Flaxseeds contain polyphenols of which the most important is lignans. These lignans add fiber to the diet. They also contain Omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce cholesterol & other risk factors of heart disease. Since, the omega-3 fatty acids are contained in the fibrous outer shell, it is best to consume ground flaxseed to increase nutrient availability.
Chia seeds are similar to flaxseeds. Eating chia seeds helps to increase the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood thereby reducing inflammation. These omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce blood sugar, risk factors of heart disease and importantly, reduce appetite. Whole and ground chia seeds are equally effective and increase availability of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.
Hemp seeds are complete protein sources and contain all the essential amino acids. The protein quality of hemp seeds is better than most plant protein sources. Most, importantly they contain gamma-linolenic acids, which is a chief anti-inflammatory fatty acid. This anti-inflammatory action can also improve symptoms of eczema.
Sesamin in sesame seeds is converted by the gut bacteria into substances that have an estrogen like activity. This is especially beneficial for low levels of estrogen occurring in heart disease and breast cancer. Sesame seeds can reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress which worsen symptoms of disorders like arthritis. This action of sesame seeds can also reduce muscle damage and reduce other inflammatory markers.
Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of phosphorus, MUFA and emaga-6 fatty acids. The phytoesterols help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seed oil has shown to improve symptoms of prostrate and urinary disorders, reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder and especially help to improve the quality of life in men with enlarged prostates.
Sunflower Seeds contain high levels of vitamin E, apart from protein and MUFA. They reduce inflammation in middle-aged and older people and also reduce the risk of heart disease. Consuming sunflower seeds more than five times a week has shown to decrease levels of key chemicals involved in inflammation. Always consult a qualified nutritionist to understand your requirement and needs.
The writer is founder and chief nutritionist at Sano Holistic Nutrition Clinic