The Importance of Eating Seeds

We don’t consider seeds on a regular basis even though they are vital to our survival.  They are readily available in grocery stores and small markets across most countries, cities and towns. We should get to know them! I’m fascinated by seeds and thought I’d share a little information to help you appreciate the multitude of seeds and their health benefits.

These days, it’s common to hear people touting the benefits of seeds for our health. Clearly they are referring to edible seeds vs. non-edible seeds. Typically when we think of edible seeds, pumpkin or chia seeds come to mind. However, there are many other seeds we don’t think about that are great for us and packed full of vitamins.

What Are Seeds?

  • Most plants bear fruit.  Specifically, most flowering plants bear fruit.  Their fruit are foods like tomatoes or bananas,  or even the hard shells of nuts.
  • Within these fruit are seeds. Bananas have seeds, tomatoes have seeds, and within the hard shells of nuts are seeds such as cashews and acorns.
  • We live and survive off of seeds, whether we realize it or not. Seeds are what spread and create the next generation of plants and keep us healthy.
  • Seeds are extremely nutrient dense, rich in protein, vitamin B, minerals, fat and dietary fiber.

Where Do the Seeds We Eat Come From?

  1. From Foods We Don’t Think About Regularly
    • Bananas, tomatoes, strawberries have seeds that we eat and keep us healthy
    • Flax plants give us the popular flax seeds we put in smoothies
    • Sesame plants give us sesame fruits, which hold the sesame seeds we eat
    • Pumpkins give us pumpkin seeds
    • Many plants give us spice seeds, such as mustard and cardamom seeds
  1. From Nuts
    • A nut is actually the fruit of a plant – it has a hard outer shell, with one or two seeds inside (the seeds are what we eat!)
    • The shell does not separate when the fruit is ready to eat but must be practically pried off
      • ‘Nut’, botanically, means ‘the shell does not open’
    • The seeds we commonly eat from nuts: acorns, chestnuts, hazelnuts.
  1. From Drupes
    • A drupe is a fruit that contains a hard interior seed that may be discarded, such as a peach seed, or a seed that can be eaten as in almonds or walnuts
    • The seeds we commonly eat from drupes: almonds, walnuts, coconuts, pecans, cashews
  1. From Peas/ Legumes
    • Legumes are actually the pods or fruit of flowering legume plants and what we eat are eat the seeds from inside of the pods
    • They have higher protein content than most other plant foods
    • The seeds we commonly eat from legumes: beans, peas, lentils, peanuts
  1. From Grasses
    • Seeds from grasses such as wheat grass, are contained in the husk of the grass and separated by a process called threshing
    • The seeds we commonly eat from grasses: corn, oat, wheat, rice

There are so many ways that we can get more seeds into our diets.  The next time you cook or go shopping, show more plants and seeds some love and throw some in your shopping cart.

Here are a few additional resources about seeds I thought were interesting if you want to learn more:

Enjoy!
Caryn