Seeds of Good Health

Both these seeds are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, from the plant kingdom (alpha linolenic acid) and work as weight management warriors.
Healthy seeds
Healthy seeds

Call it the sheer versatility of the small powerhouses. Seeds bring good health with every bite. In their tiny frame, they carry a world of benefits - vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, fibre, antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, Omega 3 acids and more.

Have them salted, roasted, mild or fiery. Says Pune-based nutritionist, dietician and CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle, Dr Rohini Patil, "Fibre-rich flaxseeds bring in magnesium, selenium and phosphorus. Their anti-inflammatory properties guard against cancer and heart diseases. Chia comes complete with plant-based sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, keeping you feeling full due to liquid absorption properties."

Both these seeds are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, from the plant kingdom (alpha linolenic acid) and work as weight management warriors. "The Omega 3 fatty acids bring in numerous health benefits: in lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, cancer-risks, and protecting your heart. Also, since chia seeds absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, they can be made into a gel and used as a vegan substitute for egg," explains dietitian Vidhi Chawla of Fisico Diet Clinic in Delhi.

Pumpkin seeds are immunity boosters that sashay in as 'pepitas'. "These seeds are the richest in zinc, an essential for working on weight loss. Bake in the oven, season with chilli, turmeric, or salt, or roast and munch. Selenium-rich sesame seeds with their lignan content are stress busters, reduce inflammation, and better the quality of sex hormones in the body," adds Chawla.  

Sunflower seeds reduce free radicals in the body. They come charged with minerals, Vitamins B and E, and antioxidants that streamline instances of heart disease and diabetes. "Hemp is a silent champion with its potassium, Vitamin E and Omega 6 content," says Chawla.

"Hemp hearts are regarded as a complete protein since all nine essential amino acids are present in them. It is a vegetarian must, with an amino acid profile similar to that of egg whites. Chia and hemp seeds are great energy boosters," Chawla adds.

While every mouthful brings in the bounty, it is often better to munch on soaked seeds. Says Dr Patil, "Keeping the seeds dipped in water reduces the risk of tannin consumption. Sprouted seeds are healthier and help in weight loss."

Activated seeds have been bio-activated through a simple process of soaking them in water for a predetermined amount of time, followed by draining and dehydrating. "This process activates the phytic acid that makes the nutrients inside seeds readily available for absorption in the body. The absorption of protein, iron, zinc, and calcium thus increases," Dr Patil adds.

Menstrual benefits

While there is no documented research to prove this, seed cycling is believed to simplify the menstrual cycle. Eating different types of seeds at different times of the menstrual cycle supports optimal estrogen and progesterone balance.

"Seed cycling proposes balancing estrogen and progesterone via phytoestrogens, zinc, selenium, and Vitamin E. Plant lignans can have a minor effect on oestrogen levels, and flax seeds have been linked to increased cycle length and decreased breast pain,"  says Vidhi Chawla of Fisico Diet Clinic, Delhi.

"Pumpkin, sesame, flax and sunflower promote a decrease in ovulation pain and menstrual cramps. Pumpkin and flax seeds better estrogen levels. Sesame seeds also help in boosting progesterone production as they are rich in zinc and Vitamin E," adds Dr Rohini Patil, CEO, Nutracy Lifestyle, Pune.

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