7 Seeds You Should Totally Be Eating

Packed with powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, seeds are an easy way to add a nutritional punch to most meals.

By: Laurie L. Dove | How Stuff Works

Seeds aren’t just for the birds! Seeds are small but mighty nutritional powerhouses that deliver vitamins and minerals that might otherwise be in short supply in our daily diets. Want to boost your energy? There’s a seed for that. Need more fibre? There’s a seed for that too.

And the really cool thing about seeds is that you can sprinkle them on just about any food to amp up the beneficial nutrients in every meal or snack.

So which ones should you be eating? We’ve narrowed down seven seeds that could prove beneficial to your daily nutritional routine.

Flax Seeds

flax seeds
Flax seeds have gained popularity in recent years for their versatility and thiamine content, which boosts metabolism and cell function. Bildagentur-Online/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Flax seeds are mild, nutty and packed with nutrients. Just 1 tablespoon (7 grams) will provide you with fibre, protein and a helpful array of vitamins and minerals. Flax seeds contain thiamine, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, vitamin B6, iron and folate. It’s almost like having a huge multivitamin in one tiny seed! Thiamine, in particular, is in a relatively high concentration, and is believed to boost metabolism and cell function. In just 1 tablespoon of flax seeds, you can gain 10% of the thiamine you need daily.

If you want to buy Flax Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds can be bought with or without the husks, but part of the fun, as we all know, is spitting out the woody seed coverings as you scarf them down. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Sunflower seeds can be bought with or without the husks, but part of the fun, as we all know, is spitting out the woody seed coverings as you scarf them down. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Not only are sunflower seeds tasty (and perfect for snacking at outdoor baseball games), but they also have high levels of omega-6 fats that may help reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation. By lowering inflammation, these seeds also may decrease the risk of heart disease. One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds has a whopping 6.4 grams of omega-6 fats, as well as 47% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E.

If you want to buy Sunflower Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds, dietary staples of the Maya and Aztecs, are catching on in America for their omega-3 fatty acids and fibre content. Sandy Huffaker/Corbis Via Getty Images
Chia seeds, dietary staples of the Maya and Aztecs, are catching on in America for their omega-3 fatty acids and fibre content. Sandy Huffaker/Corbis Via Getty Images

Chia seeds are a powerful source of antioxidants, known for their anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. As if this wasn’t enough, these tiny black-and-white seeds contain fibre that makes them beneficial for weight loss. One study, published in 2016, found that people who ingested 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of chia seeds daily for six months reduced their belly circumference by 3.5%. For people at risk for chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes or heart disease, adding chia seeds to smoothies or salads can be a relatively easy way to boost fibre.

“Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that’s found in abundance in fish and seafood. Omega-3s are known for a host of significant health benefits including heart health, joint health and cognitive function,” says Trista Best, a registered dietician at BalanceOne.com. “Because roughly 60% of the brain is made of fat, and half that amount is omega-3 type fats, foods rich in this nutrient are a great addition to any vegan diet. This fat works in the brain to make nerve cells, improve memory and support one’s capacity to learn.”

If you want to buy Chia Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds come in both white and black varieties and are easy to sprinkle on salads, soups and sandwiches. Paolo Picciotto/Reda&Co/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Sesame seeds come in both white and black varieties and are easy to sprinkle on salads, soups and sandwiches. Paolo Picciotto/Reda&Co/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

If you’re on the hunt for a good source of calcium, look no further than the humble sesame seed. Even if you’re most familiar with sesame seeds atop a hamburger bun, they can be sprinkled on cooked vegetables, cereals or — when in a paste form called tahini — used as dressings or dips. Sesame seeds are loaded with calcium, offering nearly 88 milligrams in just 1 tablespoon. And, with 42 milligrams of magnesium per tablespoon, they also have the potential to help lower blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.

If you want to buy Sesame Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are bursting with protein, fibre and incredibly beneficial antioxidants, so sprinkle liberally and enjoy! Patrick Pleul/Picture Alliance/Getty Images
Hemp seeds are bursting with protein, fibre and incredibly beneficial antioxidants, so sprinkle liberally and enjoy! Patrick Pleul/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

While hemp seeds originate from the Cannabis sativa plant, they don’t offer any mind-altering benefits. They are, however, ripe with protein, fibre and good-for-you antioxidants, such as omega-3 and omega-6. In just 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of seeds, are nearly 10 grams of protein. And it’s a full protein too, which means it contains a complete set of all nine essential amino acids. Among other benefits, hemp seeds are believed to boost heart health and perhaps help ward off neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, says nutritionist Juliana Tamayo of FitnessClone.com. Hemp seeds can be sprinkled whole on cereal, yogurt or salads, or be made into hemp milk.

If you want to buy Hemp Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are great all year round, not just at Halloween. Try roasting them with a little salt for a flavourful snack. Bildagentur-Online/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Pumpkin seeds are great all year round, not just at Halloween. Try roasting them with a little salt for a flavourful snack. Bildagentur-Online/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Pumpkin seeds are not only tasty (try them roasted), but offer a nutritional boost for heart health, bone strength and can even better one’s mood. Just 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of pumpkin seeds has 40 milligrams of magnesium. This is an important nutritional benefit, considering a whopping 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium, which is necessary for controlling blood pressure, reducing heart disease and improving bone health. Magnesium can even improve blood sugar levels.

If you want to buy Pumpkin Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate seeds are beautiful, jewel-toned nutritional blockbusters. Cris Faga/Nurphoto Via Getty Images
Pomegranate seeds are beautiful, jewel-toned nutritional blockbusters. Cris Faga/Nurphoto Via Getty Images

Encased by the flesh of the flavourful ruby-red fruit, pomegranate seeds are a delightful treat that also happen to carry a number of health benefits. Pomegranate seeds are high in flavones, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit everything from blood pressure to joint pain. Some studies have shown promising results about pomegranate seeds, including their potential to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, and ability to improve memory.

If you want to buy Pomegranate Seeds, it’s widely available here.

Now That’s Interesting

Quinoa has been at the centre of debate for years. Is it a seed or a grain? Quinoa, it turns out, is the seed of the Chenopodium plant — a relative of the beet — but is often referred to as a grain because it is used and cooked like one.

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READ MORE: 7 Teas Linked To Better Brain Health

Read more on Ways to Improve Your Health: Peanuts Improve Cognitive Function & More, But Some People Should Avoid Them

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