5 Edible Seeds and Their Incredible Properties

November 16, 2017
It's easy to understand why edible seeds were among the first foods cultivated by man. When raw, they contain high concentrations of vitamins, protein, minerals, enzymes and essential oils.

Edible seeds are the origin of nutrition. After all, they’re a living plant that allows for renewal and regeneration. Seeds can be kept alive even after being stored. Inside are elements reserved for keeping the future plant living through its first stages.

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Types of Edible Seeds

Edible seeds include legumes oily seeds and nuts enjoy every meal

There are different species and categories of edible seeds:

Legumes

Basically, these are edible seeds that are dried, cleaned, and extracted from the pod. For example, garbanzos, lima beans, green or refried beans, and lentils, just to name a few.

They are complete foods that include almost every nutrient. Typically, they provide about 350kcal/100g. They also provide:

  • Between 16% and 19% of daily recommended 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 and even some types of cancer. Therefore, legumes are an important source of vegetable protein for humans.

Nuts

Edible seeds include nuts picture of nuts and dried fruit

Nuts have a hard shell and a seed on the inside. These include 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. 

Nuts also reduce your chance of suffering from cardiovascular and circulatory diseases. In addition, they can provide an improvement in nerve signal transmission. Furthermore, nuts may help strengthen the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems.

Oily seeds

Oily seeds are edible seeds that you can extract oil from. Examples include sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Similarly, they function as a complete food because of their high contents of proteins and healthy fats.

Edible Seeds and their Properties

Next, we’ll take a closer look at 5 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 a source of vitamins E, B1, B2 and B3. In addition, they also contain minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

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

Plus, they also contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to keep your intestines functioning correctly.

2. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein. Afer all, just 100 g provides about 54% of our daily value!

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 B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acids, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, 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 function as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anticoagulants.

They’re also very useful if you are suffering from constipation or intestinal inflammation.

4. Chia seeds

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

Plus, they can help reduce joint pain, encourage 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 calories100 g contains 500 kcal, so you should eat them in moderation. Additionally, it’s best to consume them after soaking them in water for at least 2 hours, which helps you digest them better and take better advantage of their fiber content.

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.

In addition, 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.

According to studies, peanuts may help reduce your risk of suffering from breast cancer. Additionally, peanuts could help decrease the risk of cancer growth.

Suggestions

  • 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.
  • Avoid seeds that are covered in sugar or toasted in salt.

As you can see, a balanced consumption of edible seeds 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