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high five seeds

High five seeds
Another recent study found that after eating about 40 grams of sesame seed powder per day for 28 days, semi-professional athletes had significantly reduced muscle damage and ox >36 ).

6 Super Healthy Seeds You Should Eat

Seeds contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants. Because of this, they are extremely nutritious.

Seeds are great sources of fiber. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

When consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.

This article will describe the nutritional content and health benefits of six of the healthiest seeds you can eat.

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fats, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

However, the omega-3 fats are contained within the fibrous outer shell of the seed, which humans can’t digest easily.

Therefore, if you want to increase your omega-3 levels, it’s best to eat flaxseeds that have been ground ( 1 , 2 ).

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains a wide mix of nutrients (3):

  • Calories: 152
  • Fiber: 7.8 grams
  • Protein: 5.2 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 6.5 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 1.7 grams
  • Manganese: 35% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 28% of the RDI

Flaxseeds also contain a number of different polyphenols, especially lignans, which act as important antiox >4 ).

Lignans, as well as the fiber and omega-3 fats in flaxseeds, can all help reduce cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease ( 5, 6, 7 ).

One large study combined the results of 28 others, finding that consuming flaxseeds reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 10 mmol/l ( 8 ).

Flaxseeds may also help reduce blood pressure. An analysis of 11 studies found that flaxseeds could reduce blood pressure especially when eaten whole every day for more than 12 weeks ( 9 ).

A couple of studies have shown that eating flaxseeds may reduce markers of tumor growth in women with breast cancer, and may also reduce cancer risk ( 10 , 11 , 12 ).

This may be due to the lignans in flaxseeds. Lignans are phytoestrogens and are similar to the female sex hormone estrogen.

What’s more, similar benefits have been shown regarding prostate cancer in men ( 13 ).

In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, flaxseeds may also help reduce blood sugar, which may help lower the risk of diabetes ( 14 ).

Summary: Flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fats, lignans and other nutrients. A lot of evidence has shown they may reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and even the risk of cancer.

Chia seeds are very similar to flaxseeds because they are also good sources of fiber and omega-3 fats, along with a number of other nutrients.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds contains (15):

  • Calories: 137
  • Fiber: 10.6 grams
  • Protein: 4.4 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 4.9 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 1.6 grams
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 15% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI

Like flaxseeds, chia seeds also contain a number of important antioxidant polyphenols.

Interestingly, a number of studies have shown that eating chia seeds can increase ALA in the blood. ALA is an important omega-3 fatty ac >16 , 17 ).

Your body can convert ALA into other omega-3 fats, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are the omega-3 fats found in oily fish. However, this conversion process in the body is usually quite inefficient.

One study has shown that chia seeds may be able to increase levels of EPA in the blood ( 18 ).

Chia seeds may also help reduce blood sugar. A couple of studies have shown that whole and ground chia seeds are equally effective for reducing blood sugar immediately after a meal ( 19 , 20 ).

Another study found that, as well as reducing blood sugar, chia seeds may reduce appetite ( 14 ).

Chia seeds may also reduce risk factors of heart disease ( 21 ).

A study of 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that eating 37 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks reduced blood pressure and levels of several inflammatory chemicals, including C-reactive protein (CRP) ( 22 ).

Summary: Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fats and are effective at lowering blood sugar and reducing risk factors for heart disease.

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of vegetarian protein. In fact, they contain more than 30% protein, as well as many other essential nutrients.

Hemp seeds are one of the few plants that are complete protein sources, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids that your body can’t make.

Studies have also shown that the protein quality of hemp seeds is better than most other plant protein sources ( 23 ).

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of hemp seeds contains ( 24 ):

  • Calories: 155
  • Fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Protein: 8.8 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 10.7 grams
  • Magnesium: 45% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 21% of the RDI

The proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in hemp seed oil is roughly 3:1, which is cons >25 ).

For this reason, many people take hemp seed oil supplements.

Hemp seed oil may have a beneficial effect on heart health by increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty ac >26 , 27 , 28 ).

The anti-inflammatory action of the omega-3 fatty acids may also help improve symptoms of eczema.

One study found that people with eczema experienced less skin dryness and itchiness after taking hemp seed oil supplements for 20 weeks. They also used skin medication less, on average ( 29 ).

Summary: Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and contain all the essential amino acids. Hemp seed oil may help reduce symptoms of eczema and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

Sesame seeds are commonly consumed in Asia, and also in Western countries as part of a paste called tahini.

Similar to other seeds, they contain a wide nutrient profile. One ounce (28 grams) of sesame seeds contains (30):

  • Calories: 160
  • Fiber: 3.3 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.3 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Copper: 57% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 34% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 25% of the RDI

Like flaxseeds, sesame seeds contain a lot of lignans, particularly one called sesamin. In fact, sesame seeds are the best known dietary source of lignans.

