Under the right conditions, seeds may lay dormant for thousands of
years and still remain viable to sprout and produce a plant. Hence Seeds
are nature’s way of perpetuating the life.
Seeds are the "eggs" that contain the nutrients needed to nourish the
growth of a new plant. So their high nutrient content shouldn't come as a
surprise. What's surprising is that we generally relegate these nutritional
wonders to the occasional snack rather than making them staples of our
With their gold mine of healthy minerals and their niacin and folic-acid
contents, seeds are an excellent nutrition package. They are among the
better plant sources of iron and zinc. In fact, one ounce of pumpkin seeds
contains almost twice as much iron as three ounces of skinless chicken
breast. And they provide more fiber per ounce than nuts. They are also good
sources of protein. Sesame seeds are a surprising source of the
bone-building mineral calcium and a rich source of vitamin E.
The only drawback is that some seeds are quite high in fat. Sunflower and
sesame seeds provide about 80 percent of their calories as fat, although
the fat is mostly of the heart-smart unsaturated variety.
Some seeds that have grabbed attention in recent years:
Flax Seed: It is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who
limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy
fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and
maintenance. Flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and
manganese. Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and has higher content
of fiber -- both soluble and insoluble that helps stabilize blood sugar,
and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines. Flax seed is
high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best
source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that tend
to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote
fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent
breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious but also provide
many health benefits. They promote overall prostate health and alleviate
the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin seed
extracts improved bladder function. They contain L-tryptophan, a compound
naturally effective against depression. Because they are high in zinc,
pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of
zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis. Pumpkin seeds effectively
reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. 1/2 cup of pumpkin
seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds contain
phytosterols, compounds that reduces the level of LDL cholesterol and also
protect against many cancers.
Sesame Seeds: Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of
manganese and copper, but they are also a good source of calcium,
magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. In
addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique
substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a
group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to
have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood
pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been
found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.
Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are power-packed with healthy fats,
proteins, fibers, minerals, vitamin E, and phytochemicals - all important
to the nutritional quality of the diet and of fundamental importance to
human health. They can be eaten raw or roasted and are available both
hulled and unhulled. They contain high levels of vitamin E, choline,
betaine, and phenolic acids. Vitamin E may protect against cardiovascular
disease, lignans may protect against some cancers, and choline has been
shown to play a role in memory and cognitive functions. They are also among
the best foods you can eat to get cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.