Seeds have a myriad of nutrients to offer. A nutrition powerhouse, you only need a small amount to make all the difference. From healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and antioxidants, to vitamins, essential minerals, and fiber; seeds have it all.
When consumed as a regular part of your diet, seeds help reduce blood cholesterol, blood glucose, as well as blood pressure. Each tiny seed has something unique to offer.
Benefits of Seeds
To make the most out of these joys of nature, it is crucial that you gain more understanding of their advantages.
1. They Aid In Weight Loss
Seeds are loaded with proteins and fiber; both of which aid weight loss immensely. Fiber moves through the digestive tract at a much slower rate, thereby making you feel fuller for longer. This prevents untimely snacks and cravings. Proteins help decrease the levels of ghrelin in the blood. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger.
2. They Aid In Digestion
The high dietary fiber content of seeds plays an integral role in digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes regularity. Additionally, it protects the body against issues such as hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, constipation, and intestinal ulcers. Fiber also helps maintain the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which has a significant impact on immune function and well as nutrient absorption.
3. They Help Regulate Blood Glucose Levels
The fiber present in the seeds helps retard the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, regulating blood sugar levels to prevent sudden crashes and spikes. This mechanism helps prevent diabetes, but it also prevents the development of chronic conditions like heart disease.
4. They Combat Free-Radical Production and Subsequent Damage.
Seeds are a rich source of manganese. Manganese is an essential micro-nutrient that plays an integral role in health. A co factor for many enzymes in the body, manganese is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and protects the body from oxidative stress. Protection from oxidative stress is beneficial for the body as it protects it from potential conditions such as heart disease, cancer, etc.
5. They Are An Excellent Source of Plant-Based Proteins
Protein is an essential nutrient because it is necessary for tissue repair, immune function, muscle growth, wound healing, and more. A small serving of seeds is an excellent way to increase your protein intake. Inadequate protein in your diet can be damaging to one’s health as it increases the risk of infection and results in greater appetite and stunted growth. On average, most seeds contain about 10 grams of proteins in each serving.
6. They Are A Rich Source Of Nutrients
In addition to proteins and fiber, seeds are potent sources of micro-nutrients, including vitamins, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and others. Each of these nutrients plays a significant role in various body processes enabling the body to function better.
Seven Seeds with Fantastic Health Benefits
Following is a list of seven seeds with impressive health benefits.
1) Flax Seeds
Flax-seeds have gained significant recognition in recent years owing to their countless benefits. Flax-seeds are nutty-flavored seeds that usually come in two colors, namely brown and yellow. Often labeled a superfood, flaxseeds are a potent source of essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, fiber, vitamin B1, and essential minerals including zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Often referred to as linseeds, flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in particular. These fatty acids, however, are contained within the seeds’ fibrous outer shell. The human body is incapable of digesting this fibrous layer; thus, flaxseeds must be ground before consumption in order to avail its benefits.
Flax-seeds also contain polyphenols that act as important antioxidants for the body. The one found in abundance in flaxseeds is lignans. Lignans, along with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, help lower the body’s cholesterol levels. Reduced cholesterol thus contributes to an automatically decreased risk of developing heart disease. Research proves that flaxseeds reduce LDL cholesterol by an average of 10mmol/l.
Lignans also act as phytoestrogens, which are chemicals that mimic the effect of estrogen, the female sex hormone. Their actions as phytoestrogens help reduce markers of tumor growth in women who have breast cancer. When paired with omega-3 fatty acids and mucilage, lignans help lower inflammation in the body resulting from disease and prevent the occurrence of cancer. Men with prostate cancer exhibited similar effects. Various sources also suggest that flaxseeds play a role in regulating blood sugar levels that in turn, lower one’s risk of developing diabetes.
2) Chia Seeds
A fiber superhero, chia seeds have taken the world by storm. These small seeds are a potent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, as well as essential minerals including iron, folate, calcium, and magnesium. A tried and tested method of improving heart health, lowering blood pressure, and aiding weight loss; chia seeds are nature’s gift to humankind.
Chia seeds have a soft and creamy texture that is bouncy and light. The majority of the carbs found in chia seeds are in the form of fiber. This fiber helps control body weight. They help you feel full by absorbing gastric juice in the stomach, which in turn prevents cravings. Chia seeds are often called bone strengtheners owing to their high calcium content. Chia seeds also contain important antioxidant polyphenols that prevent free radical-induced damage in the body.
Research suggests that chia seeds may help reduce blood sugar levels in addition to reducing appetite. A study comprising of 20 people with type 2 diabetes concluded that eating approximately 40 grams of chia seeds every day for three months helped lower blood pressure as well as inflammatory chemicals such as C-reactive protein (CRP). A delicious addition to various smoothies, puddings, and more, chia seeds are an excellent superfood.
3) Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are excellent for muscle health. Rich sources of essential amino acids, hemp seeds are the perfect supplement for fat-free muscles. The human body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own. Therefore, they must be acquired from external sources. In fact, the amino acid content of hemp seeds is 30% more than that found in regular protein-rich foods. Hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein per ounce. They are also loaded with polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, and zinc.
In addition to proteins and minerals, hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which is an essential fatty acid that combats inflammation. These omega-3 fats benefit heart and brain health. The anti-inflammatory properties of hemp seeds help reduce the occurrence of serious ailments such as cancer.
A research study concluded that hemp seeds help reduce the symptoms of eczema. According to the results of the study, people experienced reduced itchiness and skin dryness after taking hemp seed oil supplements for 20 weeks. This immunity-boosting, weight reducing, and cancer-fighting superfood are one of those few vegetarian protein sources that contain all 20 essential amino acids necessary for muscle build up.
4) Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are delicious and nutritious. Nutty, sweet, and savory, sesame seeds are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Sesame seeds are potent sources of calcium, vitamin B1, copper, and manganese along with fiber and proteins. All of these nutrients enable sesame seeds to increase blood count while benefitting the heart as well as bones.
Along with being a potent source of various phytonutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, sesame seeds are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids help lower cholesterol, which in turn contributes to a healthier heart. Sesame seeds are the best-known dietary source of lignans. Similar to flaxseeds, sesame seeds are abundant in lignans. Lignans and linolenic acid lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
Sesamin is a peculiar type of lignan found in sesame seeds. Studies suggest that sesamin converts to enterolactone, another type of lignin, by the gut bacteria. Enterolactone mimics the action of estrogen. Reduced levels of enterolactone in the body have been associated with breast cancer and heart disease. Another study deduced that sesame seeds could help lower blood cholesterol and improve sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women.
The antioxidants found in sesame seeds help reduce inflammation as well as the occurrence of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress results in the worsening of certain conditions such as arthritis. According to the results of a research study, after consuming 40 grams of sesame seeds daily for approximately two months, patients with osteoarthritis revealed reduced inflammatory chemicals in the blood. Another study concluded that consuming 40 grams of sesame seeds daily for a month helps reduce oxidative stress and muscle damage in athletes along with enhanced aerobic capacity.
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5) Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed seeds across the globe. These chunky green seeds present an impressive health profile. Pumpkin seeds are super healthy as they are rich in monounsaturated fats, phosphorus, and omega-6 fats. Their extensive nutritional makeup enables them to benefit various body processes. A rich source of iron, pumpkin seeds are great if you are looking for a boost in energy. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps control anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which are plant compounds that help reduce the cholesterol content in the blood. Besides lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, pumpkin seeds help, reduce the risk of breast cancer development significantly. A study concentrating on postmenopausal women deduced that pumpkin seeds help lower blood pressure and increase HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is beneficial, which thus helps with menopausal symptoms as well.
Pumpkin seeds also help urinary tract infections as well as prostate disorders. Pumpkin seed oil is a tried and tested therapy to help men with enlarged prostates as well as improve the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Bladder stones and kidney stones are quite similar in composition as they both form when minerals crystallize in the bladder. They cause significant discomfort in the abdominal area. A research study concluded that pumpkin seeds also help reduce the occurrence of bladder stones by reducing the amount of calcium present in urine.
6) Sunflower Seeds
This nutrient dense food does not nearly get the recognition that it deserves. An excellent source of vitamins B and E, sunflower seeds help regulate blood pressure levels. Its cancer-fighting properties can be attributed to the presence of selenium and various antioxidants that combat inflammation. Reduced inflammation also helps improve heart health.
A research study concluded that eating sunflower seeds more than five times a week reduces the levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) in the blood, a prominent chemical known to contribute to inflammation. Another research study observed the effects of nut and seed consumption on blood cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women. The results revealed that sunflower seeds help reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the blood.
7) Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranate is a glorious fruit. Its ruby red juicy seeds have a unique flavor that is the perfect mix of tart and sweet. While pomegranate is already a very healthy fruit, pomegranate seeds harbor various benefits as well. Pomegranate seeds aid weight loss, as they are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. The antioxidants present in pomegranate seeds possess anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, as well as anti-cancer properties. Vitamin C is an excellent tool that helps burn fat and promotes weight loss. They are also rich in fiber as well as other chemicals that aid digestion and benefit the skin in various ways. Pomegranates have a low-calorie count, so you do not even have to feel guilty about eating loads of it.
Read more: 13+ Benefits of Fennel Seeds
Excellent sources of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and antioxidant phenols, seeds should be a part of everyone’s daily dietary intake. Not only are they healthy, but they are also easy to eat. Sprinkle some on your favorite salad, mix them in your oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothie, or simply eat them on their own; they make for a delicious snack. From lowering blood cholesterol to reducing inflammation to even preventing cancer, seeds are the best superfood. Nutty, crunchy, and delicious bundles loaded with nutrition; what more could one ask for? Make sure to incorporate them into your diet so you may also reap their amazing benefits.