Seeds in the Vegetarian Diet

Along with nuts, seeds also play an important role in the vegetarian diet.

These nutritional powerhouses are great sources of antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and protein, and they also provide a number of the B vitamins and most of the major and trace minerals.

You have a variety of seeds to choose from, and all of them are available from NutsOnline.

Healthy Snacks with NutsOnline!

Flax Seeds – particularly high in copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous, as well as the B vitamin thiamin.  They are also a uniquely vegetarian source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish and fish oil supplements). In order to reap the flax seeds’ benefits, they must be ground before you eat them. You can purchase them ground or you can grind them yourself with a nut or seed grinder, or using a food processor. Stir them into your oatmeal or breakfast cereal, rice pilaf, or substitute them for some flour when baking (no more than a half-cup, though). Click below to order flaxseed meal:
Flaxseed Meal

Poppy Seeds – These seeds add a slightly bitter crunch and are commonly found baked on top of rolls or bagels, or in muffins and pound cakes. They are a good source of calcium and manganese, but have also been implicated time and again in false positives for marijuana in urine drug tests (if you’ve ever had to take one of those tests, you know they always ask if you’ve eaten poppy seeds recently). During my time as a health care professional subject to random urine tests, I just avoided eating them altogether. There are plenty of other sources of calcium and manganese out there that won’t trip up a urine drug test.

Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) – particularly high in iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. You can scoop out the seeds from your Halloween pumpkin, rinse and dry, then season and roast them in their white shells and eat them whole…or you can buy them shelled, either raw or roasted (and salted or unsalted). The whole seeds tend to be better for snacking, while the shelled version can be added to pilafs, salads, soups, or anything that would benefit from a little bit of crunch. Try making dark chocolate pepita bark with a good dose of cayenne pepper for an unusual Mexican-inspired treat. Or use them as a spread for Spicy Pumpkin-Currant Bread.

Sesame Seeds – particularly high in calcium, copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium. Without sesame seeds there would be no hummus, because without the tahini you’ve just got garbanzo bean dip. Tahini gives it that unique, slightly bitter edge. Sesame seeds are often used in a decorative manner on top of rolls and buns, but, like flax seeds, they really need to be ground before you eat them – otherwise they’ll just pass on through your digestive system without being broken down into all those nutrients you want.

Sunflower Seeds – particularly high in copper, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, and vitamin E. They make a great snack, whether shelled or whole, and add flavor and crunch to baked goods, hot or cold breakfast cereals, pilafs, and salads.

A final word regarding salted seeds: Roasted/salted seeds are high in sodium. If you eat a diet that is generally low in sodium, salted seeds in moderation are not going to suddenly create a number of health problems for you. However, if you prefer not to add any additional sodium to your diet, most seeds are available raw or roasted/unsalted as well.

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