There’s no quicker way to ramp up your intake of essential vitamins and minerals than to start incorporating these seeds into your diet. These tiny health boosters have been improving people’s wellbeing for years, but it’s only now that many are beginning to realize the full benefits offered by seeds. Find out what each one is best for in the second part of our seed series:
Sunflower seeds are a very rich source of vitamin E which protects fat containing structures in the body such as cell membranes, brain cells and cholesterol from nasty free radicals. The sunny seeds are also rich in magnesium for healthy muscles, nerves and brain cells (if you experience twitching eyes, muscle cramps or spasms, you definitely need more magnesium) and selenium, a powerful antioxidant which helps to repair damaged cells.
How to use them: Sprinkle sunflower seeds on salads and stir-fries, add them to muesli or spread sunflower seed butter on your morning toast.
One ounce of sunflower seed kernels contains 47 calories, 4g of fat, 1.5g of protein and 0.9g of fibre.
Wheat has received a bit of a bad rep lately but wheat-shunners could be missing out on some pretty powerful health benefits. Just two tablespoons of wheatgerm provides about 15 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E and ten percent of your daily folate needs. Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for normal cell growth and reproduction. It is particularly important during conception and pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects like Spina bifida.
How to use them: For healthy hearts and cells, sprinkle wheatgerm over cereal, stir into yoghurt or mix it into smoothies. It can also be used in baking.
One tablespoon of wheat germ contains 25 calories, 0.5g of fat, 2g of protein and 0.5g of fibre.
Open sesame! These tiny seeds are rich in manganese and copper, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fibre. In addition, sesame seeds also contain very high levels of phytosterols – the plant compounds which may help to reduce blood levels of cholesterol.
How to use them: Sprinkle them on salads and stir-fries, or use them to coat chicken or fish fillets. Don’t be limited to the standard yellow seeds either – add colour to your meals with black, white and even red sesame seeds.
One tablespoon of sesame seeds contains 52 calories, 4.5g of fat, 1.6g of protein, and 1.1g of dietary fibre.