» Seeds, like nuts, have seen
their nutritional reputation rise in recent years. Gram for gram,
they’re high in calories, but also rich in healthy fat, as well as a
variety of nutrient. Many common foods that we eat – including
legumes, nuts, and grains – are actually seeds. Many seeds (such as
mustard, sesame, sunflower, safflower, rape and cotton) are grown
for their oil. Some (such as anise, poppy, and pumpkin) are used as
snacks and flavourings. Others (such as pear, orange, and apple) are
too hard and tasteless to eat, though some people do eat them. Any
seed consists of an outer layer that covers stored food, along with
the embryo of a new palnt. Besides healthy polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated fats, seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, and
fibre. They also contain phytochemicals, some of which have
cardioprotective or anticancer effects. Since they comefrom plants
they contains no cholesterol. Some seeds, notably sunflower, are
among the best sources of vitamin E. flax seeds are rich in alpha –
linolenic acid, a fat similar to the omega-3s in fish. Rape seeds, a
relative of mustard from which canola oil is made, also contain
alpha-linolenic acid, as do hemp (from the marijuana plant) seeds.
A FEW TIPS
Some uses for seeds: Eat them as Snacks. Add them to cakes and
cookies; use as topping for breads and buns; grind them for flour of
fillings. Add to salads; sprinkle on hot or cold breakfast cereals.
Seeds taste better when toasted or roasted. Toss or stir them over
medium heat in an ungreased skillet (add a few drops of oil, if you
wish), or roast them on a baking tray.
If you buy ready-to-eat seeds, avoid the salted kinds, which are
loaded with sodium.
Since they are high in oil, most seeds tend to turn rancid at room
temperature. So refrigerate or freeze them.
A SEED SAMPLER
Flaxseeds:- 59 calories and 4 grams of fat per table spoon.
The best source of heart healthy alpha-linolenic acid. Whole seeds
pass through the body undigested; buy them milled or grind them at
home in a grinder.
Sesame seeds:- 55 calories and 5 grams of fat per tablespoon.
Supply some vitamin E. iron, and Zinc. Essential part of many
cuisines. Unground seeds come unhulled (with bran and thus more
nutrients) or hulled. Ground seeds (tahini), sold in cans or jars,
can be used like p-peanut butter.
Poppy seeds:- 47 calories and 4 grams of fat per tablespoon.
Good source of calcium (127 milligrams per tablespoon) and iron.
Pumpkin seeds:- 75 calories and 6 grams of tat per
tablespoon. Good source of vitamin E, iron, magnesium potassium,
zinc, selenium, and fibre. Rich, peanut – like flavour, when
Sunflower seeds:- 8o calories and 7 grams of fat per
tablespoons of the seeds offer 14 milligrams or vitamin, E, (93% of
the daily RDA), lots of thiamin ( a E, vitamin), magnesium, iron,
zinc, folic acid, plus 3 grams of fibre. Seeds can be toasted or
roasted and ground for butter.
THE LUNGS LOVE IT
» The active ingredient in garlic – allicin
– could help prevent severe pulmonary hypertension, a dangerous
narrowing of blood vessels in the lungs. In a study from the
University of Alabama at Birmingham, rats served garlic daily (the
equivalent of two cloves for humans) didn’t develop the condition,
even when scientists tried to induce it. Credit allicin’s ability to
relax arterial tissue. The team’s next project is to learn if this
property could help control cholesterol.