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Amazing Health Benefits of Seeds

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Amazing Health Benefits Of Seeds
Infographic – © herbs-info.com

Just like nuts, seeds have numerous health benefits. Seeds are high in fiber, monounsaturated fats, and Vitamin E that contribute to keeping your body disease-free and your heart healthy. They are also great sources of zinc, minerals, protein, and other life-enhancing nutrients. Several studies have revealed that different types of seeds can prevent the accumulation of LDL cholesterol, the development of heart disease, and weight gain. [1]



Here’s a list of the healthiest seeds you can add to your diet:

1. Chia Seeds



Chia seeds contain 25% to 40% oil, 20% of which comprises omega-6 linoleic acid and 60% omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. Both are essential fatty acids for a healthy body. Chia seeds are also composed of minerals, vitamins, dietary fiber (18-30%), carbohydrates (26-41%), fats (30-33%), and protein (15-25%). Another key feature of these seeds is that they do not contain gluten. [2]

Because chia seeds are high in Omega-3, protein, and fiber, they help improve metabolic rate, reduce inflammation, increase HDL cholesterol, and lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. All these contribute to decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and to reducing joint pain. A great source of protein, chia seeds help with weight loss by reducing appetite and obsessive thoughts about food. These seeds are also known for their ability to provide sustainable energy, earning them their Mayan name Chia, which means strength. [3]

2. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Recent studies have examined the effects of dietary hemp seeds and these fatty acids on ischemic heart disease, platelet aggregation, and other aspects of cardiovascular health. Data reveal that hemp seeds have the potential of beneficially influencing heart disease. [4]


3. Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate seeds can help treat or prevent several disease risk factors, including inflammatory activities, hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Some of its components like polyphenols have potential anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Pomegranates can reduce lipid peroxidation, free radicals, and oxidative stress. They can also induce apoptosis and prevent cell growth, all of which lead to anticarcinogenic effects. [5]

4. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are increasingly becoming an essential functional food ingredient because of their rich amounts of fiber, lignans, and ALA and omega-3 fatty acid. Potential health benefits include reduction of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and autoimmune and neurological disorders. Flax protein supports the immune system and contributes to the treatment and prevention of heart disease. [6]

5. Pumpkin Seeds

A nutritional powerhouse, pumpkin seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients, from copper, protein and zinc to magnesium and manganese. They have free-radical scavenging antioxidants and plant compounds phytosterols, which further boost health. Pumpkin seeds have high fiber content, helping you keep up with the recommended intake level of 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. A quarter cup of the seeds can provide you with almost half of the daily recommended amount of magnesium, a mineral that contributes to essential physiological functions like the synthesis of DNA and RNA, the creation of adenosine triphosphate, proper bowel function, relaxation of blood vessels, proper tooth and bone formation, and the pumping of the heart. Magnesium benefits blood pressure and helps prevent stroke and heart attack. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of Americans are found to be deficient in this mineral. [7]

6. Apricot Seeds

Note – while sweet apricot seeds are often used as a snack or ingredient, bitter apricot seeds should be viewed with caution and not used as part of the everyday diet. The bitter seeds have been used as an alternative treatment for cancer patients but are the subject of an ongoing controversy over toxicity.

Also known as amygdalin, laetrile is the active component of bitter apricot seeds. It is sometimes also called vitamin B17. Laetrile has special properties that appear to kill harmful cells more readily than healthy cells – and it is thought this may cause an anti-cancer effect. But scientific study results have been mixed. A study found that apricot seeds’ amygdalin caused a statistically significant increase in the white blood cells’ ability to attack harmful cells, stimulating patients’ immune system. Apricot seeds also contribute to an increased production of pancreatic enzymes. [8]

7. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds have been found to have a significant effect on the antioxidant defense system and oxidative stress. It is believed to have essential antioxidant function for individuals with hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. A study showed that intake of sesame among prehypertensive and hypertensive populations resulted to an increase in enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants and a decrease in oxidative stress markers. [9]

8. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are rich in copper, Vitamin E, and B Vitamins like selenium, phosphorus, thiamine, and more. They are a great source of fiber, phytosterols, amino acids, and more. These seeds are also a healthy source of essential fatty acids, specifically linoleic acid. Consuming healthy fats leads to reduced levels of body-wide inflammation, a stable and healthy body weight, and a healthy cardiovascular system. [10]

9. Cumin Seeds

The crude oil and thymoquinone (TQ) content of cumin seeds are effective against a variety of diseases, including kidney disease, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular complications, and cancer. It helps fight cancer in the blood system, skin, cervix, breast, prostate, liver, kidney, and lungs. The molecular mechanisms behind the seeds’ anticancer role has yet to be clearly understood, albeit some studies have revealed TQ’s antioxidant ability to improve the body’s defense system, inducing apoptosis and controlling Akt pathway. [11]

10. Grape Seeds

Grape seeds contain protein, carbohydrates, lipid, and 5-8% polyphenols (mainly flavonoids). Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant that can protect the body from disease, decay, and premature aging. Grape seeds are made up mainly of phenols like proanthocyanidins. Scientific studies have revealed that proanthocyanidins have antioxidant power that is 50 times more potent than Vitamin C and 20 times greater than Vitamin E. Other studies have shown that they protect the body from sun damage, improve vision, and improve flexibility in arteries, joints and body tissues. They also improve blood circulation by strengthening veins, arteries, and capillaries. [12]

References:

[1] Global Healing Center. The Top 5 Healthiest Seeds. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/healthy-seeds/

[2] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518271/

[3] Authority Nutrition. 11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

[4] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2868018/

[5] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Potent health effects of pomegranate. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/

[6] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/

[7] Mercola. 9 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx

[8] Dr. Axe. Apricot Seeds: Fight Cancer or Too Dangerous? https://draxe.com/apricot-seeds/

[9] Journal of Medicinal Food. Effects of the Intake of Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum L.) and Derivatives on Oxidative Stress: A Systematic Review. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jmf.2015.0075

[10] Dr. Axe. Sunflower Seeds: Benefits, Nutrition & Recipes. https://draxe.com/sunflower-seeds/

[11] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Anticancer Activities of Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252704/

[12] The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Polyphenolics in grape seeds-biochemistry and functionality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14977436



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