What Are The Health Benefits Of Seeds And Why Should You Eat Them, Even For Weight Loss

It should not come as a great surprise that the health benefits of seeds are very significant because seeds are the part of a plant that contain all the ingredients needed to bring forth new life. Find out why the health benefits of seeds are essential to your diet, why they are good for healthy weight loss and why they have been used for centuries to treat specific ailments. Discover which seeds are the stars of the seed world and why seeds should be a part of your life?

Some of the most common seeds that are acclaimed for their health benefits are chia seeds, flax seeds (Linseeds), hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Together these seeds are simply packed full of goodness.

The health benefits of seeds include providing you with the nutrition you need for a healthy diet and aiding healthy weight loss as well as treatment for some illnesses. They contain many of the essential fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture such as omega 3 and 6, they are a great source of vitamins and they contain protein. The health benefits of seeds include combating free radicals which are linked to cancer and other illnesses, they can help reduce high blood pressure and reduce bad forms of cholesterol, plus a lot more besides.

So what are specific the health benefits of seeds?

Chia seed – has hydrating properties and also aids healthy weight loss

The health benefits of seeds were known to the Aztecs in South America who used chia as an energy food. Chia seed is hydrophilic which means that the seeds soak up water so they act as a method of hydrating your body over a longer period, making them great for athletes. The fact that they absorb water also causes them to have impacts on your digestive processes including slowing down the speed at which your body converts carbohydrates into simple sugar and the speeds at which calories are absorbed. That means they can contribute to healthy weight loss both by making you feel fuller and reducing your calorie absorption. They may also be helpful for diabetics due to the slower rate that carbohydrates are converted into sugar. On top of this they are packed full of nutrients including Omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids.

Just like other seeds, chia seeds can be sprinkled onto salads or mixed with cereals or added to yogurt or included in baked foods.

Flax seed (linseed) – good for digestive health and treating constipation

Flax is undergoing a rebirth as one of the top health foods so it cannot be ignored when talking about the health benefits of seeds. Golden flax is often considered the best as it more readily releases the nutrients within. All the benefits are too numerous to mention here. The key one is digestive and colon health with flax seed being a good way to deal with constipation. The best way to take flax is by grinding the seeds, in a coffee grinder and sprinkling the power on cereals or salads or putting it into cakes. Some specialists say that there is no value in eating flax seeds whole, but I disagree, I add them whole to muesli and I know from experience that they work like that to combat constipation. I have concluded that if you chew your food they will be ground down by your teeth and the nutrients released. I you aim is healthy weight loss they will help to keep food moving through your digestive system which helps prevent your body storing food as fat.

Hemp seed – good for preventing stiff muscles

It is said that one tablespoon of hemp seeds per day gives you all the essential fatty acids that you need including Omega-3 and 6. Hemp is also good for people who exercise hard because it helps to eliminate lactic acid which accumulates in your muscles after exercise causing stiffness. Hemp seed contributes to brain function, so it can help prevent depression and irritability. It is known to reduce inflammation and it is good for hair health and moisturizing your skin. In terms of the health benefits of seeds, hemp must be included as a seed that will help promote your general health and well-being.

The pressed hemp seed produces high quality polyunsaturated oil that can be eaten by itself or blended into other food products or used in cosmetics and body products. The seed can be hulled and “hemp nut” can be used in baking and other recipes and NO it will not make you high!

Pumpkin seeds – good for male prostrate problems

Pumpkin seeds have a high concentration of zinc and are therefore believed to be valuable in the treatment and prevention of male prostrate problems. They help prevent damage to the prostrate from male hormones. They can also be used to treat kidney problems and remove parasites such as worms from the intestines. They are believed to be valuable in preventing depression although not strong enough to treat serious depression.

As with most foods if you want to get the full health benefits of seeds or use them to promote healthy weight loss, you need to eat them raw – raw pumpkin seeds are the most beneficial so sprinkle them on your salad or add them to soup just before serving. Roasted pumpkin seeds are popular but not as healthy because roasting destroys the beneficial omega fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil can be mixed with other oils to make salad dressings. Make sure you buy a good quality oil as some are highly diluted with other oils.

Sesame seeds – help reduce high blood pressure

Like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds are high in vitamin E, they also contain sesamin and sesamolin both of which are thought to help combat and prevent high blood pressure and work against liver damage. The oil is believed to be beneficial as a skin product to prevent the formation of wrinkles.

Sesame is probably the most versatile of foods, beside being eaten in seed form it is used to make tahini (sesame butter) and halva and is widely used in baking bread and making biscuits. The seeds can be eaten raw as they are or added to other foods. Tahini is used to make humus.

Sunflower seeds – combat free radicals and promote heart health

Different varieties of sunflower seeds are grown for oil and for the seeds, both types are native to North and South America. Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E which is an antioxidant and one of the vitamins needed to combat free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to causing cancer. Vitamin E also has anti inflammatory properties which means it can help reduce inflammation related to for example asthma and rheumatoid arthritis and it helps reduce the frequency of hot flushes during the menopause. Sunflower seeds also contain Phytosterols, which are substances found in plants that are believed to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood and improve the immune system.

