Super Seeds You Can't Ignore
Healthy Living

Super Seeds You Can't Ignore

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 14 Nov 2014 - 11:26.
 
Don't judge food by its size, for good things come in small packages, and so do edible seeds. Seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition.They are an integral part of a well-balanced, plant-based diet in different sizes, shapes and colours. Seeds have their unique health benefits. Therefore, pause when you come across them and liberally serve yourself a good handful, in your diet.
 
Not only do these nutty and crunchy seeds help to drive away  diseases, but also boosts your immunity and improves the quality of life. They're packed with nutrients like protein, magnesium, calcium, fibre, iron, minerals, vitamins, good fats and omega-3 fatty acids. 
 
Here's a scoop into their nutritive value and how they can be used in our diet:

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have a soft, creamy texture and are one of the most popular superfoods today for all the good reasons: they are composed of essential nutrients such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimum growth and development. Chia seeds’high calcium and magnesium content help build strong bones and promote dental health. 
 
A study published in "Plant Foods for Human Nutrition" in June 2012 looked at the effects of consuming chia seeds on omega-3s and researchers found that participants ingesting 25 grams of chia seeds per day for seven days experienced a 138% increase in alpha-linolenic acid and a 30% increase in eicosapentaenoic acid, both of which are omega-3 fatty acids which in turn help your heart by lowering triglycerides. The soluble fibre helps decrease cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and make you feel full longer.
 
Caraway seeds
Caraway seeds strengthen the stomach functions, relieve indigestion problems, cold, cough, fever and throat infections, and also enhance eyesight while boosting immunity. Caraway seed oil is used orally in overcoming bad breath.
 
Hemp seeds
Hempseed which have a nutty flavour offer a unique nutritional package, in terms of dietary oil, protein, vitamins and minerals. Hemp seeds are an incredible vegan source of biologically available, easily digestible protein. It is  one of very few plant proteins that supply the body with essential amino acids.  Hempseed oil is highly unsaturated and contains both essential fatty acids in a nutritionally balanced ratio which assists in keeping your heart healthy as they also help to lower the cholesterol levels.,A study published in 2007 concluded, that hempseed can prevent blood clotting. The fatty acids in hemp seeds also boost immunity and reduce inflammation. So start including hemp seeds as part of your diet by garnishing breakfast cereals, smoothies, salads and desserts. 
 
Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds (pepita) are edible kernels of fruit pumpkin. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids. In the mineral form  they include magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium and copper. They contain L-tryptophan which helps to alleviate depression.  
 
Pumpkin seeds help in lowering cholesterol, improving immune system, promoting good prostate health, which contain plant sterols and phytochemicals. According to research, pumpkin seeds may help in improving insulin regulation, thereby preventing diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.
 
One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, vital for important physiological functions. Pumpkin seeds can be added to soups, salads or sandwiches to add texture and flavour.
 
Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are available in a variety of colours including brown, red, black and yellow. They are a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins, and fibre. The nutrients found in sesame seeds contribute to cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation, prevents diabetes, promote respiratory health, prevents cancer, provides relief for constipation and indigestion and boosts bone health. 
 
A study published in 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that sesame oil improved the effectiveness of the oral antidiabetic drug glibenclamide in type 2 diabetics. In human studies, sesamin has been previously shown to have cholesterol-lowering, antihypertensive and antioxidative effectsSesame can be made a part of your diet in preparations such as tilladoos, tahini chutneys,garnishingsonon bread, cookies and muffins.
 
Sunflower Seeds
Delicious, nutty, and crunchy sunflower seeds are widely considered as healthful foods as they are rich in B complex vitamins which are essential for a healthy nervous system, They alsocontain essential minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, besides, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – good for your heart. 
 
Sunflower seeds contribute to your daily intake of vitamin E.  According to the National Sunflower Association, an ounce of sunflower seeds provides 76 %of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E. It also has a calming effect on your brain because of high levels of tryptophan which creates a relaxing effect. Sunflower seeds are also very good for boosting energy levels,digestion, brain health, helpful during pregnancydue to high folate content.So include it in your diet in the form of roasted and salted seeds as part of a healthy snack.
 
Pomegranate seeds
The pomegranate, also known as the seeded apple, is a powerful fruit and is loaded with health benefits as they're rich in antioxidants, fibre and Vitamin C and K. They are also a great vegan source of iron. The antioxidants are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties, while vitamin C works as a fat burner and helps with weight-loss.High phytochemicals content may promote heart health. So toss the seeds on a salad, smoothie or desert for a healthy you.
 
Poppy seeds
Poppy seeds popularly known as khuskhus come packed with nutrients. They are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and dietary fibre. These seeds are a perfect remedy for curing insomnia, treat nausea, diarrhoea, increase energy levels due to their high carbohydrate content, promote digestion, and prevent kidney stones.Sprinkle poppy seeds over your pancakes, baked products, pastas to reap the benefits.
 
 
References:
 
• F. Jin, D. C. Nieman, W. Sha et al., “Supplementation of milled chia seeds increases plasma ALA and EPA in postmenopausal women,” Plant Foods For Human Nutrition, vol. 67, pp. 105– 110, 2010
• Journal of Industrial Hemp Volume 7, Issue 1, 2002
• "Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus."  ClinNutr. 2011 Jun ;30(3):351-8. Epub 2010 Dec 16. PMID: 21163558
• Miyawaki T, Aono H, Toyoda-Ono Y, Maeda H, Kiso Y, Moriyama K. Antihypertensive effects of sesamin in humans. J NutrSciVitaminol (Tokyo). 2009 Feb;55(1):87-91.
 
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.