Seeds are rich in nutrients and have many health benefits. These small but mighty kernels are high in vitamins and minerals the body needs to function at peak performance. Seeds are extremely versatile and can be incorporated easily into a variety of different recipes.

Seeds are loaded with:

  • Iron– Which helps you make proteins that carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.
  • Calcium– Critical for bone health.
  • Magnesium– A mineral that helps with hydration and bowel and brain health — and one we often don’t have enough of.
  • Phosphorus– Important for many body functions, including repairing cells and filtering waste.
  1. Flaxseeds: Flaxseed, or flax, is the seed of the flax plant. It’s loaded with fiber, protein and potassium.

It’s also a great source of lignans. “Lignans are a polyphenol, which is a type of antioxidant. While lignans are in other plant sources, flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods”. Mixed into hot cereals, yogurts and smoothies or use as a substitute for some of the flour in a muffin or bread recipe. Flaxseeds may also help reduce blood pressure.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains a wide mix of nutrients:

  • Calories: 152
  • Fiber: 7.8 grams
  • Protein: 5.2 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 6.5 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 1.7 grams
  • Manganese: 35% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 28% of the RDI

2. Chia seeds: chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of omega-3 fats, or alpha linolenic acid. So if you’re not a big fish eater, chia seeds can help you fill the void.

Studies have shown that eating chia seeds can increase ALA in the blood. ALA is an important omega-3 fatty acid that can help reduce inflammation. Your body can convert ALA into other omega-3 fats, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are the omega-3 fats found in oily fish. However, this conversion process in the body is usually quite inefficient.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds contains:

  • Calories: 137
  • Fiber: 10.6 grams
  • Protein: 4.4 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 4.9 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 1.6 grams
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 15% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI

3. Hemp seeds: Theas are an excellent source of vegetarian protein. In fact, they contain more than 30% protein, as well as many other essential nutrients.

Hemp seeds are bigger and crunchier than flaxseeds and chia seeds. That’s why they make a good texture addition to cereal, yogurt and salad, says Patton. You can also try them sprinkled on rice or veggies. They pack in 10 grams of easily digested protein into just 2 tablespoons. Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of hemp seeds contains:

  • Calories: 155
  • Fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Protein: 8.8 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 10.7 grams
  • Magnesium: 45% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 21% of the RDI

4. Sesame seeds : Despite their tiny size, sesame seeds contain up to 20% protein and lots of fiber.

They are rich in the amino acids tryptophan and methionine. Sesame oil is a good choice for salad dressings as it is rich in linoleic and oleic acids, which have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Tahini (ground sesame seeds) is a main ingredient in hummus, and can also serve as a nut-free substitute for those with food allergies. Sprinkle sesame seeds on salads or stir-fry dishes for an added crunch.

One ounce (28 grams) of sesame seeds contains:

  • Calories: 160
  • Fiber: 3.3 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.3 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Copper: 57% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 34% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 25% of the RDI

5. Pumpkin seeds: These are a tasty snack that boasts 16% of your daily iron needs in just ¼ cup. That same ¼ cup will also get you 5 grams of fiber, which is more than most nuts.

In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of amino acids, protein, and omega-3s, as well as minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds – a Halloween favorite – are an excellent snack, but you can enjoy them year-round sprinkled on oatmeal, baked into muffins, mixed into smoothies, or added to homemade granola and energy bars.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds contains :

  • Calories: 151
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Manganese: 42% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI