The 2010 USDA Guidelines recommended a shift to a more plant-based diet, including seeds. Seeds are specifically cited as being a healthy source of protein. Obtaining more protein from seeds (and other plant-based sources) has been associated with reduced heart disease risk (see also here). Seeds, as well as nuts and avocadoes, are also excellent sources of healthy fat. Fat is necessary for the proper absorption of certain phytonutrients. Nuts and seeds are an important component of raw food diets.

People with diverticulosis have been advised by doctors to avoid nuts, seeds, and popcorn; the latest research, however, shows that people with diverticulosis eating these foods actually had lower rates of inflammation. Vegetarians may be at risk for a zinc deficiency (especially men since zinc is lost in semen) and seeds are an excellent source of zinc. Flax seeds have been found to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Flax seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also are associated with improved breast cancer survival.

Herbs and spices may max out at 10x the antioxidant power of nuts and seeds; snacking on nuts and seeds, however, is more convenient. Dried pomegranate seeds are one of the healthiest snacks you could ever find. Growing your own broccoli sprouts from broccoli seeds yields cups of fresh produce grown right at home for pennies a day.

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
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