Seeds can provide a combination of phytonutrients and antioxidants which may reduce several risk factors for chronic disease.

The 2010 USDA Guidelines recommended a shift to a more plant-based diet, including seeds. Seeds, as well as nuts and avocados, are excellent sources of healthier fats. The fat from whole nuts and seeds can help with the absorption of certain phytonutrients and is likely better for cardiovascular risk factors than fat from olive oil. Seeds are a source of arginine, which may help boost fat burning; magnesium, an essential mineral that may reduce sudden cardiac death risk; and tryptophan, which may help in dealing with social anxiety disorder. People with diverticulosis have been advised by doctors to avoid nuts, seeds, and popcorn. However, the latest research shows diverticulosis sufferers eating these foods actually had lower rates of inflammation.

Women who consume high-phytate foods, including seeds, appear to have better bone density and are at lower risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Seeds are also a healthy source of protein.

Nuts and seeds, especially sesame seeds, are a source of phytosterols, which may help reduce excess cholesterol and may inhibit the growth of several types of tumor cells including breast cancer cells.

Dried pomegranate seeds are very high in antioxidants. And, growing your own broccoli sprouts from broccoli seeds yields cups of fresh produce for just pennies.

Regular flax seed intake offers different potential health benefits. A tablespoon of ground flax seeds, combined with other foods in a smoothie, can help provide for a healthy breakfast. Flax seed intake may treat diabetes, cardiovascular disease, menstrual breast pain, sensitive skin, joint pain, and reduce depression risk. Flax seeds, fenugreek seeds, and mustard seeds are potential sources of melatonin. Due to their lignan content, flax seeds are associated with a risk reduction in both breast cancer and prostate cancer. Flax seed may be a potential dietary addition associated with improved breast cancer survival. And, flax seeds could be a potential complementary therapy for prostate cancer.

Soaking and cooking poppy seeds can lower their morphine and codeine levels, but those undergoing drug testing may want to avoid them altogether.

Topic summary contributed by Randy.