5 Edible Seeds and Their Incredible Properties

07 January, 2021
Including some seeds in your diet in moderation can benefit your health.

Edible seeds are the origin of nutrition. After all, they’re a living plant that allows for renewal and regeneration, and ecological succession of plants and natural environments.

Seeds can be kept alive even after being stored. Inside are elements reserved for keeping the future plant living through its first stages.

For this reason, they were among the first food products grown by humans, as they’re rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, enzymes, and essential oils in the raw state.

Types of edible seeds

Edible seeds include legumes oily seeds and nuts enjoy every meal

There are different species and categories of edible seeds. Here are the ones that stand out the most:

Legumes

Basically, these are edible seeds that are dried, cleaned, and extracted from the pod. For example, chick peas, lima beans, green or refried beans, and lentils, just to name a few. They’re complete foods that include almost every nutrient. Typically, they provide about 350 calories per 100 grams. They also provide:

  • Between 16% and 19% protein.
  • Slow-digesting carbohydrates.
  • Soluble fiber.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) and monounsaturated fatty acids (omega-9).

Also, legumes can even help to control cholesterol and blood sugar. In addition, they also help reduce your risk of suffering from heart conditions. Therefore, legumes are an important source of vegetable protein for humans.

Discover: 7 Tips for a Healthy Heart

Nuts

Edible seeds include nuts picture of nuts and dried fruit

Nuts have a hard shell and a seed on the inside. The most popular are chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and acorns, among others.

This type of seed is rich in healthy fats. Plus, they have high contents of antioxidants, vitamin E, and minerals. These nutritional characteristics have the following benefits:

  • Improved nerve signal transmission.
  • May help strengthen the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems.
  • Lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular and circulatory diseases.

Oily seeds

Oily seeds are edible seeds that you can extract oil from. Examples include sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, among others. Similarly, they’re complete foods because of their high contents of proteins and healthy fats.

Edible seeds and their properties

Now that we summarized the topic a bit, we’ll take a closer look at five edible seeds that have incredible properties:

1. Sunflower seeds

Edible seeds sunflower seeds in a small burlap bag on a wooden surface

Sunflower seeds contain about 36% oil and 23% protein. They’re sources of vitamins E, B1, B2, and B3. In addition, they also contain minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Likewise, sunflower seeds provide omega-6 fatty acids that are important for cellular metabolism and for reducing the risk of circulatory and cardiovascular illnesses.

Specifically, the consumption of this food has been associated with decreased inflammation levels in middle-aged and older people. This, in turn, would explain why it reduces the risk of heart problems.

Finally, we should also note that they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which promotes good intestinal function.

Its proper assimilation helps improve bowel movement and increases the presence of healthy bacteria. Therefore, eating them can fight problems such as constipation.

2. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein. After all, just 100 g provides about 54% of the recommended daily allowance.

They also contain essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) that help to decrease cholesterol levels and help circulatory functions work correctly.

Thanks to the B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acids, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron they contain, they’re also helpful if you have a deficiency of any of these in your body. Finally, they also contain curcubitacin, which helps to get rid of intestinal parasites.

3. Flax seeds

Flaxseeds in a wooden spoon with purple flowers as decoration edible seeds

Flaxseeds are especially known for their rich contents of alpha-linolenic acid (part of the omega-3s). Plus, they’re also known for providing diverse nutrients like carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, vitamins B and E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Together, these nutrients have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulant effects. They’re also very useful if you’re suffering from constipation or intestinal inflammation.

4. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are known as the best vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re rich in vitamins (especially B vitamins) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium).

Plus, they can help reduce joint pain, aid weight loss, and improve the intestinal tract. They even help to prevent cardiovascular problems and diabetes, and are free of gluten.

However, it’s important to point out that chia seeds are very high in calories. 100 g contain 500 calories. Thus, you should eat them in moderation.

This article may interest you: Healthy Green Apple Gelatin with Chia Seeds

5. Peanuts

Peanuts are edible seeds peanuts on a cutting board with shells

This nut contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids (close to 75%). These help to reduce the risk of death related to cardiac illnesses. They also contain albumins, carbohydrates, minerals (iron, calcium, and phosphorus) and vitamins (A and B1).

Peanuts are very nutritious and contain more protein than other legumes and even meat, which provides you with energy.

Final recommendations

Eat raw nuts. Eating nuts that have been exposed to high temperatures decreases their nutritional value and changes the properties of the vitamins and minerals. In addition, avoid seeds that are covered in sugar or toasted in salt.

As you can see, a balanced consumption of edible seeds within a balanced diet is very beneficial for your health and for your body. The next time you go to the grocery store, don’t forget to include some of them on your list!

  • Venkatachalan, M., & Sathe, S. K. (2006). Chemical composition of selected edible nut seeds. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf0606959
  • Contreras-Calderón, J., Calderón-Jaimes, L., Guerra-Hernández, E., & García-Villanova, B. (2011). Antioxidant capacity, phenolic content and vitamin C in pulp, peel and seed from 24 exotic fruits from Colombia. Food Research International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2010.11.003
  • Yang, J., Liu, R. H., & Halim, L. (2009). Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common edible nut seeds. LWT – Food Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2008.07.007