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The 9 Best Seeds for Your Health

 We all try to stay healthy and eat the freshest fruit and vegetables, but sometimes we forget where these nutritious natural treats come from – seeds. Many edible seeds are packed full of nutrients, so if you care about good nutrition, you should certainly be aware of how seeds can benefit your health.
 
seeds, health
1. Chia Seeds
seeds, healthy
Chia seeds have been getting a lot of good attention in recent years, which makes sense seeing as they're considered one of the healthiest superfoods out there.

What’s in them?
Chia seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals, contain ten times more nutritional fibers than rice, eight times more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, six times more calcium than milk and three times more iron than spinach. On top of that, they contain an inordinate amount of antioxidants that fight cell damage.

Why you should eat them
Eating chia seeds can help you lose weight, relieve joint pains, and protect the body from heart disease and diabetes. The seeds also help keep your liver in good shape, and since they contain no gluten, they're perfect for people with celiac disease.

What can you do with them?
These seeds go well with a number of dishes, thanks to their ability to take on the food’s flavors. Here are some recommendations:
•    Cooked, as a side dish
•    Added protein for salads
•    A crispy coating for chicken or fish
•    Added to fruit shakes
•    Added while baking bread
2. Hemp Seeds
seeds, healthy
These are the seeds of the cannabis plant. Hemp may have great industrial benefits, but its seeds have even greater health benefits.

What’s in them?
Hemp seeds are the perfect source for all 20 amino acids, including the nine essential acids our bodies cannot produce on their own. They’re rich in a protein and are a great source of phytochemicals - chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and are beneficial to our health.

Why you should eat them
If you care about your health, you should be eating hemp seeds. They’ll boost your immune system, bolster your cardiovascular system, and help with cell regeneration. The seeds do not contain THC (the active substance in marijuana), and are perfectly safe and legal to consume.

What can you do with them?
The seed’s nutty flavor makes them great as an addition to a variety of foods:
•    Grind into hemp flour to bake with
•    Prepare hemp milk
•    Add to various pastries
•    Raw – as snacks
3. Pomegranate Seeds
seeds, healthy
This biblical fruit is also an abundant source of health benefits.

What’s in them?
Rich in antioxidants, pomegranate seeds help fight off the effects of free radicals, promoting the integrity and health of your cells. Among those antioxidants you can find polyphenols, which help prevent cancer and heart disease. Like most other red fruits, pomegranates are rich in vitamin C, which is a natural booster for the immune system.

Why you should eat them
The antioxidants keep our body’s building blocks in good shape, as well as prevent blood clots from forming. Another benefit is maintaining the elasticity of our blood vessels, which helps blood flow. Finally, pomegranates also help maintain the integrity of the cartilage in our joints, preventing the onset of arthritis.

What can you do with them?
These delicious seeds have so much potential:
•    Added to green salad
•    Pomegranate chicken
•    As a delicious juice
•    As a topping for a cheesecake
4. Flax Seeds
seeds, healthy
Flax has been known around the world as a health booster for years.

What’s in them?
Flax seeds are an excellent source of nutritional fiber, which keeps your digestive system healthy and functioning properly. They are also packed with polyphenols and linoleic acid, both of which have many health benefits for the human body.

Why you should eat them
The fibers in the seeds will help regulate your bowels and provide an extended sense of satiety. The linoleic acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and have been shown to stop the development of tumors. The polyphenols regulate hormone production in the body, and are particularly recommended for women who are struggling with PMS and menopause. For more info on the benefits of flax seeds, click here.

What can you do with them?
Known worldwide, flax seeds are also a popular addition to a variety of dishes, such as:
•    A crunchy addition to salad
•    Added when baking bread
•    Added inside muffins
•    Added inside yogurt
 
5. Pumpkin Seeds
seeds, healthy
Next time you’re carving out a pumpkin, keep the seeds – they’re filled with nutrients and proteins.

What’s in them?
Pumpkin seeds are considered to be a perfect source of plant protein. 100 grams of these seeds contain about 54% of the required daily intake of protein. On top of that, pumpkin seeds contain a lot of vitamin B and folic acid, as well as a unique chemical called tryptophan-L, which our brain converts into serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that elevates our mood.

Why you should eat them
The protein and folic acid in the seeds help build and repair our muscles. The seeds themselves serve as a powerful antacid. Finally, the tryptophan-L is a known mood enhancer.

What can you do with them?
These seeds can be eaten after being roasted and salted, or in a variety of other ways:
•    A crunchy, protein-rich addition to salad
•    A great topping for soups
•    As part of pesto sauce
•    In yogurt
6. Sesame Seeds
seeds, healthy
Sesame is thought to be one of the first seeds ever to be used, as well as being a source of healthy and delicious oil.

What’s in them?
The seeds are rich in minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc and manganese, and also contain vitamin B and lots of fiber. They also provide the eater with two special chemicals – sesamin and sesamolin.

Why you should eat them
The many minerals in the seeds make them a veritable nutritional bomb, which helps strengthen our bones and regulate cell division, sugar levels and salt levels. The sesamin and sesamolin lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and are only found in sesame seeds.

What can you do with them?
The many uses of sesame include:
•    Making tahini
•    Making halva (raw tahini with honey)
•    Added flavor to string beans
•    Delicious topping for bread and savory pastries
7. Sunflower Seeds
seeds, healthy
Delicious in their own right, they’re also incredibly healthy.

What’s in them?
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E, which helps maintain the health of our cardiovascular system, as well as phytosterols and magnesium.

Why you should eat them
The vitamin E in the seeds helps prevent and repair damage to blood vessels. The phytosterols lower LDL levels and boosts the immune system. They also act as an anti-carcinogen.

What can you do with them?
These seeds are available in many food stores, but you should avoid the roasted and salted versions. Instead, try using fresh seeds when making:
•    Salads
•    Soups
•    Bread
•    Chicken and fish
8. Cumin Seeds
seeds, healthy
Cumin is mostly known as a delicious Middle Eastern spice, but cumin seeds also pack a hefty amount of benefits.

What’s in them?
The seeds are rich in iron, which is beneficial to the liver, and contain chemicals that stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. Another powerful ingredient is the large quantity of antioxidants, which help fight cell damage and the onset of cancer.

Why you should eat them
Iron is highly beneficial for liver and circulatory system health, and the enzymes in cumin cause your digestive function to speed up and improve. Cumin is also recommended for a case of sore throat or a cold. It also acts as a booster for kidney and immune system function.

What can you do with them?
The seeds can be consumed as is, or in their more popular guise, ground into a spice. They can be added into a variety of dishes, giving them a flavor upgrade.
•    Base for Indian-style dishes
•    Fish filet wrapped in cumin seeds
•    Added to stews
•    Roasted seeds in salad
•    Vegetarian lentil and cumin balls
9. Grape Seeds
grape seeds, health
Most people prefer seedless grapes, but the seeds are actually surprisingly healthy.

What’s in them?
Grape seeds are rich in vitamin E, linoleic acid, and flavonoids, which are antibacterial and antifungal.

Why you should eat them
Grape seed oil has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Grape seeds keep your circulatory system healthy, have anti-inflammatory properties, and can reduce diabetes symptoms. Furthermore, they’re rich in antioxidants, which keep your cells and soft tissues safe from free radicals.

What can you do with them?
The main use is as an oil, so try the following:
•    Stir-fried vegetables in grape oil
•    Quinoa in balsamic vinegar and grape oil
•    Beef marinated in grape oil
•    Natural grape ice cream
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