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Healthiest Seeds to Include in your Diet

Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a disciplined and active lifestyle definitely shows in the way you look and feel. That is why, with growing awareness, today many people are opting to consume seeds for better health. Now, whether you plan to include 'seeds for weight loss' or 'seeds for hair and skin', or for any other reason, incorporating seeds into your diet means a step in the right direction.

Through this article we will tell you about the five healthiest types of seeds you can eat, along with their nutritional content, health benefits and the ways to include them in your regular diet.

5 Best seeds to include in your diet

1. Flaxseeds (or Linseeds)

Mildly nutty flavored and crunchy flaxseeds are probably the healthiest seeds to consume. They are available in two variants - golden and brown. Fortunately, both are equally nutritious. 


Flaxseeds Nutrition

Flaxseeds are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids. They also contain many important micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, thiamine and copper. However, it is their very healthy component called 'lignan', offering antioxidant properties and plant estrogen that makes them truly special.

Flaxseeds Health Benefits

For being a super seed, the health benefits of flaxseeds are many. Studies indicate that flaxseeds improve cardiovascular health. They help reduce high blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol. They also help maintain weight, lower blood sugar levels (good for diabetes patients) and reduce the risk of certain cancers (like breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer).

How to Consume Flaxseeds

These tiny seeds can be consumed in their whole as well as ground form. However, to reap their full benefits, try using ground flaxseeds more often. Ground flaxseeds are easier to digest than the whole ones, as their outer covering is tough to break. Also, you do not need to consume much. Just 1 tablespoon (or 7 gm) of flaxseeds is enough for a day.

Flaxseeds are super versatile and can be easily added to your diet. For example, flaxseeds make a wonderful addition to oatmeal, granola, smoothies, pancake batter, yogurt, soups and salad dressings. They also add an amazing flavor to baked goods like cakes, cookies, muffins and breads. Ground flaxseeds, when mixed with little water, also act as an egg substitute.

2. Chia Seeds

Another plant-based food that is an excellent source of dietary fiber and omega-3 & 6 fats are chia seeds. Also known as Mexican chia or Salba chia, these nutrient-dense seeds are a great addition to a healthy diet.

Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds Nutrition

As per USDA, 1 oz (28.35 gm) of chia seeds offer 138 Kcal of energy and various other nutrients. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain a good amount of fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese and vitamins. Chia seeds offer powerful antioxidant content like caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol and quercetin. Besides these, they also provide traces of minerals like copper, zinc and potassium.

Chia Seeds Health Benefits

The many nutrients in chia seeds help provide significant health benefits to the user. For example, the antioxidants may help prevent cell damage, fight inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers. Chia seeds also contain important nutrients like calcium, phosphorous and magnesium that are known to support bone health. The high protein and fiber content in these seeds may benefit people who are trying to lose weight.

How to Consume Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are highly versatile. At home, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of whole or ground chia seeds into your breakfast cereals, yogurt, smoothies, juices, homemade energy bars and salad dressings. You can also mix them with water and use it for thickening / making soups, puddings, sauces, stews, marinades and baked goodies like cakes, muffins, brownies, etc. They are also often used as an egg substitute. 

3. Sesame Seeds

Sesame plants or crops are native to the tropical regions of Asia, Africa and South America. They are said to be one of the oldest oilseed crops known to humans and are mainly cultivated for their seeds and oil (extracted from the seeds). These edible seeds are used in various cuisines around the world. They are also available in many colors - white (off-white), black, brown and reddish.

In India, sesame seeds are known as 'til' or 'til ke beej'.

Sesame Seeds 

Sesame Seeds Nutrition

Sesame seeds have a high protein and healthy fat content. These tiny, nutty flavored seeds are also a good source of fiber, antioxidants and various Vitamin B complexes. Sesame seeds contain many essential minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and copper.

Sesame Seeds Health Benefits

Sesame seeds contain plant lignans (they have high antioxidant content), Vitamin E and phytosterols that help lower cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure and may also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. Likewise, the presence of calcium, manganese and magnesium is known to aid bone health and proper blood vessel function.

Sesame seeds and oil have earned a special role in Ayurveda. Sesame oil in particular is considered as an ideal massage oil for infants and children. Similarly, cold-pressed sesame oil is nourishing and widely known for its skin and hair growth benefits. Because of its natural antibacterial properties, it is also used topically to heal sunburns and chronic skin diseases.

