What Can Eating Seeds Do for Your Body?

Oz says: Don't let their size fool you.

Q: Pumpkin, sunflower, chia—what can eating seeds do for your body?

Oz Says: Don't let their size fool you: These little guys contain a powerful blend of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They're not all the same, though. Check out what each brings to your table.

Best for Fish Avoiders: Flax Seeds

An original "superfood," flax is brimming with fiber, cholesterol-lowering compounds called lignans, and healthy omega-3 fats (like you get from fish). Try in yogurt or a crumb coating for chicken. Buy them ground so you get all the nutrients. 1 Tbsp: 37 cal, 3 g fat, 1 g protein, 2 g carb, 2 g fiber

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Best for Fending off Diabetes: Pumpkin Seeds

Often called pepitas, these are a good source of magnesium (a tablespoon has as much as a whole banana), a mineral many people don't get enough of and one that can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 1 Tbsp: 45 cal, 4 g fat, 2.5 g protein, 1 g carb, .5 g fiber

Best for Boosting Fiber: Chia Seeds

The soluble fiber in chia seeds swells in your gut to create a sense of fullness that helps keep your hand out of the junk food jar. These seeds start out crunchy, then get jellylike in liquids like smoothies and yogurt. 1 Tbsp: 60 cal, 4.5 g fat, 3 g protein, 5 g carb, 5 g fiber

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Best for Your Grocery Bill: Sunflower Seeds

The inexpensive kernels are a stellar source of vitamin E (a tablespoon gives you an eighth of a day's needs). Look for shelled seeds labeled "raw"—they're not roasted in the oils that can load up the calories. 1 Tbsp: 51 cal, 4.5 g fat, 2 g protein, 2 g carb, 1 g fiber

Best for High-Protein Fans: Hemp Seeds

These nutty-tasting seeds, or "hearts," from the hemp plant get props for their high protein content and omega-3s. Don't confuse them with their cannabis cousin grown for marijuana—this stuff doesn't come with a high. Sprinkle into smoothies and cereals. 1 Tbsp: 57 cal, 4 g fat, 3 g protein, 1 g carb, 1 g fiber

Source: Dietitian Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D., adjunct professor, New York University

This story originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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