Super Seeds and Their Health Benefits

Super Seeds and Their Health Benefits

Stock photo of a variety of seeds with a scoop

The super seeds that super-cede

They may be tiny but they are mighty little power houses of nutrition, carrying with them the fuel for their next incarnation. Essentially, a edible seed is the inner most part  of a flowering plants reproductive system, an embryo encased in a harder protective shell, with life growing potential. Under the right conditions, a seed will germinate, reaching it’s little sprouting tendrils out to search for dirt and water and give rise to its next generation, thus carrying with it all the nutrients needed for a plant baby.

Many of the plant foods we eat are seeds such as cereal grains, like oats, rice and corn; pseudo cereal grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth;  beans and legumes such as peas, green beans, chickpeas, lentils, black beans and kidney beans; spices such as coriander, cumin, mustard, fennel and chilli seeds; nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios and, for our discussion, the seeds referred to when we say “nuts and seeds”.

The most commonly eaten seeds that boast a host of nutrition include:

  • Sunflower
  • Pumpkin
  • Hemp
  • Flax
  • Chia
  • Sesame
  • Poppy

Seeds are one of the most nutrient dense foods in the plant world. They are extremely high in fiber, packed with healthy unsaturated fats and plant proteins, rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals and are loaded with important anti-oxidants. Just a spoonful of seeds added to your diet daily can have an uplifting impact on your health. The nutritional profile varies slightly with each seed but the health benefits remain the same. Let’s have a look:

  • They are high in calories and are an excellent quick pick me up snack without the blood sugar spike and carb crash. They can curb cravings and increase energy and endurance. An ounce of seeds is around 150 calories.
  • High in plant protein and essential amino acids. Proteins are the building blocks for everything in your body such as muscle and bone and is one of the critical macro nutrients needed for life.
  • High in fiber which has a million pros including supporting the good bacteria in the gut, aids digestion including reducing constipation, supports immune function, reduces bad cholesterol, collects toxins to eliminate, regulates blood sugars and lowers chronic inflammation. That is just the tip of the importance of fiber.
  • High in essential Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are critical for brain health, hormonal balance, eye health, mental health and metabolism.
  • Contain high levels of B-vitamins including folate which is important during fetal development in pregnancy to prevent neurological disorders.
  • Contains Vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin essential for the immune system, combating free radicals and reducing inflammation. It can also protect eye health.
  • Contains Vitamin K which is necessary for bone health and blood clotting.
  • High in plant based iron which can reduce symptoms of anemia and transport oxygen to your tissues.
  • High in calcium and magnesium which supports bone health and reduces osteoporosis along with supporting muscles and neurological tissues in the body.
  • High in selenium and zinc which support the immune system.
  • Contains other vitamins and minerals such as C, copper, sodium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.
  • Can lower blood pressure and protect against cardio vascular disease.
  • May support reproductive systems in both men and women
  • Can regulate hormones in both men and women but especially helpful with PMS and menopause.
  • Is low on the GI scale and a supportive food for Type 2 diabetes.
  • Can be a part of a weight loss program.
  • Can improve memory and protect against cognitive decline due to high omega content and Vitamin E.
  • Anti-oxidants working against free radical agents can Lower risk of certain cancers and chronic illnesses.
  • Promotes healthy hair and skin.
  • Can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Contains tryptophan, the precursor to  serotonin and melatonin, both essential for sleep and well-being.
  • Excellent food source for vegan and vegetarian diets.
  • Gluten frree, safe for Celiacs.
  • Can prolong lifespan and mitigate premature aging.


  • Because seeds are so high in fiber, they may cause irritation for those who are not used to a high fiber diet. Start slow and introduce smaller portions at a time and drink lots of water to help keep the fiber moving through your gut.
  • Could interact with meds as they can lower blood pressure and blood sugars.
  • Seeds can be high in calories and although it is better to consume nutritious calories over empty ones, it is important to note that a little bit can go a long way when it comes to eating seeds. Keep your intake to 1 or 2 ounces a day and mix and match.

Fun facts

  • Chia and flax seeds form a gelatine like substance when soaked in a liquid. This gel can be used as an egg substitute acting as a binder for those with egg allergies or vegans.
  • Flax and Chia should be ground for best absorption as they are often not well chewed and can come out looking like they went in. Pulse them in a coffee grinder.
  • Sunflower and pumpkin sees are delicious roasted.
  • Quinoa is often considered a whole grain but actually is a seed. Quinoa is referred to a pseudo cereal grain and is one of the seeds that are considered a whole protein. Quinoa, unlike these other seeds, is usually cooked and served like a grain.
  • Hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, have the ultimate ratio of Omega 3 to 6 for human health and are high in protein, containing all the amino acids. These are exceptional little seeds to add to your diet.
  • Hemp seeds were banned until quite recently as they are derived from the cannabis plant and were considered illegal. Hemp hearts have no trace of THC and will not cause a drug effect.
  • Poppy seeds if eaten in large quantities can give a false positive on opiate drug testing but they also do not elicit a drug effect. Although, apparently poppy seeds from the opiate poppy do have a calming effect on the nervous system.
  • Pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas.
  • Sesame seeds are the most likely to be an allergen out of all of these seeds.
  • Sesame seeds are the seed that makes tahini, a popular middle eastern paste.
  • Sunflower seeds contain the highest amount of Vitamin E out of these seeds.

Adding more seeds to your diet

Any of these seeds can be eaten raw or uncooked. Try these ideas to include more seeds in your day:

  • Roast pumpkin or sunflower seeds in a dry pan and top salads, soups, bowls and stir-fries.
  • Season and roast pumpkin or sunflower seeds in the oven for grazing or add to a trail mix.
  • Pulse pumpkin or sunflower seeds into a flour and use them in cookies, such as these Delicious Grain Free Chocolate Seed Cookies.
  • Grind a combination of seeds in a coffee grinder and top oatmeal, granola or salads. I like pulsing flax, pumpkin, sunflower and hemp.
  • Add flax, chia or hemp hearts to an oatmeal such as in this Oatmeal Blend.
  • Add them to granola or make your own granola like this Hearty, healthy Homemade Granola.
  • Make your own seed crackers.
  • Add any of these seeds to baked goods such as breads, muffins and bars like these Mixed Seed Energy Bars.
  • Use poppy seeds in salad dressings or in a lemon poppy seed muffin.
  • Use sesame, sunflower, hemp and flax oils in dressings and sauces. These aren’t great oils for high heat although sesame and sunflower oils are often used in cooking.
  • Enjoy apple slices with sunflower or pumpkin butter or tahini.
  • Use butters in baking such as these Delicious Grain Free Chocolate Seed Cookies or these Easy 4 Ingredient Sesame Cookie
  • Try hemp milk as a dairy replacement.
  • Add oils, butters or whole seeds to smoothies. I use a tablespoon of tahini in my morning smoothie.
  • Top asian dishes and stir-fries with sesame seeds.
  • Try hemp hearts with fresh berries on greek yogurt.
  • Experiment with a over night chia pudding or a mixed berry chia jam.

You May also like:

Beans and Legumes – Part of a healthy Diet

Cashews – A Vegan’s Dream

Everything coconut

Lentils – What you Need to Know

Quinoa – a Pseudo Cereal Grain

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Inner Vision Health and Wellness Karyn Lawson RMT INHC