Seeds for good health

  • By Dr. Shalini Kapoor

Seeds such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin etc. are a source of nutrition and energy. If you go through their nutrient content, you will know what you have been missing by not including these rich seeds in your diet. Most of these seeds contain high levels of vitamins A, B, C and E, essential fatty acids, full profiles of amino acids and digestible proteins along with minerals such as iron zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese and selenium.

Complete food

Since the original function of seeds is grow into the coming generation of the plants, these are power-packed with all the essential nutrients to make them complete food. You do not need to eat lots of them at one go. Instead, one or two tablespoons a day are enough. You can either eat them one each day or mix the seeds and eat them together. Since these are low GI food, the energy release is slow due to which the blood sugar level remains stable and you feel fuller for longer.

Seeds are highly versatile food and you can easily use them in stews, soups, or as a garnish to add flavour over your salads, cereal and main dishes.

Benefits of pumpkin seeds

Also known as Emperor of the Sun in China, these seeds are considered a symbol of fruitfulness. The seeds of the pumpkin are rich in glycine, amino acids alanine, glutamic acid and other essential elements such as omega 3 fatty acids and zinc. Other important nutrients such as iron, protein and phosphorus are also present in these seeds. It is low in carbohydrates.

Traditionally, pumpkin seeds are used to treat prostate disorders and some recent researches have backed this up. The cucurbitacins present in pumpkin seeds control the conversion of the testosterone into dihydrotestosterone that are known to initiate prostate enlargement. These are also effective in preventing urinary tract infections among women. They taste best when roasted.

Benefits of sesame seeds

According to Hindu mythology, the seeds have a blessing of immortality from God Yama. The vitamins and nutrients packed in these seeds certainly can make you live long. The nutrients present in sesame seeds include calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, protein and phytic acid. Low in carbohydrates, these seeds also contain sesamolin, sesamin and other substances that help to lower cholesterol levels. These seeds are also a good source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and omega-6. Inclusion of these seeds in the daily diet prevents hardening of arteries and can boost the skin elasticity. These seeds help digestion, nervous system and stimulate blood circulation.

Benefits of Sunflower seeds

The seeds of sunflower are being used to derive oil since ages. These seeds are highly rich in B complex vitamins that are essential for keeping the nervous system healthy. Other essential nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and protein are also present in good amount in the sunflower seeds. The seeds also contain different trace minerals such as copper, chromium, zinc, manganese and carotene as well as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids that protect the arteries.

Benefits of linseed (Flaxseed)
This plant originated in Mesopotamia and has been known to humankind since Stone Age. The flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that are essential for managing body functions. These seeds also are rich in manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, magnesium and copper. A phytoestrogen, lignans present in flax seeds help to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flushes.

So sow the seeds of good health by adding seeds to your diet.