Seeds are a source of protein and healthy fats that improve heart health. Foreverfit tells you about the health benefits of 8 varieties. 

Nuts aside, seeds are mini storehouses of nutrition because they are a rich source of protein, minerals, zinc and other vital nutrients.  Their role in weight loss, heart health and muscle and bone growth is supported by research.

Since they are cholesterol free, seeds are an ideal garnish for salads, cereals and other foods. Alternatively, you can roast them and eat a handful. And that’s not all. These tiny foods are an especially important source of iron and protein for vegetarians.

Here are some of the most nutritious kind, you can stock up on:

#1 Pumpkin 

These large off-white seeds have a creamy yet crunchy texture. Pumpkin seeds are one of the few sources of the antioxidant pangamic acid, and are best enjoyed with mild seasoning. You can eat them roasted, or add to namkeens, to boost nutritional value.

Just make sure you don’t throw them away, when you carve a pumpkin next. Instead, dry them in the sun and toss them into a spice mixture of your choice.

#2 Sesame 

Also known as “til”, these are a great source of magnesium, that can be eaten in a variety of ways. You can roast them and add them to salads, or simply snack on a handful.

Another way to eat sesame is in stir fried vegetables, or chicken. Just make sure you store them in the fridge, to prevent rancidity.  Other popular seeds are sunflower, which impart a crunchy edge to cereals, salads and cakes.

Closeup of some watermelon seeds for background

#3 Watermelon 

We usually discard watermelon seeds, when we slice a luscious watermelon.  Despite the benefits touted by Ayurvedic medicine, these tiny kernels have been ignored till now. Only recently has modern medicine proven their nutritional benefits. Consequently, we know the seeds are rich in unsaturated fats and the amino acid arginine, both highly cardio-protective.

abstract sweet basil seeds closeup sweet basil seeds

#4 Sweet Basil 

Commonly known as ‘sabja’, these are rich in iron and vitamin K. Basil seeds can be used in place of chia seeds in recipes, and are much cheaper.  But if you are on blood thinners, doctors say you should avoid eating them.

#5 Alfa Alfa 

Also know as ‘rajko’, these are sprouted before consumption. Alfa Alfa has plenty of anti-oxidants and other compounds that regulate blood pressure and sugar levels.

#6 Hemp 

Hemp is a great source of fibre, good fats and Vitamin E, and therefore has anti-inflammatory properties. The seeds contain several essential amino acids and protein, and are ideally sprinkled on salads, smoothies and breads. But bear in mind that hemp need to be stored in a cool place, to prevent rancidity.

#7 Chia 

Though Chia is a naturally gluten-free seed native to Mexico, today this enjoys global popularity.  Chia gets its name from an equivalent local word, which means oily or fatty. Owing to its high protein, healthy fatty acid, fibre, antioxidant, and protein content, chia is considered a superfood.

#8 Flax 

Well known for it’s nutritious value, flax boasts of  800 times the amount of lignan, than any other food. Notably, lignans are plant estrogens which lower your triglyceride levels, and promote heart health. You can grind flax into a powder, sprinkle on your cereal or yoghurt, or munch on a roasted handful.