How to Consume Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds can be eaten raw, roasted and even baked. They are usually sprinkled on salads and are a common topping on breads, bagels and burger buns. In the Middle East, roasted sesame seeds are used in making tahini (the basic component of hummus and Tahini based sauces). They can also be used in smoothies, cookie dough and making sesame milk. Many Asian-inspired stir-fry dishes contain sesame seeds as an essential ingredient. 

In India, sesame seeds are used in making a variety of dishes - both sweet and savory. They are added in parathas and naans, in doughs to make crunchy snacks like chaklis, murukkus, seedai, etc., preparing chutneys as well as a garnish for several savory delicacies. They are also used in preparing special sweets like 'til ke ladoos' and 'chikkis' during the festival of Makara Sankranti.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds (also referred to as 'pepitas') are flat, light green-colored, edible seeds from the pumpkin fruit. Often discarded by many, these oval-shaped seeds in fact store a bundle of nutrients.
Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition

Pumpkin seeds contain a good number of proteins, healthy fats (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and dietary fiber. They also contain many vitamins & minerals, like magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, etc. However, it is the quantity of 'zinc', which makes pumpkin seeds truly valuable.

Pumpkin Seeds Health Benefits

Zinc is the most valuable mineral present in pumpkin seeds. Zinc, along with Vitamin E, is known to boost immunity and improve healthy metabolism. These seeds also have a lot of antioxidants that help in reducing inflammation. Along with these, pumpkin seeds are known to promote good digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, lower blood cholesterol, help you sleep better and also offer protection against certain cancers.

How to Consume Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are quite easy to incorporate into your diet. They are usually eaten as a snack in different variations, i.e., raw, roasted (they taste better this way), salted and even with a bit of pepper and paprika sprinkled on them. 

Besides snacking on pumpkin seeds, you can add them to smoothies, yogurt, salads, fruit bowls, granola and healthy trail mix. You can also grind these seeds and add them to soups, homemade sauces and curries. Many people also use pumpkin seeds in baking products like breads, cakes, muffins, etc. 

5. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower plants are majorly cultivated for two purposes - for manufacturing oil (from black oilseed sunflower seeds) and for eating purposes (non-oilseed sunflower seeds). The edible sunflower seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and are typically enclosed in a tougher black and white stripped covering called hull. Since these hulls are not easy to digest, normally un-hulled seeds (without shell) are consumed.

Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower Seeds Nutrition

Sunflower seeds contain several useful nutrients that are essential for the human body. They are rich in healthy fats, proteins and antioxidants. They are also an excellent source of fiber; Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin), folate and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, zinc, manganese, potassium, magnesium and selenium.

Sunflower Seeds Health Benefits

Sunflower seeds contain proteins, several vitamins and minerals, that help in boosting energy levels, supporting immunity, reducing inflammation and fighting infections. Studies have also found that consumption of sunflower seeds plays an important role in lowering cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. All these nutrients and effects in turn, protect the body from various cardiovascular diseases. 

How to Consume Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are usually sold in the market with their shell. Hence, while eating them, you need to crack them between your teeth and eat the tender, whitish seed inside. Spit out the broken shell, as it shouldn't be consumed.

Edible sunflower seeds can be eaten raw as well as roasted. You can eat them as a healthy snack (as is) or by incorporating them into a variety of dishes. Sprinkling them on salads and stir-fry vegetables and adding them to trail mix, granola / nutrition bars and morning oatmeal are the easiest ways to consume them. You can also add them to baked goods like breads and muffins or sprinkle them in smoothies and yogurts.


Is it OK to eat seeds daily?

Yes. It is perfectly okay to consume seeds everyday - provided you eat them in moderation.

How many seeds can you eat in a day?

Because seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, you do not have to consume many of them in a day. Though the exact serving size depends on the types of seeds you plan to eat - as a general practice aim to include 1 to maximum 2 tablespoons of seeds daily. Don't overdo this.

Why are seeds important for daily diet?

Despite being small in size, seeds are nutrient-rich. They contain an ample amount of dietary fiber and are a rich source of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Apart from offering many nutrients, these edible seeds also help in losing weight while giving you sufficient energy to sustain the entire day. From offering good nourishment to the blood cells, supporting a healthy heart to regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, these healthy seeds offer many nutritional benefits to the body. Hence, it's not surprising to know why seeds are gaining a lot of attention from nutritionists, weight-watchers and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Which are the best seeds for weight loss? 

If you are planning to lose those extra inches, then include seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, basil seeds (also called sabja seeds) and hemp seeds in your diet. These are ideal superfoods for weight loss, as they are low in carbohydrates but rich in dietary fiber and proteins.

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