All seeds include a wide range of nutrients and added vitamins and minerals. Seeds can be a great way to include extra vitamins and minerals, protein, good fats, fibre and extra texture to your food without even noticing it. I will always sprinkle seeds on top of my eggs in the morning or over my cereal or my salads for lunch just anything to get some extra fibre and nutrients into my diet.
Here are the top 10 seeds that I think everyone should include in their diet. I have included the nutrient breakdown of each seed per 100g and what key nutrients make these seeds the most valuable in our diet. I have also shown a summary table at the end with all the vitamins and minerals present within each seed also.
1. Chia Seed
Small (1.5mm) oval-shaped black or white seed. In liquid chia seeds swell, forming a gel-like outside layer. High in fibre, rich in polyunsaturated fat (omega-3 fatty acids), protein, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Also has good amounts of potassium and magnesium (Agriculture and Service 2018).
Nutrients per 100g: 2031kJ, Protein 16.5g, Fat 30.7g, Carbohydrate 42.1g, Fibre 34.4g
2. Sesame Seed
The most common sesame seed are of a white-cream shade and also black. The seeds are very small (5mm), flat oval shape with slightly pointy endings. Sesame seeds are high in copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc (Agriculture and Service 2018). They also contain two lignans; sesamin & sesamolin which have been shown to possess cholesterol-lowering properties (Liang, Chen et al. 2015).
Nutrients per 100g: 2349kJ, Protein 17.7g, Fat 30.7g, Carbohydrate 23.5g, Fibre 11.8g
3. Sunflower Seed
Sunflower seeds are light grey in colour with a distinctive shape. They are coated with a black outer shell (shown in the image, surrounding the spoon) but are generally eaten without the shell. They are a good source of copper and vitamin B1 as well as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, folate & niacin. They also contain a good amount of mono & polyunsaturated fats (FSANZ 2019).
Nutrients per 100g: 2,394kJ, Protein 20.8g, Fat 51.5g, Carbohydrate 1.6g, Fibre 27.3g
4. Flaxseed / Linseed
Flaxseeds are small, oval-shaped thin seeds with pointy ends and deep brown in colour. Great source of dietary fibre, manganese, folate and B6 (FSANZ 2019). Linseeds also contain ligands which is a type of phytoestrogen said to help relieve menopausal symptoms. Best served freshly ground to get the maximum benefits from the seed.
Nutrients per 100g: 2067kJ, Protein 15.5g, Fat 42.2g, Carbohydrate g, Fibre 8.6g
5. Poppy Seed
Poppy seeds are very small sphere-shaped black seeds which are commonly used to coat breads and biscuits. In comparison to the other seeds listed, poppy seeds have close to the greatest potassium, calcium, magnesium and selenium content per 100g (FSANZ 2019), although they would rarely be consumed in such great quantities and therefore may even out.
Nutrients per 100g: 2097kJ, Protein 15.3g, Fat 41.6g, Carbohydrate 8.6g, Fibre 19.5g
6. Hemp Seed
Hemp seeds are small 5mm seeds and have a distinct circle shape with an in-dent which is a ‘cup-like’ shape. They are cream in colour with occasional hints of green. Hemp seeds contain the same amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids as walnuts per 100g which is double that of chia seeds. They are also a great source of protein and antioxidants. Click here to check out my post on antioxidants to find out all about them. They are one of the lowest carbohydrate & fibre sources containing 2g per 100g of seeds (Hemp Foods Australia 2019).
Nutrients per 100g: 3516kJ, Protein 32.5g, Fat 14g, Carbohydrate 2g, Fibre 2g
7. Pumpkin seed / pepitas
Similar shape to a flaxseed but larger in size and thicker in width. The pumpkin seeds have a green outer shell with a lighter meat inside. Pumpkin seeds have the highest protein quantity of all the seeds, adding 30g of protein per 100g of seeds. It also contains a good source of essential fatty acids, iron, zinc and omega-3’s (FSANZ 2019).
Nutrients per 100g: 2424kJ, Protein 30.2g, Fat 49g, Carbohydrate 2.9g, Fibre 6g
8. Quinoa Seed
Raw quinoa seeds are sphere in shape and poses multi-coloured properties as shown in the image on the right. Compared with traditional cereals, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it one of the few plant sources for complete protein (Agriculture and Service 2018).
Nutrients per 100g: 1550kJ, Protein 12.9g, Fat 6.5g, Carbohydrate 58.6g, Fibre 12g
8. Coriander Seed
Coriander seeds are often dried and used in cooking- particularly soups and curries. They are small (4mm) sphere in shape and have a brown outer shell with ridges running from a point on either side. Coriander seeds, similar to the coriander plant has a potent source of vitamin C as well as a high source of niacin & dietary fibre. Click here to check out my post on Vitamin C and find out more about it. Often used in hot pots and curries this seed is a good antioxidant (FSANZ 2019).
Nutrients per 100g: 1009kJ, Protein 12.4g, Fat 17.8g, Carbohydrate 8.4g, Fibre 41.9g
10. Cumin Seed
Cumin seeds are unique in shape and physical looks. They are small, long, thin seeds dark brown in nature and contain white stripes longitudinally down the seed. Cumin seeds are said to help lower total cholesterol & LDL cholesterol. They are also often used in cooking hot foods such as curries. They are interestingly a high source of protein, vitamin B2 and monounsaturated fats (FSANZ 2019).
Nutrients per 100g: 1782kJ, Protein 17.8g, Fat 22.3g, Carbohydrate 33.7g, Fibre 10.5g