Chia seeds and flax seeds seem to suck up all the attention when it comes to talking about the health benefits of seeds. And around here we’re huge fans of both of them too.
But chia and flax aren’t the only super seeds on the block. Keep reading to discover the health benefits of three more super seeds you should put on your menu starting today.
1. Sunflower seeds:
If you haven’t touched sunflower seeds since you were a kid it’s time to change that. The delicious little seeds of the sunflower plant are packed full of good for you nutrients. Sunflower seeds are a great source of healthy essential fatty acids as well as protein and fiber. And one cup of the delicious seeds provides a big punch of magnesium, B6, folate, iron, niacin and vitamin E.
A half a cup of shelled sunflower seeds provides over 100 percent of your required daily value of free-radical fighting vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant has been linked to a 24 percent lower risk of heart related death.1 And if you’re 65 or over the benefits are even better, with the vitamin helping to slash your risk of heart death by 26 percent. Plus, research has revealed E can help fight blood clots, too.2
Sunflower seeds also provide plenty of heart-friendly folate and essential omega-3 fatty acids. High homocysteine levels are linked to heart disease, but folate naturally lowers them by metabolizing homocysteine into the essential amino acid methionine.
Betaine, another nutrient you’ll find in sunflower seeds, can help tackle homocysteine too. And omega-3 fatty acids help prevent heart disease and keep your heart beat steady.3
Research has shown that vitamin E may also help improve your brain power, while lowering your risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.4 And the B vitamins B6 and folate, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, help support a healthy brain.5,6,7,8
2. Pumpkin seeds:
Crunchy pumpkin seeds are fantastic in salads and make a great garnish for just about any main or side dish. Plus they’re delicious on their own as a simple, filling snack. But it’s the nutrients that these terrific seeds deliver that’s the real story here.
There’s around half of your daily recommended amount of magnesium packed into just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds. Your heart requires magnesium to maintain a strong steady heartbeat. The mineral can help you keep your blood pressure in the healthy zone by dilating blood vessels.
Low levels of magnesium are linked to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, but pumpkin seeds could help you effortlessly, and naturally, raise your levels.9,10 And research has shown that pumpkin seed oil boosts “good” HDL cholesterol levels, and lowers blood pressure at the same tme.11
Loaded with zinc, pumpkin seeds are a great way for guys to support their prostate health. Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil may help reduce the symptoms of a swollen prostate, a common complaint in men over 50.
Zinc levels in men with prostate cancer have been found to be extremely low, and pumpkin seeds may help you raise or maintain your levels of this valuable mineral.12
Low magnesium levels are linked to elevated insulin, which may be why studies have suggested that pumpkin seeds could help improve insulin regulation and possibly protect against type-2 diabetes. Pre-diabetic folks with the highest magnesium levels slash their risk of blood sugar issues by over 70 percent, according to research.13
The zinc in pumpkin seeds isn’t just good for prostates, it can also support bone health. The mineral is critical for strong healthy bones, and keeping your levels up to par may help reduce your risk for osteoporosis. In fact, research has shown zinc can help increase bone density.14
3. Sesame seeds:
Most of us are familiar with the delicate nutty flavor of sesame seeds, a staple in many Asian dishes. But few realize how much nutrition is packed into these tiny seeds.
With just a quarter cup of sesame seeds you can load up on 163 percent of your daily copper needs. And as a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, copper could help slash your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pain and swelling. Low copper levels are associated with RA, and studies have found that in some cases copper may work even better than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory.16,17
The mineral also supports an enzyme that plays a critical role in the production of the collagen and elastin that gives your joints structure, strength and flexibility.
Sesame seeds are a good source of heart-healthy magnesium which can help lower high blood pressure, reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke. And the super high levels of phytosterols hidden in the tiny little sesame seeds means they may help support healthy cholesterol levels.18,19