If there is one miracle worker when it comes to health, whether it be for weight loss purposes, disease prevention, anti-aging, energy, beauty or longevity - the seed deserves ultimate recognition. We are very fortunate that we have such superfoods available to us, especially since all seeds boast their own unique health benefits. They are powerful little guys when it comes to your health and can be used therapeutically to aid with certain health ailments and concerns. I'll give you the run down on the unique benefits of a few celebrity seeds, but I'll also tell you what all seeds have in common.
WEIGHT LOSS PROMOTING. Seeds are high in protein, which is a key element in achieving successful weight loss. Protein is important to include in your diet for keeping blood sugar levels balanced which helps fight cravings and reduce hunger. And yes, seeds are also high in healthy fats.
Hemp hearts are a fabulous seed to include in your diet if you have a weight loss goal in mind. In addition to their other amazing health benefits, they've gained publicity for packing a considerably high amount of protein. They have a slightly nutty flavor and are great on top of yogurt, blended in smoothies and even sprinkled on whole grain crackers and homemade dips.
DETOXIFYING. Seeds are also high in fibre, which can be referred to as an "internal scrub brush" for the intestines. Fibre promotes healthy digestion and elimination which is essential to help rid your body of toxins naturally.
Flaxseeds have been known to promote a healthy colon and assist with the detoxification process due to their high omega 3 and fiber content. Be sure to eat them ground, as their tough outer shells can make it hard for the body to breakdown and take advantage of their amazing health benefits. (This is sometimes referred to as "flaxmeal.") While ground flaxseeds are the most nutritious form, you can also purchase flaxseed oil which can be incorporated into homemade salad dressings, poured over veggies and oatmeal.
DISEASE-PREVENTING. Due to their omega 3 fatty acids and the variety of vitamins and minerals they contain, seeds help lower the lousy cholesterol (LDL), a culprit in promoting heart disease, intracellular damage and inflammation. LDL cholesterol even changes the form of white blood cells, making them less resistant against disease. In turn, seeds raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) which helps us with the detoxification process and keeps the LDL cholesterol away. Chia seeds are particularly high in omega 3 EFA's and since they are so tiny and flavorless, you can sneak them into any dish. Mix them in with whole grain pastas, include them in soups, stews, baking and sandwiches. You'll hardly notice them and they'll work healthy magic!
Pumpkin seeds have also gained a reputation for being good for the males. They are high in zinc (a mineral important for healthy sperm production) and have been said to contain a high amount of antioxidants which can help prevent the production of cancerous prostate cells. They are good for the ladies too because they contain iron, a common mineral deficiency among women. I also remember being told once by a colleague that the scent of pumpkin pie spice turns on the gents.. interesting!? Grind them in a coffee grinder for optimal absorption and sprinkle them on your oatmeal, make a nut butter out of them or bake something nutritious and delicious topped with pumpkin seeds for your man.
BEAUTIFYING. Proper elimination of toxins is one way of promoting inner and outer beauty but also keeps you feeling great. Who feels good with sluggish digestion? I'm a firm believer that beauty radiates from within and when you feel great, you look great! If you've been reading up on antioxidants and healthy fats, you will already know that they are essential to help slow the aging process and promote younger looking skin.
Sesame seeds are particularly rich in calcium, an antioxidant and mineral which is needed to help build healthy skin, teeth and bones. 1/4 cup of sesame seeds has roughly 350 mg of calcium while 1 cup of milk has approximately 290 mg of calcium. As an antioxidant, it works to slow the aging process and fight against cellular damage to prevent disease. They are used in many traditional dishes, such as stir fries and tahini(ground sesame seeds- a key ingredient in many hummus recipes.) Perhaps this is a reason why middle eastern and asian cultures have such youthful looking skin?
Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E which is also an important antioxidant for cellular health and skin tissue repair. Sprinkle them on salads and include them in homemade protein bar recipes.
ENERGY!Because seeds are high in protein and essential fatty acids (which take longer for the body to break down) they are an excellent source of sustainable long lasting energy. (Which might I add, your mid-afternoon afternoon coffee cannot provide without a spike and crash in blood sugar levels.)
All seeds are great energizers and being a complete protein, they are a great plant based choice for athletes and those who follow a vegan and vegetarian diet.