What’s the deal? Seeds of all names seem to be “sprouting” in health media today.
We’re all familiar with chia, flax, pumpkin, pignoli, cashews.. wait! What?!
Yup! It’s true – pine nuts (aka pignoli) are technically seeds.
Firstly let’s talk Chia. Yes, the ever popular ch-ch-ch-chia pet sat on my counter in my yesteryears too! Who woulda’ thunk it? That these little gems would be so overwhelmingly nutritive?
Hopefully, by now you know not to consume them dry. Soak ’em and the wondrous benefits of omega 3’s disperse into the soaking liquid for you to benefit from. Consume them dry and impaired inhalation and possible suffocation occurs as a result of their rapid swelling upon contact with saliva.
Flax seeds must be broken or smashed for their nutritive benefit to be released.
If you’re feeling lazy, however, don’t crack ’em and enjoy the benefits of the fibre they contain.
Pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) are more alkaline in nature than any of its friendly seed neighbours. They’re nutrient dense, packing a wallop of omega 3 and are so versatile, they’re virtually paired with anything – including dark chocolate and even vino.
Pine nuts – these little suckers have still managed to hide behind the dreaded “nut reputation”. They’re technically not a nut since they’re found in the cones of the pine tree which gives them more notoriety as a seed. Hand up! I nominate myself for an official name change please to PineSeeds? Throw them into your salads, make a fun pesto, grind them into your fave dips like guacamole or hummus and the list goes on. Pine nuts contain a wealth of antioxidants, including vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and lutein. Antioxidants are crucial to your health as they are believed to help control how fast you age by combating free radicals, which are at the heart of age-related deterioration.
Cashews are quite possibly one my most fave of all nuts. Whoops! I mean seed. Again – technically. Sweet and addictive, the cashew is one of the “onlies” that contains all of the necessary amino acids to constitute it as a protein. Check! Cashew butter, after school snacks and satisfying the munchies all fit the bill for this wondrous gift of nature.
Did you know that for every single cashew picked, each grows out of the bottom of a funnily shaped apple looking thing that cannot be ingested? The toxic fruit produces a black coating as the cashew grows. This is to naturally ward off pests like insects and birds who are enticed by it.
Once picked, the cashew goes through a cleaning process which removes the black sticky substance. Note that when purchasing, organic is ideal for this reason and if you eat with your eyes closed, open them for this indulgence, since if seeing some black residue accidentally left over, toss it aside. Perhaps some allergic reactions as a result of eating these seeds isn’t quite a nut allergy at all – hmmmm.
The legend goes that the black substance is also host to the same properties of poison ivy. So, logic would say, ingest it and inflammation occurs.
Although some of you may be ashamed to know some nuts – you can thank me later for introducing you to a new team that aren’t! Seeds! There’s always an alternative when it comes to healthy delicious eating! You’re welcome! And remember, setting it straight is what I love to do! Fine print: Just don’t go experimental all at once with any of the above if nut allergies are an issue.
By Shana Daniel RHN
Registered Holistic Nutritionist