Author: admin

Super seeds: These nutritious superfoods should be consumed daily, says wellness consultant Naini Setalvad

I am a strong believer of making the best use of all parts of a plant to achieve good health. And by that, I mean eating the seeds too! Indian cuisine has an old history of including seeds of various fruits, vegetable plants and even oil seeds in cooking. You can simply add these wonderful seeds in your diet to rejuvenate yourselves—the best way to eat these seeds is to dry-roast them and snack on this roasted seed mix throughout the day! But first, let us understand the health benefits of seeds and how their daily consumption helps your body.


“Wherever flaxseeds become a regular food item among the people, there will be better health,” said Mahatma Gandhi. When I came across this quote, I started reading more about flaxseed and realised what a superb seed it is! Also, I am so thankful that it is commonly available and reasonably priced too. When my 88 year-old mother feels a cold and cough coming on, I instantly boil 2 tablespoons of flaxseed in water, strain it and make her drink it—her condition improves immediately. Flaxseed is the richest vegetarian source of omega 3 and the most powerful antioxidant that aids longevity. It relieves joint pains and arthritis pains and prevents premature aging. Grind these tiny seeds and have 1 tsp of the powder twice a day, daily, for improved health.

Sesame seeds

As calcium levels tend to go haywire with age, I recommend both the black and white sesame seeds. All varieties of sesame seeds are rich in calcium and have a slight nutty flavour. Sesame seeds contain phytosterols, a group of naturally occurring compounds, which help reduce cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease the risk of certain cancers if present in your diet in sufficient amounts. Add sesame seeds to the flour while making rotis and breads. Sesame seeds go well with potatoes and when tossed in vegetables. Make a tahini dip with sesame seeds or use it as a spread to enhance the flavours of your food.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds work as a true aphrodisiac; daily inclusion of these seeds in your diet helps prevent sexual problems. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc that helps build seminal fluid and increase sperm count in silver men. In silver women, they help build hormones, activate sexual organs and increase sexual fluid secretion.

Fennel seeds

I always insist my silver clients have fennel seeds after a meal as they help cut down sweet cravings. Fresh fennel seeds are easily available straight from the plant during the winter months. They are also advisable for silvers who want to quit smoking; just munch on them and see the difference. Health-wise, fennel seeds have phenolic compounds that help prevent, retard and reverse cancer, arthritis and heart-related diseases.

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds, also called rai, is a very good source of omega 3 and helps prevent joint pains. I, therefore, ensure I include these seeds in a variety of food preparations for my ageing mother. Mustard seeds cannot be eaten raw so they have to be included in the tempering stage during cooking. Also, in its oil form, sarson ka tel is used widely in Indian cooking. Make sure you cook your food in mustard oil, especially during winters.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of good quality fats that provide warmth in the winter months. They contain a wealth of important nutrients and provide a variety of health benefits. Sunflower seeds are a good source of Vitamin E and selenium and help battle osteoarthritis, colon cancer, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. I find it easiest to grind these seeds and sprinkle the powder over my soups, in flour for rotis and sometimes in my dals when I want to change the flavour.

Melon seeds

Melon seeds, also called magaztari na beej or ‘seeds for the brain’ in Gujarati, are found in all varieties of melons. They are full of good quality fats that are essential for the brain. They also provide your body with multiple vitamins and minerals, giving you renewed energy. Melon seeds are also good for bone health. You cannot have these seeds straight from the fruit—the best way to eat them is to dry-roast them and eat them as a snack or use them as topping for salads.

Poppy seeds

Poppy seeds or khus khus is an excellent natural relaxant and provides your body with good quality fat. They contain magnesium, a mineral directly linked with sleep, and are therefore ideal for people suffering from sleep disorders or insomnia. Poppy seeds improve quality, duration and peacefulness of sleep. Also, adding them in your cooking enhances the taste and flavour of food.

Setalvad is an obesity and lifestyle disease consultant who offers diet counselling at Health for You, a wellness clinic in Mumbai, as well as online. Visit for more details or write to if you have any queries for her

Photo: iStock
January 2019