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A seedy way to health

A handful of seeds on your cereal makes a simple healthy addition - but which ones are best for your condition?

OSTEOPOROSIS: SESAME

Chia seeds: Rich in omega-3 fats and magnesium, these seeds (from a South American plant) also contain a sticky type of soluble fibre that slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Credit: sxc.hu

Just one heaped tablespoon of sesame seeds supplies one-eighth of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of bone-strengthening calcium, making them a richer source than milk. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which help keep cholesterol levels in check.

DIABETES: CHIA

Rich in omega-3 fats and magnesium, these seeds (from a South American plant) also contain a sticky type of soluble fibre that slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream, so stabilising blood glucose.

PROSTATE TROUBLE: PUMPKIN

Pumpkin seeds are rich in beta-sitosterol, a compound that in high doses improves urinary symptoms and flow in men with benign prostate disease, according to a review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

HEART DISEASE: SUNFLOWER

One tablespoon of sunflower seeds supplies around 50 percent of the RDA of vitamin E, which staves off the chemical changes to cholesterol that cause it to get “stuck” in artery walls. Gram for gram, sunflower seeds also have almost twice the concentration of potassium as bananas, which is known to help lower blood pressure.

ARTHRITIS: FLAX

Flax seeds, or linseeds, have four times more omega-3 than omega-6 essential fats - a ratio that helps reduce inflammation and could help ease conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. They also supply zinc, an antioxidant that protects joints from damage by free radicals. - Daily Mail

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