A couple of interesting studies have shown that sesamin from sesame seeds may get converted by your gut bacteria into another type of lignan called enterolactone ( 31 , 32 ).

Enterolactone can act like the sex hormone estrogen, and lower-than-normal levels of this lignan in the body have been associated with heart disease and breast cancer ( 33 ).

Another study found that postmenopausal women who ate 50 grams of sesame seed powder daily for five weeks had significantly lower blood cholesterol and improved sex hormone status ( 34 ).

Sesame seeds may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can worsen symptoms of many disorders, including arthritis.

One study showed that people with knee osteoarthritis had significantly fewer inflammatory chemicals in their blood after eating about 40 grams of sesame seed powder every day for two months ( 35 ).

Another recent study found that after eating about 40 grams of sesame seed powder per day for 28 days, semi-professional athletes had significantly reduced muscle damage and ox >36 ).

Summary: Sesame seeds are a great source of lignans, which may help improve sex hormone status for estrogen. Sesame seeds may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed types of seeds, and are good sources of phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fats.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds contains (37):

  • Calories: 151
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Manganese: 42% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI

Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that may help lower blood cholesterol ( 38 ).

These seeds have been reported to have a number of health benefits, likely due to their wide range of nutrients.

One observational study of more than 8,000 people found that those who had a higher intake of pumpkin and sunflower seeds had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer ( 39 ).

Another study in children found that pumpkin seeds may help lower the risk of bladder stones by reducing the amount of calcium in urine ( 40 ).

Bladder stones are similar to kidney stones. They’re formed when certain minerals crystalize inside the bladder, which leads to abdominal discomfort.

A couple of studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil can improve symptoms of prostate and urinary disorders ( 41 , 42 ).

These studies also showed that pumpkin seed oil may reduce symptoms of overactive bladder and improve quality of life for men with enlarged prostates.

A study of postmenopausal women also found that pumpkin seed oil may help reduce blood pressure, increase “good” HDL cholesterol and improve menopause symptoms ( 43 ).

Summary: Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are good sources of monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help improve heart health and symptoms of urinary disorders.

Sunflower seeds contain a good amount of protein, monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds contains (44):

  • Calories: 164
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Protein: 5.8 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.2 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6.4 grams
  • Vitamin E: 47% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 27% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 23% of the RDI

Sunflower seeds may be associated with reduced inflammation in middle-aged and older people, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

An observational study of more than 6,000 adults found that a high intake of nuts and seeds was associated with reduced inflammation ( 45 ).

In particular, consuming sunflower seeds more than five times per week was associated with reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a key chemical involved in inflammation.

Another study examined whether eating nuts and seeds affected blood cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes ( 46 ).

The women consumed 30 grams of sunflower seeds or almonds as part of a healthy diet every day for three weeks.

By the end of the study, both the almond and sunflower seed groups had experienced reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The sunflower seed diet reduced triglycerides in the blood more than the almond diet, though.

However, “good” HDL cholesterol was also reduced, suggesting that sunflower seeds may reduce both good and bad types of cholesterol.

Summary: Sunflower seeds contain high levels of both monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels.

Seeds are great sources of healthy fats, vegetarian protein, fiber and antioxidant polyphenols.

Furthermore, they can help reduce the risk of certain diseases. In particular, the lignans in certain seeds may help lower cholesterol and the risk of cancer.

Seeds are extremely easy to add to salads, yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies, and can be an easy way to add healthy nutrients to your diet.

High five seeds
Nutrients A whopping 10 grams of fiber in one tablespoon is a good start. But chia seeds pack a whole lot more in their little round package. So count on good amounts of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and plenty of those plant-based omega-3 fats (alpha linolenic acids).

Fiftysomething Diet: 5 Seeds You Need To Eat

SPECIAL FROM Next Avenue

Discover the super health benefits of flavorful, nutrient-rich kernels, including those found in sunflowers, flax and hemp

When it comes to smart foods in small packages, nuts like almonds and walnuts tend to hog the spotlight. But there’s a whole other arsenal of other tasty, nutrient-dense foods you might want to tap into — seeds. They may be tiny but they’re nutritional powerhouses loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein and minerals. Supercharge your diet by snacking on these five seeds and sprinkling them into your dishes.

1. Chia Forget about “ch-ch-ch-chia pet plants.” As this ABC video shows, the ancient Aztec chia is making a strong comeback as a “hip” food ingredient. Eat the seeds raw on their own or add to almost any kind of food, like juice, yogurt, soup, eggs, pancakes, salad dressing and smoothies.

Nutrients A whopping 10 grams of fiber in one tablespoon is a good start. But chia seeds pack a whole lot more in their little round package. So count on good amounts of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and plenty of those plant-based omega-3 fats (alpha linolenic acids).

