|Q. I’ve heard that seeds are nutritious. Is this true?
A. Yes, very much so, though the amount you can afford to eat calorie-wise may limit the amount of nutrients you get. Seeds are the embryo or “egg” from the fruits of plants and contain the food supply for the next-generation of the plant. As such, they are a gold mine of nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, squash and poppy seeds are commonly used in baked goods like rolls, bagels, muffins and cakes. But they can also be eaten plain, as a snack.
Though seeds generally pack a hefty serving of fat, it’s mostly the heart-healthy unsaturated kind. Like nuts, which are also high in unsaturated fat, seeds are a good source of fat-soluble vitamin E. (See <a target="main" href=”vitamin.htm”>feature story) Sunflower seeds, especially, are brimming with vitamin E.
Unhulled sesame seeds with their bran intact, are rich in calcium and fiber. Unfortunately, the calcium is present as calcium oxalate, and oxalate reduces the body’s absorption of calcium. Poppy seeds are rich in calcium as well, though the form and absorbabilty have yet to be determined.
When eating seeds, whether in salads, baked goods or as a snack, remember that the calories add up fast. But in small amounts, they can add flavor, texture, fiber and nutrients to your diet.
Here’s a comparison of the important nutrients in seeds:
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