Resource Guide: On Seeds

I am what you could call a "health food hoarder". I tend to impulsively buy food ingredients that are unique and somewhat unfamiliar, collect them in my very maximalistic open shelved kitchen, and then keep them forever because I'm not sure how to use them. This may or may not have been how I got a hold of some of the little gems I'm going to tell you about today. *cough cough, hemp seeds. cough* The only thing I regret about my impulsiveness in acquiring my seed collection, besides going over our monthly grocery budget (sorry I suck at money, babe), is that I didn't look into the following health benefits sooner! So I'm going to get right into listing and gushing over 7 little-but-potent seeds that I think everyone should save up on and then we can all nerd out about them together! Right?!? Just me?

Sesame Seeds

Vitamin B6. calcium. iron. magnesium. phosphorus. manganese. copper. zinc. thiamin. folate. protein. trytophan.

The Rundown:

| have higher concentration of oil than any other seed crop

| distinct nutty flavor

| considered the oldest seed crop in the world

| excessive consumption can irritate the stomach and colon

| though a seed, it can still bother people with nut allergies

| add to salads: use as ingredient\topping for bread, grain products, crackers, sushi, cakes, & soups; use as breading for fish\meat

Nutrition & Health:

| aids in blood pressure issues; sesame seeds are connected to a reduction in hypertension

| magnesium has anti-carcinogenic effects

| phytate in these seeds is an antioxidant

| zinc, calcium, and phosphorus aid in creating and repairing bone matter

| fiber aids in digestion

| copper has anti-inflammatory properties; strengthens blood vessel walls, bones, and joints

| sesamol protects DNA from mutation due to radiation exposure, either from accidental sources or in the treatment of cancer

| zinc strengthens muscle tissue, hair, and skin

Hemp Seeds

zinc. magnesium. calcium. phosphorus. iron. fiber. 21 amino acids. large number of edible oils. variety of essential fats.

The Rundown:

| used as a traditional medicine and dietary supplement because the effects are so helpful

| one of the only dietary sources of plant matter that is a complete protein (contains all 8 essential amino acids that the body can't naturally produce)

| use in smoothies, cereal, and yogurt; can be used as a gluten-free substitute for bread crumbs; blend with water to make hemp seed milk

Nutrition & Health:

| one of the only plant substances in the world that contains the natural Omega-6 to Omega-3 balance, which is essential for normal body function

| hemp seeds aid in digestion because they're a good source of both insoluble and soluble fiber

| magnesium creates a relaxing sensation throughout the body; serotonin is released as well, which is then converted to melatonin in the brain, helping to battle insomnia

| calcium improves bone health

| iron helps prevent anemia 

| these seeds can be eaten in large quantities without the fear of gaining too much weight

| since hemp seeds are a complete protein, they help create new tissues and strengthen muscle mass + density

| gamma linoleic acid content works as a hormone regulator, helping with symptoms of menopause, mood swings, depression, and anxiety

Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

manganese. trytophan. magnesium. copper. phosphorus. zinc. iron. protein. B complex vitamins + Vitamin A (smaller amounts).

The Rundown:

| traditionally a seasonal snack in autumn

| very high in calories, so they can exacerbate obesity

Nutrition & Health:

| pepitas contain phenolic compounds that have antioxidant properties

| good for relieving symptoms of an enlarged prostate due to diuretic effects

| associated with anti-parasitic activity; used traditionally as a way to eliminate tapeworms and other parasites; great snack for kids, who are most susceptible to worms

| because of diuretic and antioxidant activity, pepitas promote the health and processing of the kidneys, and detoxify the body as a whole

| 30% of the volume of these seeds is protein, which equals 12 grams per cup, 25% of our daily protein requirement

Flax Seeds

Vitamin E. magnesium. potassium. iron. most B complex vitamins.

The Rundown:

| golden or brown in color

| brown flax is also used in paints, for fiber, and for cattle feed

| add to smoothies; mix with yogurt and honey; use in baking; add to granola; mix with water to use as an egg substitute

Nutrition & Health:

| Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin and bones

| potassium maintains nerve health

| iron is an important component of red blood cells and many enzymes that affect metabolism

| flax seeds provide most of our daily intake of protein

| great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, second only to fish; Omega 3's are the most active agents that fight inflammation in the body

| alpha linolenic acid and lignans boost the immune response in the body

| flax seed consumption can reduce dry eye syndrome

Sunflower Seeds

Vitamin B6. thiamin. magnesium. copper. phosphorus. manganese. selenium. Vitamin E. low in cholesterol + sodium.

The Rundown:

| mild nutty taste and tender texture

| can reap health benefits in two ways: 1) sunflower seeds-improve digestion, brain power, and cardiovascular function 2) sunflower oil-prevents heart diseases and is a great skin moisture retainer

| oil is an important role in skincare; has been used to massage premature infants that have low birth weight

| sunflower seeds enrich food's flavor

| sunflower oil can be used in extremely high temperatures

| roast and eat as a snack; add to savory dishes and chicken; add to eggs for crunchy texture; use in baking

Nutrition & Health: 

| Vitamin E prevents cellular damage

| high in dietary fiber

| contains a high amount of protein and carbohydrates, giving an energy boost

| iron strengthens bones and muscles

| sunflower seeds have a calming effect on the brain and help lift mood

| helpful to eat during pregnancy because of high folic acid content

Poppy Seeds

zinc. iron. calcium.

The Rundown:

| originated in Mediterranean region; also grown throughout Asia and Europe

| most widely studied and utilized for its analgesic qualities

| morphine is derived from seeds of the poppy plant

| addictive in large quantities; use in moderation

| can top anything; also used in salad dressings, soups, breads, and cakes

Nutrition and Health:

| consuming seeds can soothe small aches and pains, relieve headaches, and speed up healing

| zinc improves strength in immune system

| zinc also reduces occurrence of macular degeneration and keeps vision strong

| calcium helps the nervous system function

Chia Seeds

calcium. iron. magnesium. phosphorus. potassium. sodium. zinc. Vitamin C. thiamin. riboflavin. niacin. Vitamin E. no cholesterol.

The Rundown:

| native to Mexico and Guatemala

| plant belongs to the mint family

| can be soaked in water and eaten the next morning with breakfast; water-soaked seeds can be used in baking to eliminate butter; add to drinks, juice, and shakes; can also add to eggs, porridge, stews, and salads

Nutrition & Health:

| has low glycemic benefits, so blood sugar levels won't spike

| like flax, chia seeds are a great source of Omega 3's

| having a handful of chia seeds daily is recommended to eliminate calcium deficiency

| high fiber content keeps gastrointestinal system healthy