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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

7 HEALTHY SEEDS FOR GOOD HEALTH




Did you know - watermelon seeds are super healthy? Perhaps more familiar are the sunflower seeds that seem to have been ithe snack of choice when I was growing up. We'd spit those shells everywhere, (and watermelon seeds), even have distance contests. Although junk seems to have taken over in the snacking world, seeds are returning as a snack. Good thing too, because they are loaded with nutrition and are quite satisfying. Very little goes a long way in providing nutrition.

7 Healthy Seeds and Their Benefits:

1 - SUNFLOWER SEEDS - Sunflower seeds have folic acid which helps reduce stress by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a natural antidepressant - which may explain why children are so happy eating these seeds. Sunflower seeds also have B vitamins to provide energy, as well as magnesium which helps control stress. Sunflower seeds are easily found, and still sold in those tiny snack-sized bags for children - costing maybe 25 cents. A nice alternative when offering snacks to children.

2 - WATERMELON SEEDS - Surprise! Watermelon seeds are packed with super healthy benefits. There are more than 1,200 varieties grown all over the world. In the US, while we have been demanding seedless, we are missing the benefits of the seeds. Watermelon seeds (an ounce) contains 3 grams of zinc (which is 25% of the RDA), 2 grams of iron, and are high in protein. Watermelon seeds also have essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals and are known to provide energy. A few seeds are all that is necessary for the benefits.

3 - FLAX SEEDS - Flax seeds have compounds that are similar to the hormones that make progesterone more efficient. Additionally, the fatty acids in flax seeds are known to help reduce depression. It is recommended that flax seeds to consumed when they are ground - which I do in my coffee grinder. Although I do just chew them as well (flax is also being used to manufacture cars, see link below).

4 - SESAME SEEDS - Sesame seeds are beneficial for reducing cholesterol levels. This is due to the lignans in the seeds, which block the absorption of cholesterol. Sesame seeds are easily added to the diet by sprinkling on any food you are preparing, such as stir-fried vegetables. It is sometimes recommended that you toast the seeds in a pan before eating - but it is not necessary.

5 - CHIA SEEDS - Yes, these are the same seeds that have been used on those pets, as in chia pets - that are sold every Christmas. Chia has a lot of healthy benefits, such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, micro-nutrients, and hydrophilc colloid. Chia seeds slow the conversion of dietary carbohydrates and are beneficial in controlling type 2 diabetes (for an article on more chia benefits please see the link below).

6 - GRAPE SEEDS - If you are a grape lover, get the grapes with seeds. Like watermelon, we are becoming a culture that wants everything seedless, but it is those grape seeds that also have antioxidants, as well as flavonols which strengthen capillaries. This is beneficial for shrinking arterial walls and reducing swelling if varicose veins are a problem. Plus seeded grapes are cheaper than the seedless variety.

7 FENNEL SEEDS - Fennel seeds are those tiny little seeds that taste like licorice - good for chewing and freshening the breath, but also good for stopping menstrual cramps. Fennel seeds contain the oil known as anethole which helps relax muscles.

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