Seeds Aren’t Just for the Birds: Why You Should Be Eating Them

So, this posting was born in an interesting conversation I had with my 3-year-old over family brunch the other morning. We were eating at a local diner lauded for its menu using organic and locally-sourced meat and produce. Yes, it’s the sort of place that offers crayons to child guests for coloring their paper Kids Menus, but the booths are big enough to accommodate as many as six adults, the staff is friendly, and I’ve never had a bad meal there.

While coloring a drawing of happy-looking fruits and vegetables, my daughter solicited advice from the adults at the table as to what kind of food one nondescript-looking member of the group was intended to be.  Between my wife, my mother-in-law, and myself, we settled on the idea that it was some kind of seed, basing our consensus on the fact that every other item in the picture was something healthy to eat, and given that seeds are as well, perhaps it was one.

“But daddy,” my daughter told me, “You’re not supposed to eat seeds.” Given that she’s been offered and has observed her parents eating various seeds on numerous occasions in our home, I have to think this opinion arose more from her not particularly liking certain ones, than from not knowing that humans can and do eat seeds.

I explained to her that people eat a pretty wide variety of seeds all the time, and that they’re generally quite good for us.  Birds needn’t be the only ones benefiting from the nourishment and hunger satisfaction that they provide, after all.  Packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins, these little powerhouses are a great option for adding flavor and texture to delicious meals. The examples listed below may vary in terms of taste characteristics, but one attribute shared by them all is that each of these seeds is a great-tasting way to add a little nutrition to your diet.

Sunflower Seeds

sunflowerSunflower seeds contain magnesium to lower high blood pressure, reduce risk of stroke and heart attack, and help build strong bones. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory benefits as well as playing a significant role in preventing cardiovascular disease.

Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate_seeds1Pomegranate seeds are nature’s “sweet tarts.” This juicy seed is packed with powerful antioxidants, and is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and dietary fiber.

Colman’s Mustard Seeds

colmansmustardseedsColman’s Mustard stems from a unique blend of brown seeds (Brassica Juncea) and white seeds (Sinapis Alba) that create the perfect essential to creating flavorful dishes, rubs, sauces and more. Full of potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, selenium, and magnesium, mustard seed promote gastrointestinal and heart health, as well as possessing anti-inflammatory effects and lowering high blood pressure.

Hemp Seeds

hempHemp seeds are a complete protein as they contain essential fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3, and are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. They are a great source of Vitamins A, b1, B2 D and E, in addition to containing all nutritionally significant amino acids.

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin_seedsPumpkin seeds are high in zinc, and a rich source of protein, magnesium, manganese, zinc, icon, copper, and B vitamins. Their benefits include eye, heart, liver, and skin health, immunity, and protection against osteoporosis and other chronic disease.

Flax Seeds

Brown_Flax_SeedsFlax seeds help to lower blood pressure. They contain omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation, both soluble and insoluble fiber to help promote digestive health, and lignans, which possess plant estrogen and antioxidant properties.

Chia Seeds

Chia_SeedsChia seed benefits include carbohydrates, calcium, and antioxidants.  They also contain fiber which promotes digestive health, and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation.

Sesame Seeds

sesame seedsBesides being a prime source of manganese, copper, and calcium, sesame seeds contain antioxidants and magnesium, which neutralizes free radicals. They also ease stress and reduce hypertension.

[Colman’s Mustard image courtesy of Colman’s Mustard.  All other images were found in public domain.]

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