Healthy Nuts and Seeds

One of the healthiest of snacks available, is a handful of raw nuts or seeds.  They require no preparation, can easily be taken on-the-go, require no refrigeration, and unless you have a specific nut or seed allergy, anybody can eat them.  Their affordable, flavorful and are quite simply, little nutritional powerhouses.  Nuts and seeds are brimming with healthy protein, essential fatty acids, and health-wise, can assist you in everything from weight loss to disease prevention.  Below, is just a sampling of the bountiful variety of nuts and seeds available.   Keep reading, to discover just what amazing health benefits these nuts and seeds are capable of providing.

Pumpkin Seeds – A tasty, salty favorite in the seed family, pumpkin seeds, provides an amazing array of health benefits.  However, most people are unaware of the 2 very common health conditions, that pumpkin seeds are shown to provide effective pain relief from.  For those suffering from stiff, achy joints, eating just 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seeds daily, is shown to ease arthritic swelling in joints just as effectively as a prescription pain medication, AND, it does so without any unwanted side effects.  Secondly, it has been found, that people who suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, are extremely deficient in the essential mineral magnesium.  Magnesium relaxes constricted blood vessels, that are responsible for triggering a headache or migraine, and eating 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seeds daily can quickly help reduce your risk of headache and migraine occurrence, as well as minimize the severity of your symptoms if you do get one.

Sunflower Seeds – A ballpark favorite, and a much healthier ‘chew’ in place of chewing tobacco, sunflower seeds provide some powerful protection against hay fever and other common allergies.  Credit goes to high vitamin E content found in sunflower seeds, which help turn off the parts of the immune system that are responsible for triggering common allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy watery eyes.  For maximum protection against ragweed and pollen allergy symptoms, all it takes, is eating 2 ounces of these delicious seed a day.  They are taste right from the bag, as well as sprinkled onto salads and veggie dishes.

All Natural Foods

Sesame Seeds – While not exactly a popular ‘snack seed’ choice, consuming sesame seeds are proven to help protect heart health.  Sesame seeds contain unique fibers, that block a compound in the body that triggers the narrowing of blood vessels.  Additionally, these same fibers also raise the body’s level of nitric oxide, which both relaxes and widens blood vessels, giving a natural boost to circulation and helping to maintain steady blood pressure.  If you’re not sure how to use sesame seeds, they are great flavor enhancers for stir-fry, veggie dishes and salads, and can be tossed into just about any Asian cuisine dish.

Almonds – Did you know that most nuts are actually seeds?  It’s true, and one of the most popular of ‘nuts’, are almonds, and they are absolutely loaded with health benefits.  First off, dieters will rejoice in knowing that almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fat, which naturally revs your metabolism.  This helps you to burn calories faster.  And, for those who suffer from digestive complaints, regularly eating almonds helps keep harmful gut bacteria and viruses away, boosting the good bacteria-to-bad bacteria ratio in favor of the ‘good guys’.  And, for those with weakened immune systems, who seem to catch every cold, flu or ‘bug’ that comes around, almonds naturally boost immune function, helping to keep infection and illness at bay.  To get these incredible health benefits that almonds can provide, aim to eat 1 – 2 ounces of raw almonds a day.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

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