If eating plants and vegetables are good for you, maybe it's just common sense that eating embryonic plants – seeds – would be just as good or better? Intuitive or not, seeds are almost inevitably brimming with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils and dormant enzymes.
In fact, it's impossible to consume a raw seed and not derive nutrition from it. But that “raw” part, that's the key. Once seeds are exposed to heat they produce toxic compounds and the vitamin, mineral and essential oil profiles are rendered nutritionally useless. In fact, their very scientific classification changes, from living food to dead. Soak them, mash them – that's fine. Just keep them away from heat.
There are many seeds that you probably have included in your diet, whether you are aware of them or not. The sesame seeds atop your bagel are great sources of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. But they also contain two compounds found uniquely in sesame seeds: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these have a cholesterol-lowering effect.
Pumpkin seeds are no doubt already on your short list of healthy snacks, but you probably did not know that they are a good source for vitamin B like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates. Studies have also shown that pumpkin seeds' component L-tryptophan can help you fight depression.
But there's a couple of other seeds that you may not eat normally that well worth your attention. In fact, they qualify as “super foods!”
Primary on our palette of powerful seeds is the mighty hemp. It contains the highest botanical source of essential fatty acids found anywhere in nature, and it is a superior source of easily digested and completely vegetarian protein. Hemp seeds have been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, and contain a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid. This last does wonder for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
Do you remember watering and growing those “Chia Pets” a few years back? Those seeds are insanely good for you! Chia seeds contain:
· 2.5 times more protein than kidney beans
· 3 times the antioxidant strength of blueberries
· 3 times more iron than spinach
· 6 times more calcium than milk
· 7 times more vitamin C than oranges
· 8 times more omega-3 than salmon
· 10 times more fiber than rice
· 15 times more magnesium than broccoli
They are an excellent source of fiber and protein, are gluten-free, and are the richest source of vegetarian omega-3 fatty acids.