Health Benefits of Seeds

April 8, 2022

Seeds are a small food with a lot of health benefits! They’re a great snack and healthy addition to lots of other foods and meals. There are different varieties of seeds that have their own unique healthy properties, taste, and texture. If you don’t eat a lot of seeds, you should consider adding them to your diet! In this blog post, we’ll explain the health benefits of eating seeds and highlight the positive health effects of six of the best types.

Why You Should Eat Seeds

For such a small food, seeds have a lot of nutrients. You don’t have to eat a lot of them to get the benefits. Seeds are a good source of plant protein, making them a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. They are high in important vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Some of the many health benefits that can come from eating seeds include better blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

List of Healthy Seeds

Nutritionists believe these six types of seeds are the healthiest: 

  • Pumpkin (pepita) – These seeds are high in heart-healthy antioxidants. They can also help lower your LDL cholesterol levels, making them exceptionally good for your heart health. Pumpkin seeds are also good for relieving symptoms of urinary disorders. You can eat pumpkin seeds shelled or unshelled. Choose unshelled seeds if you are trying to get more fiber.
  • Sunflower – Sunflower seeds are high in antioxidants, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and omega-6 fats. These types of seeds are great for reducing general inflammation and lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Sunflower seeds are sold shelled or unshelled. If you’re buying unshelled sunflower seeds, be sure to look for ones without a lot of added salt and flavorings.
  • Sesame – Sesame seeds can be enjoyed whole or made into a delicious paste called tahini. They are high in vitamin E and selenium, an important mineral for lowering your risk for chronic diseases. Eating sesame seeds may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Flaxseeds (linseeds) – Flaxseeds are most often consumed ground; this is the best way to eat them so that your body can absorb all the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Flaxseeds are a good source of vitamin B1, fiber, and anti-inflammatory lignans. Eating flaxseeds can help reduce the risk for breast and prostate cancers.
  • Chia – These small seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, and fiber. They are also an excellent source of protein. Chia seeds absorb a lot of water, so they are a very filling snack. 
  • Hemp (hemp hearts) – A 1-ounce serving of hemp seeds contains almost 9 grams of protein, giving these seeds the largest amount of protein of all of them. That’s more protein than an egg! And, they contain all 9 essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are also a good source of vitamin E, potassium, and omega-6 and omega-3 fats.

How to Add Seeds to Your Diet

Seeds are very versatile and it’s really easy to add them to your diet! You can eat them on their own as a snack, but be careful about the serving size – they are high in calories. And, look for seeds that aren’t covered in salt or chocolate (although these are very tasty). Cracking open the shells on sunflower seeds can be good for stress eating because it keeps your hands busy. Add seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or salads for crunch and flavor. Or, make chia seed pudding! Many seeds go well in baked goods, including cookies, breads, and muffins. Chia seeds and flaxseeds can also work well as vegan egg replacers in baked goods. 

You don’t have to eat these seeds whole to get the benefits. Tahini paste and sunflower seed butter are two delicious ways to enjoy sesame and sunflower seeds. You can also get some of the benefits of these seeds by using sesame oil and sunflower seed oil in your cooking.

Summary

Seeds are small but mighty. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, chia, and hemp are the six healthiest seeds you can eat. They are high in healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eating seeds is great for your heart health, reducing inflammation, and lowering your risk for certain types of cancer. They’re very easy to add to your diet, so give some of them a try!