3 common seeds and their health benefits
They provide concentrated sources of many vitamins, minerals and oils and are one of the healthiest ‘convenience foods’!
Seeds are excellent for vegetarians, vegans, for people who use up a lot of energy or those who need to build up their strength.
Health benefits of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are particularly high in the B-vitamins making them useful for a stressed and weak nervous system.
They strengthen the lungs and are warming in the body so if you have a tendency to colds and flu in the winter, start adding these seeds to your diet.
Eaten regularly, sunflower seeds can help counter fatigue, depression, irritability and lack of energy.
Used topically, sunflower oil is wonderful for massaging dry skin and as it doesn’t have a smell it’s great for dispersing essential oils in.
Eating sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds have a delicate flavour and creamy texture. You can make them into milk as a substitute in a vegan diet, add to cooked rice and salads, sprinkle over cooked vegetables (we love them in stir fries) or turn them into savoury seeds by roasting them with soy sauce. Sunflower seeds make a great addition to school lunch boxes.
Sunflower milk recipe
2oz sunflower seeds
Put the sunflower seeds in a food processor with 200ml water and whizz to a thick purée.
Add another 400ml and whizz again
Strain through a small sieve or muslin cloth and sweeten if you wish with a dash of honey or agave syrup
Health benefits of sesame seeds
Sesame seeds provide many minerals, particularly calcium and are a wonderful addition to a vegan diet.
Due to the high calcium content, sesame seeds strengthen the bones, hair and nails and are reported to slow down the greying process as well as strengthen the sight!
Sesame seeds are anti inflammatory and useful if you suffer from hot, inflamed conditions such as cystitis.
These tiny seeds really are powerhouses of nutrition. In 100gms of sesame seeds you’ll find 26gm protein, 7mg iron and 10mg zinc.
Eating sesame seeds
These seeds are tiny so a bit difficult to pick up and eat as a snack! Buy a pack of sesame seeds to sprinkle on breakfast cereals or add to baking such as flapjacks and bread. Tahini is a great way to eat sesame seeds; you can spread it on toast instead of peanut butter or add to homemade hummous. You can also buy rice crackers which have sesame seeds added to them.
12 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
Dry roast the seeds and salt for a few moments, stirring all the time until the seeds smell lightly toasted and turn a bit browner.
Powder this mixture with a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder
Sprinkle over steamed vegetables or salads.
Health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc and recommended for men to help support the health of the prostrate.
They are well worth giving to children too as pumpkin seeds are able to expel most worms from the intestine; we used to give them ground up to our dogs and cats with great success.
Pumpkin seeds can be nibbled on a car journey to quell motion sickness and nausea. They contain useful amounts of omega-3 fatty acids when eaten raw.
Maybe this autumn, you’ll consider saving the seeds from your carved pumpkins, drying them and storing for use throughout the year!
Eating pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed straight from the packet. Men should eat around 10 pumpkin seeds a day to keep the prostrate healthy. You can grind pumpkin seeds a little and add to crumble toppings or muesli. Add them whole to stir fries or try the sandwich filling recipe below!
Pumpkin seed sandwich filling recipe
2 oz pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2-3 teaspoons water
Optional: crushed garlic, herbs or chopped spring onions
Grind the pumpkin seeds then mix with the soy sauce.
Gradually mix in the water until you have a thick, soft consistency.
Add flavourings if you are using them – garlic would be great if you need to get rid of worms!
Where to buy seeds
Seeds can be bought easily in supermarkets, health food shops, bulk food co-operatives and from online stores such as Country Products.
What about you? What are your favourite seeds and how do you eat them?