The Newest Research Despite the hype, a 2012 study suggests that eating chia seeds isn’t a “cure” for what ails you, at least in the short term. “It didn’t magically change disease risk factors,” Appalachian State University researcher David Nieman said in a North Carolina paper. “It isn’t like taking a pill to lower your cholesterol.” Nor does it help with weight loss, as Nieman and colleagues found in an earlier 2009 study. It’s just a good, nutrient-rich food.

A Few Tips 1. Soaking chia seeds in fruit juice or water allows them to swell to several times their initial size and become gelatinous, a plus for people who want their beverages, puddings and cereals to be more filling. 2. New research suggests seeds need to be milled to release plant-based omega-3 fats. That’s because your body may not get the benefits of the whole seeds if your digestive track can’t break them down. Milling them — aka grinding them into a flour — is needed to “release” the good nutrition.

2. Flax Food companies may add them whole to snacks, but the only way to open yourself up to the health benefits of these tiny, nutty-flavored seeds is to grind them (or buy them already ground into flaxseed meal). Try them in a healthy smoothie or sprinkled on yogurt and cereal. And don’t worry about seed color. Dark brown or golden-hued, the nutrition profile is identical.

Nutrients Rich in plant-based omega-3 fats, each 35-calorie tablespoon of ground flaxseed meets government guidelines for alpha linolenic acid — 1.1 grams per day for women and 1.6 grams per day for men. Also, count on that same tablespoon giving you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber, a big reason why flax is considered such a good laxative.

The Newest Research A 2012 study by the American Heart Association finds that eating an ounce of ground flaxseed daily for six months can lower blood pressure. Some small studies find the seed might help protect against prostate cancer and a 2013 Canadian study reports a link between eating flaxseed and reduced breast cancer risk.

A Few Tips 1. Flaxseed can stand in for eggs in pancakes or baked goods; mix 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to replace each egg. 2. There have been some reports of drug-flaxseed interactions so check with your doctor if you take statins, blood thinners, NSAIDs or the antibiotic cyclosporin.

3. Sunflower Seeds The beautiful yellow flower is a sight to behold, but its real gold can be found in its black-and-white hulled seeds. Great for snacking or as a topping for cereal, crisps and yogurt. Or chop them into a healthy coating for pan-fried chicken tenders.

Nutrients An ounce (1/4 cup) of shelled seeds delivers one-third of the daily requirement for vitamin E and phosphorous. That same 170-calorie serving also offers up small amounts of protein, fiber, zinc, folate, vitamin B6 and choline, which has been linked to better memory and cognitive performance in older adults.

The Newest Research A large 2012 German study notes a reduced risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who eat high amounts of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and soybeans, compared to women who don’t eat those foods.

A Few Tips 1. Consider avoiding sunflower seeds if you have a latex allergy since it could put you at increased risk for an IgE-mediated, food-induced reaction. 2. Resist stirring seeds into muffin or quick bread batters made with baking soda — the two ingredients chemically interact to tint baked goods a harmless, but unappealing, blue-green hue.

4. Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) Raw pumpkin seeds are a rich, green color, but they turn brown when toasted. Easily found in whole food or natural grocery stores, they make a crunchy topping for baked goods, yogurt and cereals.

Nutrients An ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds has 126 calories, 5 grams of protein and 5.5 grams of fat, giving it the skinniest nutrition profile of the seed family. Like other seeds, they’re also a good source of minerals, including magnesium, potassium and zinc.

The Newest Research As mentioned above, a recent German study reported a reduced risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who eat high amounts of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and soybeans. In a 2011 study, Jamaican researchers noticed higher levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and improvement in menopausal symptoms for women supplementing their diets with pumpkin seed oil.

A Few Tips 1. For a healthy snack, buy raw pepitas and toast them with lime juice and a spice rub, as Martha Stewart suggests. 2. Or save seeds from a pumpkin and roast them yourself.

5. Hemp Seeds At $15 a pound or more, tiny hemp seeds are pricey little devils. But their high-quality protein and stellar nutrition numbers make them a heavenly choice for anyone following a plant-based diet.

Nutrients The big plus of hemp seeds, a factor that separates them from all others, is that they’re a complete protein, one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids or building blocks of protein. Also noteworthy: generous amounts of vitamin E, plant-based omega-3 fats and minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Two tablespoons contain 90 calories, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

The Newest Research Just about everything in their nutrition profile suggests hemp seeds might help protect against heart disease and other ills. But we don’t have a lot of research to support what hemp seeds can do. That’s because people and food companies have shied away from a food plant that is related to marijuana. When in reality there are no marijuana-like effects to be had from hemp seeds. They are entirely safe.

A Few Tips 1. New to most kitchens, look for recipes using hemp seeds at Vegetarian Times or try this Fruit and Hemp Seed Muesli.