Thursday

Seeds For Thought

Seeds represent the starting point of life. The image of a seed represents the very definition of a new beginning not to mention how tasty they can be.

Seeds are not just for planting they are a great food source as well. There are numerous edible seeds available. I'm going to highlight three common seeds and one controversial:


Hemp Seeds


Contrary to popular belief, these seeds have not been proven potent enough to make you high. Cannabis (marijuana) contains about 5% to 20% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (a key compound that induces the "high" associated with the plant), hemp seeds contain a maximum of 3/10 of 1% THC, which is said to not be nearly enough to produce any psychoactive effects. 


xJason.Rogersx / Foter / CC BY
These controversial seeds are nutritious and contain minerals including magnesium, iron and zinc, protein, essential fatty acids and fiber, and vitamin E. They contain a high level of phytosterols that may help: reduce the risk of heart attacks, regulate cholesterol levels, treat colon, breast and prostate cancers, treat rheumatoid arthritis, prevent and treat osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, and may even be used to treat atopic eczema and psoriasis.

Sunflower Seeds


What is full of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, zinc and selenium? Sunflower seeds of course! Not only is the flower these seeds come from pretty to look at, but they also have some beautiful benefits as well. Selenium helps to repair damaged cells and may inhibit the spread of cancer cells. Sunflower seeds have a signature nutty flavor and an irresistible crunch when properly roasted; they also contain ample amounts of vitamin E as well.


BONUS

Here's a quick and easy recipe using this delicious and nutritious seed:

Sunflower Seed Penne Primavera



12 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1 red pepper
2 carrots, cut into julienne strips
2 small zucchini
2/3 cup fresh oriental pea pods (or 10 oz. frozen pea pods)
3 green onions
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dried dill)
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels


Clean and wash vegetables. Cut red pepper and zucchini into small slices. Cut peapods in half or thirds. Slice green onion. Cook penne al dente. While the pasta is cooking, cook vegetables. Heat sunflower oil in a large non-stick saute skillet. Add red pepper and carrots and saute for approximately 6 minutes. Then add remaining vegetables and steam for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chopped chives and finely chopped dill. Season with salt and pepper and heat until warmed through. Toss the vegetable mixture with the drained penne. Sprinkle with roasted sunflower kernels. Serve hot.




Sesame Seeds

These super seeds are loaded with zinc, lignans (a compound found mainly in plants that is believed to protect human beings from tumors and viruses), iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1, protein and fiber beneficial fibers that may help to lower your cholesterol and have been shown to prevent hypertension. Sesame seeds are also fortified with a substance called sesamin, which may provide your liver with protection from damage. They also contain vital minerals like copper, magnesium and calcium. These powerful seeds also have plant compounds that may help regulate your cholesterol levels, boost your immune system, and may even mitigate your risk of various cancers.

Pumpkin Seeds

 Attention all men: Pumpkin seeds help maintain your prostate health! Like other seeds, pumpkin seeds also contain beneficial phytosterols. These uniquely-flavored seeds are loaded with iron, copper, carotenoids, protein, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, heart-healthy omega-3 fats, and zinc. Recent clinical studies have shown these seeds possess anti-inflammatory properties as well. UTI (urinary tract infections) and various parasites have been shown to be powerless against pumpkin seed therapies as well.



All of the seeds above are excellent stand-alone snacks, but they are also great with: raisins, dehydrated mango, cranberries, cherries, and pineapple. Seeds are also tasty when added into yogurt and even as salad toppings. As I mentioned before, seeds represent the starting point of life, a new healthier life. Start yours off with a handful today!

Did I miss your favorite seed? If so, let me know in the comments below!




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