Everyone seems to know that nuts are good for you, especially if you eat them in moderation. They are high in heart healthy fats that also protect and nourish the brain. They offer fiber, nutrients and protein. Best of all, they are easy to grab and eat on the go! Seeds often get lumped into the same category as nuts. While they offer many of the same benefits, they are actually quite different and may be better choice for some people.
What is the difference between a nut and a seed?
A nut is actually a fruit! The hard shell wall that protects it is a composite of the seed and the fruit? Seeds are actually embryonic plants tucked inside a covering called the seed coat. Every seed has the potential to germinate and grown in to a mature adult plant. Imagine the nutrients in something with that much potential! It is no wonder that seeds are a crucial part of the human diet - they are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients as well as fibre.
Why choose seeds over nuts?
Choose seeds over nuts if you or someone you love has a nut allergy or you are concerned about developing one. Choose seeds over nuts if you are trying to watch your weight. Nuts are higher in fat and calories and seeds are higher in protein. Because each gram of protein contains 4 calories and each gram of fat contains 9 calories. I am sure you can see why seeds are a better and lower calorie choice for people working on weight balance!
Need some more reasons to go nuts for seeds?
Hemp Hearts contain an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat called GLA (1) of that works as a strong anti-inflammatory agent in the body. GLA decreases the inflammation caused by intense workouts or injury and help athletes who suffer from muscle pain. Hemp also reduces muscle cramps because Hemp Hearts are a rich source of magnesium, (2) which plays a key role in proper muscle function and relaxation. Athletes are prone to magnesium loss from sweating, so adding Hemp Hearts to shakes can prevent post workout cramps. Athletes generally have a higher than normal requirement for mineral and a deficiency of minerals can have a negative effect on athletic performance. (3) Hemp provides substantial amounts of zinc, calcium, manganese and iron, all of which are important for repair of tissues and maintenance of the immune system. To learn more about hemp, click here.
Sesame Seeds are packed with phytosterols. (4) In fact, they have the highest amount of all the nuts and seeds. Phytosterols are found in the cell walls of plants. When eaten in their whole state, they are as effective as statin drugs in reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed from the gut. (5)
Sunflower Seeds are high in Vitamin B1 (thiamine). (6) Thiamine is important for the health of the brain as it facilities the use of glucose, which is crucial for the production of energy. You can eat sunflower seeds raw or sprouted. They can be added to salads or in a trail -mix but they are most fun eaten straight out of the shell.
Flax Seeds are super high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids that help to protect against all diseases. (7) Remember to eat flax seeds raw and freshly ground otherwise the delicate omega 3 fatty acids will oxidize and lose their protective powers. Add flax seeds to cereals, rice dishes, and smoothies.
Chia Seeds are also full of omega 3 fatty acids. (8) They are not only an excellent source of fibre but have lots of protein and antioxidants too. You get 4 grams of fibre in each tablespoon! For more information about chia, click here.
Pumpkin Seeds are high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. (9) I like to sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads and add them to my trail mix. I use them in baked apple recipes and practically every fruit crisp I make! Don’t limit seed roasting to Halloween season. You can roast seeds of any winter squash from butternut to acorn. They all pack the same powerful, nutritional punch! For more information about pumpkin seeds, click here.