Seeds are potent foods and a delicious, inexpensive way to get lots nutrients. They are cheaper and lower in fat than nuts. They are packed with protein and beneficial fats. They can be eaten a variety of ways, but should always be soaked overnight and thoroughly rinsed in order to get rid of enzyme inhibitors. After that, you can sprout them, dehydrate them to make crackers, toss them in salads, sprinkle them over vegetables, and also dry them in a dehydrator and then grind them to make a raw “parmesan” sprinkle.
The more I researched, the more convinced I became that
Lynn Osburn calls
Entire books have been written about the wonders of flax seeds. Flax has been used in Canada in treatment of breast cancer. It has been proven in scientific studies to reduce weight, reduce the risk of cancer, help diabetics, improve brain and mood disorders, reduce asthma, reduce arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, keep the heart healthy, and more.
If you are a raw fooder, I don’t need to tell you how wonderful flax seeds are. They are very common in raw food crackers, breads, and gourmet dishes. They are one of the richest foods in omega 3s. Sometimes raw fooders jump in directly from the standard American diet in which the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is often 6 to 1 (instead of 1:1 or 2:1 that is the standard recommendation). These people suddenly experience a brain awakening like no other, and rapid weight loss, just because of these delicious, inexpensive seeds!
With all of the glamor attributed to flax, imagine my surprise, when researching for this book, to discover that flax can be toxic! Flax contains antagonistic factors of the vitamin B group. Studies done by Toug, Chen and Thompson (1998) as well as Rickard and Thompson (1998) demonstrate that flax contains toxins that have made medical doctors advise against its consumption for pregnant and lactating women! Human consumption of flax has even been banned in France and limited in Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium!
The toxin in flax is cyanogenic glycosides (also found in lima beans, sweet potatoes, yams, and bamboo shoots), which metabolize into yet another substance called thiocyanate (SCN), which over time, can suppress the thyroid’s ability to take up sufficient iodine. This means over-consumption of flax, in addition to being toxic, can actually indirectly cause us to gain weight by suppressing the thyroid, which regulates the metabolism!
Ann Louise Gittleman advises taking no more than three or four tablespoons of flax per day. She claims that baking or toasting the seeds deactivates the toxic cyanogenic glycosides but (if under 300 F) preserves the beneficial omega 3s (The Fat Flush Plan, p. 167). However, some researchers (Muir and Westcott, 2000) found that the free form of SDG remained stable even in baked goods.
Gittleman points out, however, that flaxseed oil is free of cyanogenic glycosides. But most flax oils, even when labeled cold pressed, are not raw. They are usually heated at 160 F.
Americans need to create a demand for Chia seeds. They were used in North America for thousands of years during the Aztec reign. The Aztecs even demanded that the nations they defeated pay them chia seeds as one of their tributes. Chia was one of the four main components of the Aztec diet (the other three being corn, beans, and amaranth).
Chia was used for flour, drinks, oil, medicine, and religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, the Spanish government decreed the elimination of everything related to pre-Columbian religions (Chia P. 77). This no doubt led to chia’s not being used for the centuries. Maybe this is why chia seeds cost about five times as much as flax seeds. Recently chia has made a come-back because of the growing awareness of the need for omega-3 fatty acids. Perhaps the cost would come down if more people demanded them.
Chia seeds are rich in omega 3s like flax, but without the toxins. Chia seeds are 50% protein, which is the highest of any seed. Most seeds contain only 20-30% protein. Besides their nutritional content, another huge advantage of chia seeds is that they stay fresh longer than flax, even when ground into flour. The Aztecs stored chia flour for months and even years before using it as food because it didn’t go rancid. So you could ground up chia seeds to use in crackers and not have to store them in the refrigerator the way you do with ground flax.
Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, containing 90 mg. per tablespoon for the unhulled seeds (about the same as 1/3 cup of milk). Calcium has been a proven weight-loss booster.
Pumpkin seeds contain Vitamin A and betacarotene. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter than helps us relax and sleep.
Sunflower seeds are rich in omega-6 essential fatty acids. They are also a good source of Vitamin E, B Vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc. Additionally, they are rich in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. Sunflower seeds were found to reduce addictive tendencies in a study by Dr. John Douglass of Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Sprouts made from broccoli seeds are one of the best things you can take to prevent cancer. Broccoli sprouts are rich in the compound glucoraphanin which is a precursor to sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been proven to boost the body’s natural cancer protection resources and help reduce the risk of malignancy. According to Dr. Mercola, “A pound of sprouts will probably make over ten pounds of sprouts which from the researchers’ calculations translates up to as much cancer protecting phytochemicals as 1000 pounds (half a ton) of broccoli!”
Become a seed activist! Petition that the government legalize the growing of