Sowing Seeds of Good Health

From the March 2007 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

In addition to being tasty and healthful, nuts and seeds are portable, making them important foods to take on along when traveling. How else can you carry half a day’s calories in a little pocket in your computer case? Nuts and seeds are tiny packages of high-calorie, high-nutrient goodness that can enable you to climb a mountain on an all-day hike without eating any of the high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food everyone else is consuming.

Seeds are particularly wonderful foods. They have all of the advantages of nuts and more. They are higher in protein than nuts and have many additional important nutrients. Each seed is a living food that, if stored under favorable conditions, can still germinate after as long as 200 or more years.

Flaxseed is more that just a terrific source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids; it also is rich in anticancer lignans. Plus, it contains mucilage that lubricates and eases bowel movements. While you can buy ground flaxseed, it is best to grind your own fresh at home. The best flaxseed grow in low cadmium soils, such as where Northern Edge brand flaxseed is grown. In studies involving women who have breast cancer, those who were given flaxseed had reduced tumor growth compared with those who were not.1

Sunflower seeds are exceedingly rich in vitamin E, selenium, iron, and other minerals. With 22 percent of calories from protein and rich in tryptophan, sunflower seeds are the healthiest way vegans can make sure they get sufficient protein. Pumpkin seeds are high in phytochemicals, calcium, and iron, and are another good source of omega-3’s.

Sesame seeds have the highest level of calcium of any food in the world. Interestingly, they not only have a highly absorbable spectrum of vitamin E, they increase the bioactivity of vitamin E in the body.2 Comparing the many forms of vitamin E in sesame seed with the vitamin E in supplements is like comparing a real horse to a toy horse. Sesamin, a sesame lignan, has beneficial effects on postmenopausal hormonal status, raises antioxidant activity in body cells, decreases the risk of breast cancer, and lowers cholesterol.3
1. Thompson LU; Chen JM; Li T; Strasser- Weippl K; Goss PE. Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2005; 11(10): 3828-35.

2. Cooney RV; Custer LJ; Okinaka L; Franke AA. Effects of dietary sesame seeds on plasma tocopherol levels. Nutr Cancer. 2001; 39(1):66-71.

3. Wu WH; Kang YP; Wang NH; Jou HJ; Wang TA. Sesame ingestion affects sex hormones, antioxidant status, and blood lipids in postmenopausal women. J Nutr. 2006; 136(5): 1270-5.
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