Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Seeds of Nutrition

Seeds are a great natural source of minerals and other nutrients.

Almost everyone has heard about the food pyramid. It has been promoted and marketed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to help understand the fundamentals of nutrition. We know about the fruits and vegetables. Beans are now included with meats as sources of protein. You may even recall dairy. But what about seeds are they included with the grains? There actually is a category called "Oils" in the food pyramid, which calls out sunflower oil and mentions sesame oil. It also mentions some nuts, such as walnuts. Walnuts seem to get all of the glory as a superstar in the world of nuts and seeds. But, what about other seeds?

Many seeds have a fantastic nutrition profile. Seeds are highly nutritious and some are even characterized as super foods and should not be forgotten in nutrition. Many seeds have high concentrations of minerals, which is what bumps them into the superfood classification. A few of the healthiest seeds include.
  1. Flax seed
  2. Pumpkin Seeds
  3. Sunflower Seeds
  4. Sesame seeds
  5. Chia seeds

1. Flax seeds are highly lauded as a source of omega 3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of plant sterols. Furthermore, like other seeds, flax is a great natural source of minerals. It is a good source of the following minerals: manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Wow, what a powerhouse, not to mention it's high levels of thiamin.

2. Pumpkin seeds are a great natural source of minerals. A quarter cups of pumpkin seeds provides roughly half of the daily recommended allowance of magnesium, manganese, and copper. They are also a good source of iron and copper. Click here for more information on pumpkin seedss by World's healthiest Foods.

3. Sunflower seeds are a great healthy snack and have high levels of vitamin E and thiamin (vitamin B1), in addition to a host of other vitamins and minerals. Additionally, sunflower seeds have the highest levels of phyosterols of common seeds for snacking.

4. Sesame Seeds are a very good source of copper and also a good source of other minerals like calcium and magnesium. Additionally, they are a good source of phytosterols.

5. Chia seeds are becoming more popular as of late for in the words of diet, nutrition, and sports. There is not as much nutrition data readily available on nutrition, but there has been talk about a variety of potential health benefits. Chia has the unique ability to form a gel in water, so it actually slows down the digestion process, which helps to level out energy levels.

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