It is understood that nuts are a common allergen, but seeds can be a great substitute for the health benefits, without the risk of allergens. In my practice I rarely see seed allergens on lab testing. It still occurs occasionally, so make sure to always watch your body’s response when adding something new to your diet.
Flax Seeds – The seed with wonderful hormone balancing power from the lignans, as well as the highest amounts of Omega-3s. It also contains magnesium, which is a great mineral for your muscles and heart health. Lignans are a phytonutrient that help fight cancer and balancing hormones.
One negative is that we don’t break down the shiny outer shells and must grind them to get the true benefits.
Chia Seeds – “My Personal Favorite” — I just love chia seed pudding! This seed has the wonderful benefit of calcium and the highest fiber of any seed. It also has vitamin K, a common deficiency, magnesium, and Tryptophan (the least abundant amino acid) which helps make melatonin and serotonin.
Melatonin for sleep regulation and circadian rhythm help as well.
Serotonin “the mood hormone” can promote happiness and well-being, but at too high of levels it can cause anxiety.
Hemp Seeds – This seed has the distinction of having the most protein of any seed, and is often used by vegans and vegetarians to add protein to their diet. Magnesium is also present in this seed, and generally you may be getting a theme of magnesium in all of the seeds! Fun fact: Hemp seeds also contain all nine essential amino acids, without any psychoactive effects.
Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) – This seed has one of the most common minerals needed in the US diet: zinc, which is important for the immune system. It has lignans, tryptophan, and polyphenols as well.
Polyphenols help keep blood pressure levels managed and they help with blood vessel elasticity, which is important for cardiovascular health and promoting good circulation.
Sesame Seeds – An expensive seed to purchase, but very rich in nutrients like calcium, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), copper, lignans, methionine, and tryptophan. It has the highest amount of iron for any seed. The sesame seed isn’t crushed well with human teeth, but is eaten as tahini with lots of benefits.
Methionine is an essential amino acid that assists in the breakdown of fat and prevents accumulation in the arteries. It also aids digestion and is converted to help with liver detoxification.
Sunflower seeds - This is the cheapest seed of all, and one of my favorite as a peanut butter substitute. It is rich in vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamine), copper and selenium.
Selenium is an essential cofactor for the thyroid and can be a great source in sunflower seeds, if brazil nuts are not tolerated.
Note: Soak overnight to get a milder flavor in foods.
Now you can see all of the benefits of seeds, so pick some up on your next grocery store purchase and check out our website for a recovery drink made with chia seeds!