Healthy seeds are often recommended as part of a detox diet but do you know why?
When people first hear about eating seeds they often remark that seeds are for the birds. It’s true, birds, squirrels and and other animals rely on seeds for survival during harsh winters but that is because they are so rich in vital nutrients.
Healthy seeds are full of fiber, amino acids, minerals and essential fats, the nutrients that are needed by the detox system. They are best eaten in their natural state, that is raw, un-roasted and unsalted and even better when they have been soaked and sprouted.
Traditionally seeds have always been soaked and partially sprouted before they were eaten. This is because seeds and nuts contain enzyme inhibitors which can interfere with digestion if eaten in excess and phytic acid which can bind to minerals preventing them being absorbed.
Soaking for 3 – 12 hours helps to neutralize these substances and starts the sprouting process even if you are not going to sprout them fully.
Sprouts are very alkalizing and the precious nutrients in seeds are increased after soaking and sprouting by as much as 400%.
Here are some healthy seeds to add to your detox diet.
In China the pumpkin is called the Emperor of the Sun which symbolizes fruitfulness. Pumpkin seeds are rich in amino acids, zinc, magnesium, and omega 3 essential fatty acids.
The green seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that help to keep levels of cholesterol stable, boost the immune system and fight cancer.
Pumpkin seeds are often recommended for prostate health as they contain curcubitacins, substances that prevent testosterone being converted into dihydrotestosterone which can cause enlargement of the prostate gland.
Sunflower seeds are rich in the B complex vitamins, Vitamin E, beta- carotene, the minerals magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, chromium, manganese, selenium, phytosterols, amino acids and both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Vitamin E and beta-carotene are antioxidants which help neutralize free radicals that are produced as part of the detox process. Selenium and copper are needed by your body for it’s own antioxidant system.
Sunflower seeds could help protect the heart and and may help to boost the immune system.
Flax seeds, also known as linseeds, are a good source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, fiber, lignans, manganese and magnesium.
Flax seeds, are probably one of the better known seeds for colon cleansing because of their particular effect on the bowels. The seeds are high in soluble fiber which makes them ideal for relieving constipation. 1 or 2 tablespoons of flax seeds either whole or freshly ground are often used daily to keep the bowels moving during detox.
When the liver processes toxins, one way they are removed from the body is through the bile it produces which carries the toxins through the digestive system and out of the body in the stools.
If your bowels slow down during detox which they can do if you are following a very restrictive diet, the toxins can get reabsorbed into the body and end up having to go through the detox process all over again. This wastes both energy and vital detox nutrients.
The seeds are rich in lignans, the phytoestrogens found in other seeds, legumes and grains that are thought to have protective effects against breast and prostate cancer.
These tiny healthy seeds are regarded in the East as symbols of immortality. They are packed with protein, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and calcium, all nutrients needed for detoxification. Manganese & copper are needed for the body’s own antioxidant system.
They also contain sesamin and sesmolin, lignans which help the body to burn fat and to lower cholesterol. Sesamin heps to protect the liver from oxidative damage which can happen during the detox process.
Tahini is made from sesame seeds and is one of the ingredients of hummus the Middle Eastern chickpea spread that is often used a a dip for raw vegetables.
These tiny round seeds have been eaten for centuries and have kept people alive in times of famine. They are considered to be one of the most nutritious superfoods around.
Hemp seeds have a mild and slightly nutty flavor and are noted for their ideal balance of omega 3 to omega 6 oils.They are rich in Vitamin E and trace minerals and are good for skin conditions like eczema & psoriasis.
One of the best ways of getting them into your diet is to add them to smoothies. Add a handful to your favorite detox smoothie recipe or sprinkle them on your salad.
The hemp plant is very similar to the marijuana plant because they are of the same family. Hemp seeds are not allowed to be grown in the USA because of the concern that the seeds contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the ingredient that gives people a “high” from smoking marijuana. The research shows that you cannot get high from eating hemp products!
This list of healthy seeds would not be complete without mentioning Chia Seeds. They have recently been making a comeback after being hailed as the newest superfood. Chia seeds have in fact been grown and used by humans for centuries.
Chia seeds contain the highest known plant source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, protein and fiber. These tiny mild tasting seeds are so highly packed with antioxidants that they don’t deteriorate as quickly as flax seeds do.
The other advantage they have over flax seeds is that you don’t have to grind them up to obtain their nutrients when you eat them. Chia seeds contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc, many of the nutrients needed for effective detox.
As Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber you can use them for bowel cleansing in place of flax seeds. They may cause more gas and discomfort than flax seeds though because of their higher fiber content. It’s best to start on a teaspoonful and gradually increase the dose until you find the right level.
To get the best from using any of these healthy seeds as part of a detox diet they should be bought very fresh and stored in a cool dark place or refrigerator to prevent the essential fats from becoming rancid. They are a very concentrated source of nutrients so you only need small amounts of them.
Want some healthy seed recipes? Healthy seed recipes for your detox diet.