Seeds may be tiny, but they are packed with nutrients: protein, fibre, iron, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. They should be a regular part of your diet.
It is little wonder that seeds are so nutritionally good for us - they are, in essence, an embryonic plant, enclosed in a protective outer covering (the seed coat), usually with some stored food. To nurture a new plant, a seed - almost by definition - needs to be packed with nutrition.
Seed guide from Naturally Good Food
Raw or toasted
The general advice is to eat your seeds without cooking them: in their raw state. But if you are looking for a slightly different, healthy snack (instead of, say, a packet of crisps), then you might like to try some lightly toasted sunflower seeds. These also benefit from the addition of a little soy sauce.
With some of the smaller seeds, such as sesame and linseed, they may be better ground and added to a smoothie, or used as a topping for your breakfast cereal - otherwise, they might pass straight through!
As anyone who has looked at our site can tell, we like to offer choice and as wide a variety of products as we can. In our seed section you will find :
- Alfalfa seeds (Lucerne) - alfalfa, which is related to the pea, superficially resembles clover when growing, with clusters of small purple flowers, followed by fruits, spiralled in two to three turns, containing 10-20 seeds. Alfalfa is native to warmer temperate climates. In the US, much of the alfalfa grown is genetically modified, but our organic alfalfa seeds are not. Alfalfa is possibly the easiest seed to sprout, giving a bumper crop of mild, nutty-tasting sprouts. It's particularly good for those who exercise, as it is a complete protein and supports the regeneration of muscle tissue after exertion. The sprouted seed contains good levels of fibre, protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin (B3), calcium and iron. As with many spouted seeds, these sprouts are best eaten raw, as they start to shrivel and lose their crunch when cooked.
- Broccoli - broccoli seeds take just 4-5 days to grow and can be grown right through the year. Ten grams of seed will produce up to 100g of sprouts.
- Chia - chia seeds have become the 'must have' seed for those who exercise. A 'new world' seed cultivated by the Aztecs, chia seeds are still used in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and Guatemala - sometimes ground, or whole, in nutritious drinks and as a food source. Chia, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is grown commercially, with the seeds boasting an extractable yield of about 25–30%. A rich source of nutrients and antioxidants, these seeds are particularly popular with vegetarians and vegans for their nutritional properties.
- Hemp - hempseeds are high in fibre and provide an excellent source of protein. About 44% of the weight of hempseed is edible oil, with a total of about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs). Hempseed's amino acid profile is comparable to other sources of protein, such as meat, milk, eggs and soy.
- Linseed (flax) - flaxseed comes in two basic varieties: brown and yellow (or golden: also known as golden linseed). Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds contain a large amount of a nutritious polyunsaturated oil, which is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which reduce the risk of coronary disease and cancer. The fatty acids contained in flaxseeds also raise the levels of good cholesterol, while lowering high blood pressure. Flaxseeds contain an omega-6 fatty acid known as linoleic acid, which is considered to be an important component of human health. In addition, these seeds are high in dietary fibre, which promotes good digestion. The small seeds have a crunchy surface and therefore need some chewing. At Naturally Good Food we sell Prewetts' ground linseed: for maximum benefit, we suggest you grind this before adding to a smoothie or sprinkling on top of your morning cereal.
- Omega four mixed seeds - a crunchy, healthy mix of specially selected, unseasoned, organic seeds. This famous combination of seeds is designed by Infinity Foods to provide colour, texture and taste. Perfect for adding to cereals and muesli and for sprinkling over salads.
- Poppy - we often see poppy seeds sprinkled on the top of bread rolls. These seeds contain some niacin and folate, and are a good source of minerals. Just 1 teaspoon provides measurable amounts of calcium, iron and zinc. Every gram of seeds has about 33 micrograms of morphine and 14 micrograms of codeine. That’s not enough to cause any ill effects from their use in baked goods, but is enough to show up as a false positive result in drug tests.
- Pumpkin - a one-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly one-half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Magnesium helps with a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate: the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and good bowel function. There is also some indication that pumpkin consumption is related to increased libido. Pumpkin seeds have a high zinc content, which is associated with a healthy amount of male testosterone.
- Sesame - sesame seeds are an important source of phytonutrients, omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fibre. Sesame oil was one of the first seed oils used by man. Toasted sesame oil has a unique taste, giving a distinctive, authentic flavour to Asian dishes. Click here to view this oil.
- Sprouting mix - a great mix of beans and seeds to sprout.
- Sunflower - at Naturally Good Food our sunflower seeds come from either the USA or China. Our high sales of this product mean that we have to ensure good, diverse sources of supply. Sunflower seeds are a fine source of iron and unsaturated fatty acids. To intensify their taste, lightly toast them in a dry pan and add to salads, homemade bread, to a sandwich, to muesli, to a yogurt or to baked potatoes.
In our Herbs and Spices section, we also have seeds - 'the spice of life'! Here you will find:
- Caraway - caraway seeds are not really a seed, but a fruit, and are a member of the carrot family. The caraway fruit has a strong, pungent, aniseed-like flavour and is often teamed up with rye bread. Caraway is a key ingredient in many cultures (in the UK, we have our traditional caraway seed cake). For those who like to know just where their food comes from, we note that just under 30% of the world production of caraway comes from Finland, where the long summer nights offer ideal growing conditions.
- Celery - celery seeds have a strong celery taste and are best used sparingly, unless you are making a dish such as celery soup. Celery seeds can be added to bread or used as a sprinkle - and you can also try celery tea. Celery seed has been used as medicine for thousands of years in many parts of the world, but is not particularly well-known in the West. Indian Ayurvedic medicine uses celery seed to treat colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.
- Mustard seeds
In our seed selection you will find both organic and non-organic seed options, in lots of different sizes, designed for customers ranging from the home cook to professional chefs.