Four seeds for your health
Seeds are tiny packages which contain a highly concentrated assortment of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This certainly makes sense since a seed must contain all the essential nutrients to produce the entire plant when called upon to do so. Of course, quality soil is also necessary to grow a healthy plant, but it all starts with a seed. I would like to discuss, briefly, with you some of the tremendous benefits of including these conveniently packaged, natural nutritional supplements we call seeds in your daily diet.
Lets start with one of our favorite fall treats, the pumpkin seed. Every October my wife and kids and I go a few miles further into the country and get our pumpkins from a local farmer we have come to know and enjoy. When we arrive his pumpkins have already been lined up by size and, of course, price. My youngest is always going for the larger sizes which get my vote as well because they have more seeds! We always end up with several sizes and lots of seeds. Then its back home where daddy carves, kids scoop and mom seasons and lightly toasts hundreds of those little nutrient powerhouses.
So what is really in the infamous pumpkin seed? I’m glad you asked. Also called pepitas, this seed is a great source of B vitamins for brain function, and zinc for your immune system and if you have one, your prostate. There are also important minerals and amino acids such as tryptophan which can be used for anxiety. Pumpkin seeds are very tasty and contain essential fatty acids which are good fats.
Next comes the flax seed which also is a great source of those essential fatty acids called omega 3 essential fatty acids. Probably best known for its soluble fiber content, this little nutritional power pack is said to help control cholesterol levels. Recent studies show that the lignan portion, which contains phytoestrogens, may help prevent certain cancers. The shell of the flaxseed is very durable so they must be ground finely to be most effective. These seeds can then be added to your favorite protein shake, cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.
The next seed of our fearsome foursome is usually not thought of as a seed. It is wheat germ which is the seed portion of the wheat kernel. Traditionally used as a source of vitamin E, wheat germ also contains B vitamins and even iron. Its very high fiber content helps keep you full to reduce appetite and avoid constipation.
Our last, but certainly not least, seed is well know to this blog, the sunflower seed. This is by far my personal favorite due to its abundance of all the B vitamins, especially good for brain function, and particularly high in vitamin B1 or thiamine. Very few plant foods contain B1. Also a great source of vitamin E, an essential antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage and aging. Vitamin E also strengthens the hair skin and nails and protects the delicate lining of blood vessels. Because of its high essential fatty acid content, the source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, sunflower seeds are great for heart, brain and joint health. Loaded with protein and folate, the B vitamin that is so important for pregnant women, sunflower seeds are a wonderful choice for moms to be.
Another outstanding benefit of sunflower seeds is they are low glycemic, which means they do not cause the blood sugar to spike. This benefit along with the high fiber content of sunflower seeds are reasons we chose organic sunflower seed butter to be the major ingredient in our INBar. An extremely easy and convenient way to include this nutrient packed seed in your diet is to eat an INBar a day…and keep the doctor away!
So why not sew a seed or four toward your healthy future. Get some pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, wheat kernels and especially sunflower seeds and start to partake in all of the above benefits. These are seeds that will surely grow and produce a stronger immune system, give tremendous digestive benefits and help you fight the effects of aging.