Sunflower seeds are very tasty and digestible raw and like other seeds are great additions to salads and cereal dishes and good for baking so they should be on the menu if you want to get the full health benefits of seeds in your diet.

I hope I have convinced you of the health benefits of seeds and how common seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds (linseeds), hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are all really important to your diet. If you start finding ways of including seeds in your diet and you eat them on a daily basis you will soon feel and see the health benefits of seeds for yourself.

Top Health Benefits of Black Pepper

The health benefits of black pepper (Piper nigrum) are substantial and still being investigated. The peppercorn is native to tropical rain forests in Indonesia, and comes from the peppercorn plant. The peppercorn is actually a berry but is often categorized as a spice due to the way it is used in cooking. This plant, a perennial climbing vine, will require the use of a pole to reach its full growth potential. It will not produce fruit for as long as four years after planting. Often peppercorns are harvested when they are nearly matured and ready to turn red in color. White peppercorns, the result of berries that have fully ripened, which are then soaked to remove the dark, outer shell, revealing a white pepper seed on the inside. Not only has pepper become a popular spice that sits next to salt on the table, but there are many black pepper health benefits that can be utilized.

Health Benefits
Black peppers digestive benefits are caused by stimulating taste buds which increases the amount of hydrochloric acid that the stomach produces. This additional secretion improves digestion of food once it reaches the stomach. This is one of the most notable attributes of black pepper. This increase in acid is effective in decreasing the amount of intestinal gas, reducing the embarrassing side effect of passing gas along with preventing constipation and heartburn. Because of its ability to eliminate the bacteria in the stomach, black pepper is also thought of as an antibacterial agent.

Black pepper, rich in antioxidants, effectively controls blood pressure and heart rate with its high level of potassium. Pepper is also high in iron which is essential in the production of healthy blood cells. Peppercorns contain vitamin A and vitamin C and are also rich in other antioxidants such as carotenes which work to help the body fight cancers and other diseases.

The health benefits are thought to extend to it being a cancer fighting agent. Piperine, found in peppercorns, effectively counteracts the development of cancer. This particular chemical works by interfering with the mechanism in cancer cells that allows tumors to progress in size. When combined, the anti-cancer health benefits of turmeric and black pepper are multiplied greatly.

Medical Uses
Piperine, a phytochemical, increases metabolism which effectively increases the calories that the body can burn helping with weight loss. This phytochemical also increases the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients such as vitamin B and beta-carotene.

Black pepper benefits extend to its effective prevention of the retention of water. Pepper in the diet promotes the eradication of extra fluids by sweating and urination.

Quitting an unhealthy cigarette habit is possible with the help of black pepper. Studies have shown that the use of cigarette replacement products that emit a vapor containing black pepper effectively reduces cravings and assist the user in being able to quit smoking.

Creating a tea made of black pepper, when used in combination with other foods can create a home remedy for coughs. Popular remedies that are said to work include both the black pepper tea or sprinkling black pepper on a half of a lemon and sucking on it to calm a cough.

Black Pepper Essential Oil
For external use, black pepper oil serves many benefits to your health. When added to carrier oil such as jojoba, it can be rubbed into sore, tired muscles to relax and soothe them. The warming effect from the pepper can work to relieve the pain from arthritis. It also soothes cramps, sprains and pulled muscles. For acne prone skin it works well to reduce and eliminate breakouts. Black pepper essential oil contains both vitamin A and K making it ideal for skin that it is subject to developing fine lines or wrinkles. It also improves circulation and helps to effectively reduce visible cellulite.

Risks of Black Pepper
Although the increased secretion of hydrochloric acid provides digestion benefits for most people, in some in can cause the opposite effect, resulting in the loss of potassium. For some, this increased production may also result in gastric bleeding.

Some studies have indicated that piperine may be a carcinogen although other studies have indicated that it is not. In some instances, this chemical has had an adverse effect on sperm and may interfere with the process of reproduction. Large amounts of black pepper when used during pregnancy have been shown to cause miscarriages in some cases.

Medications including lithium may interact badly with black or white pepper and use should be avoided by patients on these medications. Patients that are taking certain medications that are broken down by the liver can see an increase in the side effects of these drugs when combined with large amounts of pepper.

Buying Black Pepper and Proper Storage
To ensure the purest pepper, it is often recommended to choose peppercorns versus the previously ground pepper. When making a purchase, choose peppercorns that are round, heavy and look compact.

Store peppercorns at room temperature. Once it has been milled, or ground into powder, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If powdered pepper has been purchased, for best results store it in the same manner.

Cooking Uses
One of the most versatile spices, pepper is used in nearly every aspect of cooking. To ensure the best flavor and fragrance, grind at the last minute, just as you are preparing the recipe. It should also be added at the last minute to prevent the loss of the flavorful and fragrant essential oils.

Pepper can be used in a number of recipes and dishes including marinades, pickle recipes, soups and barbecue sauces. Pepper may often be found as an ingredient in sweet foods including pies and fruit cakes to add a spicy element to the recipe.

As with any food product, there are some risks or side effects that everyone should be aware of. Unless a person has an allergy to pepper, there is only a small risk of any problems. Essentially the benefits of pepper greatly outweigh the risks for the majority of the population and most people can enjoy the health benefits of black pepper without any risk or concerns to their health.