Plants have a perfectly designed approach for ensuring the survival of their species. Every flower or fruit produced by the plant is packed with seeds. Some seeds are microscopic, like the seed of the orchid, so small that it looks like dust. Others are gigantic such as the seed of a palm tree native to the Seychelles that can grow up to twelve inches long and weigh as much as forty pounds.
Despite their size differences, all of these seeds have something in common; they are packed with nutrition. Nature has no idea what type of soil or nutrients will be available externally. To give each seed the best fighting chance when conditions are favorable for germination, the plant packs it with a variety of essential nutrients that can sustain the young sprout until its roots are capable of extracting nutrients from the soil.
A wide variety of these seeds is edible and they add nutrition, flavors and new textures into our regular diets. They can also be great replacements for products that are sources of allergies, as in some nuts, and those that are far less nutritious, as in wheat crackers. Add a few seeds to your diet every day or as a snack and you’ll gain valuable vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids to your diet. Choose raw natural seeds to get the biggest bang for your buck. Roasting breaks down many essential nutrients and may even produce substances that are toxic to your system. This also applies to seeds that are coated with sugar, no matter how tempting those chocolate-coated sunflower seeds may be.
Many of these seeds can be thrown into a salad to add texture and nutrition, others can be used to make a seed butter, similar to almond butter and they can be eaten as a nutrient-packed snack between meals. You can also find a recipe for a multi-seed cracker that is simple to make and a highly nutritious replacement for wheat crackers. Add seeds to yoghurt smoothies and hot oatmeal breakfasts for a power-packed start to the day. All of these seeds are also excellent sources of fiber, which is often lacking in modern diets. Adding a variety of seeds to your regular diet can boost your brain health and your immune system and help to protect you from diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
A few commonly available seeds are worth noting. First among these is the diminutive chia seed. The chia seed is no longer the brunt of jokes from its Chia Pet fame. This little seed is loaded with protein, antioxidants, iron, calcium, vitamin C and omega-3 oil. Next comes hemp seed, which may be the richest source of essentially fatty acids available of any known food substance, including fish. The fatty acids in hemp seeds are provided in a form that is readily available to the body and similar to the form found in the body itself. It also includes all nine of the essential amino acids required by our bodies for optimal health.
Flax seeds are often used in weight loss diet plans to improve digestion by adding fiber and suppressing the appetite. The fatty acids in flax are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Pumpkins seeds are gaining in popularity because they produce alkaline rather than acidic material in your body. Pumpkin seeds also supply a lot of protein and vitamin B complex nutrients. Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps to keep your mood balanced.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy cells. Sunflower seeds also provide magnesium and they are believed to help lower cholesterol. Finally, sesame seeds are mineral powerhouses, loaded with manganese, copper, calcium, zinc, iron and phosphorous. They also provide vitamin B1 and are believed to have positive effects on lowering cholesterol.
The list of edible seeds is quite long and the flavors and textures are just as varied. Search for them in your local supermarket and have fun adding them to your favorite dishes and replacing some of your snacks with these highly nutritious choices. Take some with you when you travel and nutritious food options seem to be hard to find.