A Guide to Edible Seeds

This is a guest post by Lori Popkewitz Alper. It originally appeared on her blog, Groovy Green Livin.

Edible seeds have been making their way into my smoothies, soups and chili over the past few weeks. The assortment of edible seeds that lines my kitchen cabinets continues to grow as I learn more and more about the incredible health benefits associated with these seeds. Having a Blendtec certainly helps since I’m able to ground up the seeds in a way that I wasn’t able to with my regular blender. Here’s the low down on the edible seeds in my cabinets.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds happen to be my new favorite edible seeds. Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family.

  • Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids-even more so than flax seeds and salmon.
  • They are rich in antioxidants
  • One serving size includes 18 percent of recommended daily calcium and four grams of protein
  • They’re low in cholesterol and sodium
  • There’s been talk that chia seeds aid in weight loss, but the evidence in inconclusive.
  • Chia seeds are packed with fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, iron,  niacin, and zinc

Flax seeds

Flax seeds pack a big nutritional punch.  They have a crunchy and chewy texture and a slight nutty flavor.
  • They are chock full of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and essential vitamins.
  • They are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
  • High in B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are a key force against inflammation in our bodies.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are thought to be one of the first condiments as well as one of the first plants to be used for edible oil.

  • High in omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber.
  • Sesame seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid oleic acid. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood.
  • Good source of protein.
  • 100 g of sesame contains 97 mcg of folic acid.
  • They are filled with potent anti-cancer and health promoting properties.

Pumpkin seeds

This time of year pumpkin seeds can be found everywhere. Don’t toss those seeds. Roast or toast those seeds with a little salt or spice and you’ll have a delicious snack. Pumpkin seeds are known for their many health benefits.
  • Pumpkin seeds are a great source of anti-oxidant vitamin E.
  • They are also know for being a valued as a source of the mineral zinc.
  • They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other health promoting antioxidants.
  • Pumpkin seeds have a high dose of essential minerals like copper, manganese,potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

Edible seed tip: buy organic when you can.

What other types of edible seeds do you use?

Lori is the founder of Groovy Green Livin, a green living expert, social media consultant, freelancer, borderline vegan and recovering attorney. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her three sons, chocolate lab and groovy husband.



photo credits: Nomadic Lass via photopin ccphoto credit: little blue hen via photopinccphoto credit: HealthAliciousNess via photopin cc, photo credit: katherine.a via photopinccphoto credit: justgrimes via photopin cc

  • Suzanne

    I’ve heard that flax seeds are all you say, but must be ground down to powder before one can benefit. What are your findings?

  • Guest

    Don’t forget sunflower seeds! They’re also a healthy snack and can be turned into a wonderful peanut-free spread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.romanoski.5 Pat Romanoski

    Raw pumpkin seeds are tasty on their own & are healthy for digestion. They contain high levels of Beta-sitosterol, a plant-based fat that helps to reduce cholesterol levels and relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

    Ever see that Joe Theisman commercial? You can achieve the same results with a handful of pumpkin seeds as needed.

  • Nick

    Hemp seeds are some of the best. Rich in omega 3 and a complete protein.

  • carol

    None of these seeds beats salmon and other fatty fish for providing more of the best kinds of omega-3: EPA and DHA. The amounts and kinds in vegetable sources are not substantially beneficial (due to low conversion in the body), except to the extent that they are good at lowering our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid intake (which typically is too high).

  • LLuAnn

    Quinoa (which is a seed, not a grain, as it’s sometimes mistakenly labeled), sunflower, hemp and amaranth.

  • MyHomeMantra

    Cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds are used heavily in Indian cuisine. They don’t provide omega 3 but are good source of essential minerals. Fenugreek seeds especially are high in dietary fibre and also protein. These are mainly used as spices.

  • Ava

    Hemp seed!

  • guest2

    Chia seeds are not low in cholesterol…they have no cholesterol, like any other plant food. Cholesterol is only found in animal products.

  • SunriseJules

    If you want an awesome recipe that incorporates Chia seeds, you need to try Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding http://www.sunriseseniorliving.com/blog/December-2012/Checking-Into-Chia-The-New-Seed-On-The-Block.aspx. It truly is a super-seed! I can see why its on the top of your list.

  • Robert W

    Hemp seed and quinoa