rich in magnesium

Poppy seeds have been harvested by many civilizations from the Papaver somniferum flower, for thousands of years. These tiny, kidney shaped seeds are known to contain disease preventing antioxidants as well as being packed with oleic acid which helps to prevent coronary artery disease. They are not only rich in many B complex vitamins but also iron, copper, calcium potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. Copper is vital in the formation of red blood cells, zinc which helps to regulate growth and development as well as sperm production. Poppy seeds, despite being unfairly associated with opiates are a fantastic form of all sorts of health boosting compounds. 

Pumpkin seed

  • High in magnesium
  • Rich in zinc
  • High in omega 3 oils
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Heart functioning
  • Healthy bowel function
  • Helps repair teeth and bones
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Antidepressant
  • Aid in sleeplessness
  • Good for the skin 
  • Anti-inflammatory

Pumpkin seeds are harvested from the fruits of plants belonging to the Cucurbita family and are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with magnesium, zinc, omega 3s and antioxidants. Magnesium helps your body maintain healthy heart and bowel functioning as well as has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest. It also assists the body in repairing teeth and bones. Zinc is helpful to the immune system, strengthen the senses and improve ones mood. It has been shown to benefit the skin and sperm production in men. Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to aid in sleeplessness as well as possessing anti-inflammatory effects. 

Sesame seed

  • High in protein
  • Rich in magnesium
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Fights diabetes
  • Kills cancer
  • Stop bad cholesterol
  • Contains phytosteroids
  • Good for the skin
  • Aids in digestion
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Boost heart health
  • Fights cancer
  • Antidepressant
  • Aids in sleeplessness
  • Rich in calcium
  • High levels of zinc
  • Rich in copper

Sesame seeds are harvested from the benne plant (Sesamum indicum)  and have a mild, nutty flavour to them. These tiny seeds contain 20% protein, high amounts of iron as well as high levels of diabetes fighting and blood pressure lowering, magnesium. Sesame seeds contain phytosteroids which block the production of harmful cholesterol and fight cancer. Not only this but they are known to be good for digestion and the skin. These little seeds contain a compound known as sesamol, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Sesamol is known to prevent heart disease and boost heart health. High levels of phytic acid contained within these seeds are another cancer killer. Sesame seeds are known to boost seratonin levels in the brain which lessens anxiety and aids in restful sleep. Zinc, copper and calcium are also found in high amounts in these little seeds.

With love and light, Jen


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