4 oilseeds rich in benefits: here’s how to include them in your diet

Oilseeds, like all seeds, represent a small vital treasure chest that allows the birth of a new plant: this is why they are so rich in nutrients. Let’s find out which ones.

They are crunchy, sometimes colorful, small, but let’s not be fooled by their small size: oil seeds are a real mine of substances and beneficial properties, to be preferred over the corresponding oils because they retain them all.

The term oily indicates their high lipid content, but we are talking about unsaturated fatty acids and, therefore, better and less harmful nutritionally speaking. In particular, they contain omega 3 and omega 6, essential fatty acids for the body (which, by itself, is not able to produce them) which concretely help to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, acting as scavengers of the arteries.

Another fundamental value is that they have mineral salts and trace elements , such as magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, zinc, copper, of which we are often lacking, especially if we do not vary and expand our usual diet: a handful of oil seeds a day, all days, it allows us not to have to resort to food supplements and to do it in a healthy and tasty way.

Another important aspect is that they contain many proteins but of an entirely vegetable nature, thus reducing the risk of carrying “bad” cholesterol with them. For this reason, oilseeds are part of the usual menu of both vegetarians and vegans. They are also rich in vitamins (A, E and some of the B group) and fiber, essential for intestinal regularity and to help lower the levels of sugars and fats present in the blood. In addition, they give an efficient sense of satiety. Let’s examine some of the most used in the kitchen.

4 oil seeds rich in benefits

1. Sesame seeds

In addition to fats (50%), proteins (18%), carbohydrates (20%), sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium, providing an excellent aid for the prevention of osteoporosis and a valid alternative for those who are intolerant to lactose or eliminated it from their diet.

They contain B vitamins, folic acid, zinc which strengthens the immune system, selenium which has an antioxidant action and fights free radicals. They have an anti-hypertensive function, improve digestion and have omega 3 and omega 6.

Sesame seeds can be added to muesli for breakfast, to salads with meals, in the dressing of soup and vegetable dishes, for breading or for the preparation of tahini sauce, typically suitable to accompany falafel, or chickpea croquettes.

2. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious and have strong nutritional characteristics. Rich in minerals such as magnesium, with calming and relaxing properties, zinc, protective against the prostate, iron; they also possess omega 3 and omega 6 and have a high content of tryptophan, an amino acid that facilitates rest because it is a precursor of serotonin.

Pumpkin seeds also contain fiber and help to make the body’s pH more alkaline, thus counteracting the acidifying action of some foods (sugars, sweets, type 00 flour, meat) related to inflammatory states. They are perfect as a substitute for the usual mid-morning or afternoon snacks, or to add to salads.

3. Flax seeds

Flax seeds are an excellent ally to purify the intestine , improve the affections of the gastrointestinal tract and fight constipation, thanks to the presence of mucilages which in the body have a soothing, healing action and carry out a mechanical laxative action.

Just add a tablespoon of seeds to a glass of natural water, leave to infuse overnight and then drink it in the morning after filtering it.

Like other seeds, they contain various minerals, proteins, vitamins B1, B2, E and F, which are particularly effective in combating aging and promoting the renewal of cell membranes.

If finely ground, to obtain a flour, they can be used for poultices in case of cough and bronchial phlegm, adding 2 tablespoons to 200 mL of boiling water. Obtained a “cream”, let it cool and wrap it in gauze or a handkerchief to keep on the chest.

4. Sunflower seeds

Of all the oil seeds, sunflower seeds are the ones that can boast the least amount of calories. They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, among which folic acid and linoleic acid stand out.

Rich in vitamins A, E, B1, B2 and B6. The copper content gives a protective effect for bone health, we also find iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium. There are three variations of sunflower seeds:

  • White sunflower seeds, the richest in linoleic acid;
  • Black sunflower seeds, which have the greatest quantities of iron, zinc and fiber;
  • Striated sunflower seeds, which promote the proper functioning of the intestine.

Good as a snack, in fresh salads, in home baking of bread and in addition to pine nuts in the pesto recipe.

We find oilseeds in well-stocked supermarkets, organic food stores or herbalists. Whatever our choice, let’s not overdo it to avoid introducing too many calories: 20-30 total grams per day are enough; let’s keep them in a cool and dry place, away from light and… wide to the imagination to make a tasty and always new use.


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