When it comes to your overall health, immunity and avoiding nutritional deficiencies, one of the best things to include in your diet are plant seeds.
Seeds on their own are tiny powerhouses of nutrition that provide some of the best sources of vital nutrients, minerals and antioxidants across all foods.
Plus, they’re light on calories and even help to satisfy hunger cravings because they're jam-packed with quality protein and fats.
Seeds are super versatile, making it easy for anyone on virtually any type of diet to incorporate them into their diet on a regular basis.
Snack on them raw or gently toast them and add to salads. You can even soak certain ones over night and add them to smoothies, porridge or raw deserts for a serious nutritional boost!
Here we reveal four of the healthiest seeds to eat when it comes to nutritional quality, versatility and taste to include in your diet regularly to support better health and vitality.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Most people only think of or notice pumpkin seeds after cutting into a pumpkin, but these nutritional powerhouses should not be ignored.
Pumpkin seeds are large, flat seeds that are not only delicious roasted, but are one of the healthiest seeds you can eat and they're readily available from all good supermarkets and health food stores for you to snack on, or add as accompaniments to your salads, cereals and desserts.
One of the best reasons to eat pumpkin seeds is that they are high in both magnesium and zinc. Just a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds account for almost 10% of your daily recommended magnesium and over 15% of your recommended daily zinc. Zinc is known for its digestive enzyme production which helps support immune system function.
Magnesium is especially important, since most people are actually deficient.
The magnesium and other nutrients in pumpkin seeds can help you sleep better, lower blood pressure, boost heart health, and may even help prevent certain types of cancers.
Also, Pumpkin Seeds are praised for their anti-parasitic activity, effective for eliminating intestinal worms that can destroy immunity.
Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of healthy fat and protein, making them a good snack to help fuel you throughout the day.
Pumpkin seeds are great in salads or baked into savoury breads.
You can also roast them with spices for a delectable snack that’s convenient and portable, or sprinkle them over organic yogurt or raw smoothies and desserts.
You can learn more about the importance of magnesium in our blog, Why You Need Magnesium: Benefits & How to Prevent Deficiency.
2. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are deliciously nutty and one of the healthiest seeds to eat.
These small, shell-like seeds are great sources of healthy fats and proteins and considered a health superfood. In fact, they are over 30% fat with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and 25% of the calories from these seeds come from protein.
This makes hemps seeds one of the most important seeds to eat on a plant-based diet because they are a rich source of plant derived protein and fat that your body needs.
Hemp seeds are loaded with important minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, sulphur, and more. The fatty acids in hemp seeds can work wonders for your skin if you have any skin conditions, while the insoluble and soluble fibre within them can help improve many digestive issues.
Hemp seeds are very versatile. You can eat them raw or roasted, or even pressed as hemp seed oil, which is available in good health food stores.
Just note that hemp seed oil shouldn’t be used for cooking or frying, as its low heat point means that it will compromise the health benefits of the oil and the essential fatty acids. Instead, drizzle hemp oil over vegetable dishes, pasta or include it in your salad dressings.
Whole hemp seeds are also great sprinkled into salads, oatmeal or muesli, or you can even make them into hemp seed milk to prepare your favourite smoothies.
3. Flax Seeds
Flaxseeds are one of the healthiest seeds you can eat because they are celebrated for being ultra rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fibre.
If you follow a plant-based diet, flax seeds and cold pressed flax seed oil are one of the best sources of omega-3's and should be a regular staple in your diet.
Flaxseed is also high in "lignans", a large group of low molecular weight polyphenols found in plants, which are full of antioxidants and known to help prevent cancer.
The soluble and insoluble fibre in flaxseeds are great for keeping you regular and ensuring a healthy digestive system. For this reason, it is a staple ingredient in our popular Get Things Moving Natural Fibre Blend product available from our store.
Flaxseeds can also help lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and they will keep you fuller for longer helping you to avoid over eating.
Best of all, flaxseeds are easy to source from regular health foods stores and major supermarkets. Grind the seeds into a fine powder and add a teaspoon or two to your breakfast yogurt or smoothy. Or, purchase cold pressed flax seed oil and drizzle it over salads, porridge or take a shot-glass full every morning before breakfast to get your daily fix of essential omega fatty acids.
We also include ground flax seeds as a staple ingredient in our natural colon cleanse product called, Cleanse Me, combined with Australian Food-Grade Bentonite Clay, Ground Psyllium Husk, Dried Apple, Cinnamon and Ginger.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a popular and readily available 'ancient grain' that are not only an incredible source of dietary fibre, but which also can boost heart health, reduce bad cholesterol and support good intestinal health.
Additionally, due to the fibre content, chia seeds help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, balancing out sugar spikes and giving you sustained energy.
Although they’re one of the smallest seeds, chia seeds are one of the most nutritionally power-packed foods on earth!
Just two tablespoons of chia seeds provide you with 11 grams of fibre, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, plus 30% each of your recommended daily intake of magnesium and manganese, and 18% of your recommended daily calcium.
They’re also high in antioxidants to protect your body from free radical damage and can help lower inflammation. They're also gluten free!
Chia seeds can be added to almost any dish because they’re easy to eat raw and have a neutral, subtle taste. Because chia seeds absorb liquid easily, they give great texture to smoothies, oatmeal, and smoothie bowls or you can soak them in almond milk overnight to make a delightful chia pudding or morning chia porridge.
You can also incorporate them into homemade salad dressings, or even sprinkle them directly onto organic yogurt and chopped fruit for breakfast.
Learn more in our blog 5 Amazing Benefits of Chia Seeds.
The Main Take Away
Seeds are an easily overlooked source of nutrition that should definitely be part of your diet because of the incredible health benefits.
If you're not already including raw seeds in your diet, start by choosing one or two and get used to adding them to your daily meal preparation to spruce up your breakfast smoothies, snacks and salads. When you shop, pick up a pack of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp or chia seeds or all four!
Pretty soon you'll never want to make a salad or snack without including one of the seeds discussed here. By working these seeds into your diet, you'll give your body the nutrients you need to live a healthier life, more energy and you'll help ward off sickness and dis-ease because of the incredible immune-boosting benefits.
Tolman Self Care.