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Health Spotlight on… SEEDS!

Seeds… They’re small, tasty, and packed with nutrition…

And the truth is that most of us don’t eat enough of them… even though the health benefits can be huge…

And not only that – they’re a perfect replacement for unhealthy snacks like chips and candy.

Now, there are a million types of seeds out there, from the inedible fruit seeds like an apple core that get tossed in the trash to ones you don’t even notice like tomato seeds to the vast array of seeds that are used as spices, such as cumin, caraway, poppy, and mustard…

Heck, even some healthy “grains” are actually seeds like quinoa and buckwheat…

But today, I’m going to tell you about a different kind – the seeds you can eat as a snack or add into your salads and cooked dishes for a nutrition boost…

And once you discover just how powerful these seeds are, I’m hoping you’ll start to pay them more attention.

The first seed I want to mention is probably the most common one that people eat on its own…

Sunflower Seeds

sunflowers

You can buy them at nearly every convenience store in the country…

Yet if you’re overlooking sunflower seeds when you stop in for a quick fill-up, then you’re doing yourself a disfavor…

That’s because these seeds have an absolute ton of good in them by weight, including…

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin E
  • Protein
  • Manganese
  • Fiber

And it all comes in an extremely small package – just consider that a small handful of sunflower seeds has nearly half your recommended daily intake of Vitamin E.

What these nutrients do for you is equally as impressive. Here’s a few of the main benefits…

  • Lowers inflammation and risk of heart disease
  • Reduces asthma symptoms
  • Helps prevent migraine headaches
  • Gets rid of cholesterol

Since you likely already know about sunflower seeds, I won’t spend too much time on them, but there is something that needs to be said…

When buying sunflower seeds, look for ones that have been roasted without extra oil added – you simply can’t trust that manufacturers use quality oil in their production process…

And I prefer unsalted sunflower seeds and add my own dash of salt to avoid a huge dose of sodium, which many of the salted seeds have.

If it’s been a while since you last had a bag of sunflower seeds, why not pick one up and make them a snacking staple?

Another seed that makes a great snack are…

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds

They may not get the same recognition as sunflower seeds, but pumpkin seeds are quite healthy as well…

And in particular, if you’re looking to up your protein count, then these seeds are a sure winner – they contain 40% more protein than sunflower seeds. But the other main nutrient that sets them apart is phosphorous, which is well known to…

  • Help your kidneys function better
  • Increase vitamin absorption
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Keep a steady heartbeat
  • Lower muscle pain

And it assists your body’s cells to produce more DNA and RNA – your genetic code!

While they’re most often eaten as a snack, you can also toss them into salads, stews, and soups and other meals for a nutrition boost.

Like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds can have the same oil and salt issue as sunflower seeds, so be sure to read the label carefully…

One seed where you never have to worry about the label is this next one…

Flaxseeds

flaxseeds

Also called linseeds, you’ll almost always find flaxseeds in their natural form…

With the only exception being when they’re ground for easier consumption.

And as I’m sure you guessed, they’re extremely healthy as well – here’s the lowdown on what flaxseeds do for you…

  • Improve your body’s digestion process
  • Relieves abdominal pain
  • Reduces your risk of cancer
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps protect against radiation

And it really only takes a tiny bit…

I drop a teaspoon of whole flaxseeds in my morning oatmeal, but they can also be added to smoothies, baked goods, and pretty much anything else.

The big advantage with flaxseeds is that they’re very small and have little-to-no taste – so you won’t even notice when you add them to your food…

But your body will!

If you prefer, the ground up option is an even more effective way for getting all their nutrients with zero interruption to your normal diet…

Like flaxseeds, this next seed can be baked as well, and in fact, that’s probably where you notice them the most…

Sesame Seeds

sesame crackers

You might think of sesame seeds as something you find on a dessert to add a bit of flavor, but these seeds are extremely versatile…

Many cuisines add them to savory dishes and they’re a common ingredient from Japan to the Middle East to our country as well.

Sesame seeds have a similar nutrient profile to other seeds, but there’s one notable difference – lignans…

Now, you’re probably wondering what are lignans…

Well, they’re a group of chemicals that occur naturally in plants, and sesame seeds have the highest concentration of them of any food on the planet!

And two, in particular, called sesamin and sesamolin, which imbue sesame seeds with quite a few health benefits…

  • Guards the liver from oxidative stress
  • Improves estrogen production for women
  • Fights against joint pain and osteoporosis
  • Protects muscle damage for athletes

And the best part about sesame seeds – the taste!

It’s instantly recognizable and adds a nutty, exotic flavor to whatever dish you sprinkle with sesame seeds. My favorite use of sesame seeds is in tahini – one of the main ingredients for hummus and one that’s been gaining in popularity every year…

Add Seeds to Your Next Meal or Snack!

There are many other types of seeds out there, but if I included all of them, this article would be a mile long!

Just as an “honorable mention,” both chia seeds and hemp seeds are options that pack a strong health boost in a tiny package (maybe I’ll write an article about them at a later date)…

For now, please be aware that seeds are a great way to improve your diet – they have many, many health benefits and in most cases, an excellent taste as well, so there’s no reason not to toss them into meals or swap them in and kick your unhealthy snacks to to the curb.

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