Seeds have been the staple of the human diet for millions of years. Humans and other animals who can gather and store their food have an advantage over those who can only graze. Our ancestors found that the easiest, most abundant foods to gather, carry and store are seeds.
Seeds come in many sizes and shapes, but they share the same basic design: a tiny germ, or baby plant; an energy supply of carbohydrates or fat to fuel the first stages of growth; and a protective outer skin, husk or shell. Everything necessary to start a new life is packaged in each seed, so for humans and other animals, seeds are nutritional powerhouses. They have the vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fatty acids we need, as well as fiber to provide bulk and calories to give us energy.
Grains, beans and nuts have nourished the human race throughout our evolution. Only in our recent history have we adopted the unfortunate practice of stripping seeds of most of their nutritional value and consuming only the energy sources (the starch and the fat). North Americans eat huge amounts of refined flours and vegetable oils. A diet that includes lots of refined grains and extracted oils is likely to be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Eat lots of seeds the way nature provides them: whole grains, such as wheat, barley, corn, rye and oats; legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils; and other seeds and nuts — preferably whole and prepared by you so you know nothing has been removed. Some seeds, such as flaxseeds, are particularly rich sources of omega-3’s, but you don’t need to seek them out. An unhealthy diet sprinkled with a tablespoon of flaxseeds is still an unhealthy diet. If you eat lots of different whole seeds and make them the staple of your diet, you will get plenty of omega-3’s, vitamins and minerals.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com