Edible seeds are an important part of a raw food diet mainly for the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) they contain. EFA’s are polyunsaturated fats that the human body cannot produce, so they must be obtained from our diets. There are two groups of EFA’s; they are omega 3’s and omega 6’s. The omega 3 fatty acids are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The omega 6 essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA), gamalinolenic acid (GLA), and arachidonic acid (AA).
These EFA’s found in seeds balance and regulate energy production, blood circulation, nerve function, inflammation, hormone regulation, recovery from exercise, immune function, cell growth, and much more. A diet high in animal products and processed foods is high in omega 6’s which compete for the same metabolizing enzymes needed by the omega 3’s for assimilation. Most people’s diets don’t contain enough omega 3’s which upsets the important balance required for good health. When omega 6’s are consumed in excess they use up the metabolizing enzymes making them unavailable for omega 3 metabolism.
It’s common for people to consume over 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3, and this type of imbalance is associated with significant health issues including heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimers, diabetes, mood disorders, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, and obesity. Experts vary in their opinions of the ideal ratio with guidelines ranging anywhere from omega 6 to omega 3 of 4:1 to 1:2. When consuming a well balanced raw food diet including seeds, it should be easy to fall within these guidelines.
Research shows that eating seeds and the EFA’s they contain can elevate mood, improve brain function and development, and build a healthy circulatory system to name just a few. I think you can see now how including edible seeds in your daily diet can go a long way in improving your health.
Like nuts, which are actually large seeds, edible seeds are best if soaked before eating, except hemp which does not have enzyme inhibitors. Edible seeds can be put into smoothies, ground and sprinkled over salads, mixed in raw recipes, or blended with citrus juice to make a super healthy salad dressing. These are just a few of the ways to make seeds and their magical EFA’s part of your daily diet.
Chia seeds – good omega 3 to omega 6 ratio at slightly more 6 than 3, ALA, anti-inflammatory, laxative, soothing for the digestive tract calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, protein, fiber, different varieties vary quite a bit in nutritional make up
Flax seeds (aka linseed) – high in lignans, a phytoestrogen that have been called natural cancer-protective compounds, anti-inflammatory, laxative, soothing for the digestive tract, 3 to 1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, lecithin, all 8 essential amino acids, protein, fiber, grind just before use. One heaping tablespoon provides 2 grams of ALA, which meets your daily omega 3 fatty acid requirement.
Hemp seeds -3 to 1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3, ALA, GLA, great nutritional profile, protein, fiber
Pumpkin seeds – great source of zinc, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, omega 6, protein, fiber
Sesame seeds - folate, B1, B2, B3, B6, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, omega 6, linoleic acid, protein, fiber
Sunflower seeds – rich in potassium, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, calcium, omega 6, LA, protein, fiber
This is the end of the list of edible seeds. To see other lists of raw foods go to the links below.