Seeds might be small, but they are supercharged with nutrient properties to protect your heart health. Evidence by studies have shown how eating small portions of nuts and seeds each week increases your HDL ( high density cholesterol) and reduces the risk of heart disease. Regular intake of nuts and seeds provide even further health benefits than just protecting your heart. Nuts and seeds are packed with minerals like selenium and zinc can also contribute to prostate and thyroid health. Here are 6 healthy seeds to add to your diet.
Seeds do not include seed oils, milks, and dietary supplements, but seeds in their natural form either roasted, ground or eaten whole.
How Good Are Nuts and Seeds for The Heart
Seeds are packed with fiber, plant protein and healthy fats all beneficial for the heart. Each seed has its own nutrient profile containing several vitamins and minerals like folate, magnesium, selenium, potassium, calcium, anti-oxidants, and phytochemicals needed by our bodies in small amounts, but provide a great deal of protection against heart disease. Studies have proved how eating around 15 gms of nuts and seeds per day can reduce the risk of CAD (coronary heart disease) by 20%. According to the American Heart Foundation, Nuts and seeds also lower your LDL (low density lipoproteins) or bad cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease.
Which is the Best Way to Consume Seeds?
When you think of adding nuts and healthy seeds to your diet, it is best to use them with the least amount of processing. Consume only unsalted, unflavored, and uncoated versions to get maximum benefit. Look out for whole, seeds, raw or roasted and with skins on where relevant.
Do Seeds Cause Weight Gain?
Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and do not cause weight gain. Studies have proven instead how incorporating nuts and seeds in your diet can help you lose weight due to the presence of rich protein, fat and dietary fiber contained in nuts which satiate you after consuming them. This is why they are also great for a snack. Here are the six best seeds good for health.
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in amino acids, namely arginine, leucine, phenylalanine, valine, lysine. Rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids like ALA (alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acids). A good source of Vit B1, Vit B3, Vit E, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, Zinc, and magnesium. Contains more omega3 than flaxseed. Good for heart and liver. Ok up to 20 gms twice a day.
2. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds contains more lignans (polyphenol, a type of antioxidant) than any other plant food. They are one of the richest sources of ALA converted again into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), ingredients found in fish oil. Flaxseeds are a good source of other amino acids like Lysine, Threonine and Tyrosine, Soleucine, Leucine and Valine. High in Vit A, Vit E, Vit B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus. Keep it to up to 30 gms or two tablespoons a day. Besides promoting heart health, flax seeds contribute to weight control, reduction of blood pressure, blood sugar and reduced cholesterol. Not recommended for pregnant and lactating women.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of Tryptophan, (576 mg per 100 grams) a hormone that produces serotonin good for sleep and mood. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, alpha carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, copper, selenium, manganese, and zinc. Rich in Vit A, Vit E, Vit K, Vits B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9. Good for BPH (enlarged prostate) due to the presence of zinc, and phytosterol. Stick to up to 30 gms per day.
4. Sunflower Seeds
Among healthy seeds, Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, Vit B1, Vit B6, healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and selenium. They provide antioxidant benefits, support skin health, and contribute to immune function. Sunflower seeds are known to contribute to cholesterol management and promote brain health due to vitamin B6. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of energy packing 585 calories in just 100 grams. They can be easily incorporated into snacks or meals but stick to one serving per day.
5. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, and various minerals, including copper, manganese, and calcium. In addition to minerals and fiber, sesame seeds are high in selenium, good for thyroid and prostate health including reducing the risk of chronic disease. Additionally, sesame seeds contain lignans that have potential anticancer properties. They are also rich in magnesium, thiamine, and tryptophan, all good for stress relief. Studies have also found how sesame seeds can reduce blood sugar in diabetics and regulate blood pressure due to the high presence of magnesium. Sesame seeds also contribute to liver health, digestion, cholesterol reduction and heart health. Consume one tablespoon of raw or roasted sesame seeds every day, or season salads with sesame seeds to taste.
6. Hemp Seeds
Believe this or not, but hemp seeds are one among few plant sources that contain all nine essential amino acids found in proteins which makes them a complete protein. Hemp seeds contain more than 30% protein and are a powerhouse of nutrients including magnesium, thiamine, and zinc. Studies have also found hemp seeds to be a higher quality protein than other plant sources.
Studies have found hemp seeds to be en extremely rich source of lipids including mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and ALA (22%). These unsaturated fatty acids are related to protective effects against cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and anti-inflammatory disorders. Hemp seed oil has also been found to be effective in treating skin conditions like eczema.
1 teaspoon of hemp seed is good to start with working your way up to a serving (30gms) per day. A 30-gram serving of hemp seeds (3 tablespoons) contains: 166 calories. 2.6 grams carbohydrates (1.2 grams fiber).
All the above healthy seeds are gluten free, low carb and high fiber. Besides reducing your LDL,( bad cholesterol), they increase your HDL (good cholesterol). Moreover, they are excellent in controlling and reducing high blood sugar, regulating blood pressure, improving brain health, skin health, general health, and protects against several diseases. Don’t go overboard, stick to 30 gms or two tablespoons of MIXED seeds per day and make sure they’re fresh. Seeds are extremely easy to add to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies, to add healthy nutrients to your diet. Those with diverticulitis are advised to avoid eating too many seeds because they could end up sticking in the polyps in the colon.