Here’s a surprise: cereal grains are technically seeds,
and most nuts are too. Even beans are seeds. But the little edible wonders this
article refers to are the smallest, and tasty edible kind. According to Paolo
Sabelli and Brian Larkins the combination of edible seeds, (grains,
legumes, and nuts), make up the majority of the human diet. They all contain a generous amount of
protein, carbs, mostly coming in the form of fiber, and of course fat, mostly
of the Omega 6 variety. Popular ones include sunflower, flax, pumpkin, hemp,
sesame, and the new and popular chia. And, as with nuts, they are popular as
oils, and as with nuts, you really shouldn’t cook with them due to their low smoke
point which can create an oxidative and rancid party in your bloodstream. I
prefer to pour the oil over a salad or use as the base of a healthy salad
*REMEMBER: Seeds, like nuts, are
snacks, not staples. A handful is nice, a cup, not so nice. Lets take a look at the more popular varieties.
Hemp seeds contain more Omega 3’s than the rest, have all 9
essential amino acids, are lower carb, and have substantial protein, boo yah!
Their taste is nutty, and the ground seeds are a component of Structure lean
fuel protein powder. The strong and durable fibers make great clothing, become
a component of plastics, jewelry, paper, and even building material. The seeds
taste great and offer awesome nutrition, and the leaf? ‘I didn’t inhale....
honest!’ What a great plant!
Sesame seeds are one of the oldest seeds around dating as
far back as 5000 yrs. They have a great nutty flavor and appear in many Asian
dishes either tossed into the stir-fry or as a condiment shaken on top. As a
paste called Tahini, it teams with garbanzo beans and becomes hummus. Love the
oil on mixed greens.
Sunflower seeds…birds love them, squirrels in my back yard
fight over them, and they give you something to do at a baseball game.
Technically we eat the fruit or kernel within the whole seeds, but who’s being
picky! Try sprinkling a few of them on a salad.
Flax seeds have
been a popular ground-up option for some time now. They have some omega 3’s,
but lower than hemp and chia. Mark Sisson points out the controversy,
(dichotomy?), that they have been linked to prostate cancer, but then again
protect you from prostate cancer. As with any ‘study’ you have to find out
who’s doing the studies, why, who’s funding it, who they’re using as test
subjects, and what else they’re eating that may cause the cancer, right? It is
also called Linseed oil is pressed form the seeds, which is used for things
like wood stain and varnish. Not the tastiest oil on the planet. I say ground
flax seeds taste great and add another nice nutty-taste option to some dishes.
native to Mexico and Guatemala, are like the new kid on the block even though
Mayans and Aztecs were using them over 700 years ago. They are technically
classified as a ‘pseudo-cereal’ along with Flax and Quinoa.
Lower in protein
than the other guys, higher in fiber, and have some Omega 3’s, but don’t count
on it as a replacement for a power Omega 3 like salmon.
(Pepitas), can be eaten raw or roasted from your fresh Halloween carving. The
ones in the already shelled come in raw and roasted. Always try buying dry
roasted nuts to avoid the oils they sometimes roast them in. Once again, high
in O6, so don’t gorge on them.
A Note on the Omega 3-Omega 6 Ratio
like nuts are snacks, not meals. A few are great but too many raise your Omega
6 to Omega 3 ration way out of proportion. Consumption of their oil products and other vegetable oils like Canola or Soybean will too.
The human body functions optimally
on a ratio close to a 1:1 like our ancestors did before the advent of cereal grain crops. But, the current human diet is as high as
20:1 or even 50:1 because of high grain, bean, oil, pastry, and fried food consumption. A high Omega 6 count is a definite marker for Systemic Inflammation and comes with serious health consequences.
Omega 3’s are your friend.
Grind up your own seeds such as flax,
chia, and hemp in a coffee grinder. Cheaper and fresher
Try roasting raw seeds yourself at a
Raw nuts are best since nuts are often
heated at high temps which can oxidize the fats in the nut
Soaking, drying, and dehydrating is also a great