Quality of health increases through regular consumption of seeds.
Seed are not just excellent for birds, they benefit humans tremendously, and they are a superfood source that you really do want to incorporate into your daily meal plan! You can eat them in larger quantities as a main course, grind them into butters, flax seed can be used as a healthy egg substitute (1 t flax to 3 part water), you can pop them into smoothies, drinks and make desserts with them, sprinkle them over any dish including salads and sandwiches, or use them in smaller quantities as garnishes for other foods. They’re inexpensive, convenient, and tasty. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most commonly eaten seeds:
Flax seeds: Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, zinc, iron, calcium, and Vitamin E, and are a great addition to your diet. Newer food products that may contain them include cereals and crackers, but you can buy plain flax seeds as well. Flax seeds must be chewed thoroughly though to get the benefits. Since it’s difficult to completely chew this small seed, a better option is to grind them in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Once they’re ground, you can add them to smoothies, bread dough, baked goods, and hot cereals. You can also use them as a healthy egg substitute in cooking and baking (1 t ground flax to 3 part water = 1 egg).
Chia seeds: great omega 3 to omega 6 ratio at slightly more 6 than 3, ALA, anti-inflammatory, laxative, soothing for the digestive tract calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, protein, fiber, different varieties vary quite a bit in nutritional make up. Great for breakfast, desserts and smoothies!
Hemp seeds: Commonly thought of as a “hippie” food, hemp has some significant health benefits. Hemp seeds are rich in protein, calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. While hemp contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the compounds found in marijuana , you will not feel any effects by consuming products containing hemp. Stunning form of well rounded protein and amino acids! Versatile to almost every available dish you can think of. Best consumed in it’s raw form.
Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are chock full of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, tryptophan, and iron. They’re also a good source of copper, zinc, and Vitamin K. You can buy prepackaged pumpkin seeds at most supermarkets, or you can make your own. Scoop out the seeds from a pumpkin’s inner cavity, rinse them off and dry them, then roast them for the best flavor.
Sesame seeds: Not just good on bagels or in Asian dishes, sesame seeds can jazz up salads, cereals, and yogurt. This tiny seed is loaded with copper and manganese, and also has plenty of calcium, magnesium, tryptophan, and iron. Toasting sesame seeds really brings out their flavor. Sesame seeds are a surprising source of the bone-building mineral calcium, great news for folks who have trouble tolerating dairy products. And seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. The only drawback: Some seeds are quite high in fat. Sunflower and sesame seeds provide about 80 percent of their calories as fat, although the fat is mostly of the heart-smart unsaturated variety.
Sunflower seeds: You can buy these shelled, but it’s more fun to buy them whole and crack open the hulls. Sunflower seeds are a tremendous source of Vitamin E and are also rich in Vitamin B1. Also a fantastic base for dips!
Seeds are the “eggs” that contain the nutrients needed to nourish the growth of a new plant. So their high nutrient content shouldn’t come as a surprise. What’s surprising is that we generally relegate these nutritional wonders to the occasional snack rather than making them staples of our diet. Adding more seeds to your meals shall strengthen your body as well as nourish your mind.
With their gold mine of healthy minerals and their niacin and folic-acid contents, seeds are an excellent nutrition package. They are among the better plant sources of iron and zinc. In fact, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains almost twice as much iron as three ounces of skinless chicken breast. And they provide more fiber per ounce than nuts. They are also great sources of protein.
Edible seeds are an important part of a raw food diet mainly for the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) they contain. EFA’s are polyunsaturated fats that the human body cannot produce, so they must be obtained from our diets. There are two groups of EFA’s; they are omega 3’s and omega 6’s. The omega 3 fatty acids are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The omega 6 essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA), gamalinolenic acid (GLA), and arachidonic acid (AA).
These EFA’s found in seeds balance and regulate energy production, blood circulation, nerve function, inflammation, hormone regulation, recovery from exercise, immune function, cell growth, and much more. A diet high in animal products and processed foods is high in omega 6’s which compete for the same metabolizing enzymes needed by the omega 3’s for assimilation. Most people’s diets don’t contain enough omega 3’s which upsets the important balance required for good health. When omega 6’s are consumed in excess they use up the metabolizing enzymes making them unavailable for omega 3 metabolism, so it makes complete sense to stop consuming ‘animal products’, and up your seed intake for optimum health and balance.
It’s common for people to consume over 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3, and this type of imbalance is associated with significant health issues including heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimers, diabetes, mood disorders, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, and obesity. Experts vary in their opinions of the ideal ratio with guidelines ranging anywhere from omega 6 to omega 3 of 4:1 to 1:2. When consuming a well balanced raw food diet including seeds, it should be easy to fall within these guidelines.
Research shows that eating seeds and the EFA’s they contain can elevate mood, improve brain function and development, and build a healthy circulatory system to name just a few. You can now see how including edible seeds in your daily diet shall go a long way in improving your health.
Like nuts, which are actually large seeds, edible seeds are best if soaked before eating, except hemp which does not have enzyme inhibitors. Edible seeds can be put into smoothies, ground and sprinkled over salads, mixed in raw recipes, or blended with citrus juice to make a super healthy salad dressing. These are just a few of the ways to make seeds and their magical EFA’s part of your daily diet.
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~ Active Vegan ~