Seeds 101

How healthy are seeds during pregnancy and lactation

Big things often come in small packages, as the well-known saying goes. And this holds especially true for seeds. They may be small, but they’re a powerhouse of essential nutrients, fibre, and even healthy fats. These are considered helpful for pregnant women and lactating mothers too, as the minerals and vitamins can get passed on to the baby. Some seeds have antimicrobial properties and can also enhance the immunity of the baby.

Seeds provide a wide range of polyunsaturated fats and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well, apart from minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, and copper. They are especially important for vegetarians, as seeds are a good source of proteins. You will find many different types of seeds for lactating mothers and pregnant ladies, which can be included in your daily diet. Let’s take a closer look.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are known for their rich concentration of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain proteins, omega-6 fatty acids, thiamine, and other minerals. The polyphenol antioxidants in them are another reason to include chia seeds in your diet. These can also increase ALA levels in the blood and thus reduce inflammation. Another important chia seed benefit is it's ability to reduce blood sugar levels.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are widely used in many Indian snacks as well as Middle-Eastern pastes like tahini. They are loaded with fibre, proteins, monounsaturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, manganese, and copper. These seeds are also known as the best source of lignans. Including sesame seeds in your diet can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and even reduce the symptoms of disorders like arthritis.

Basil seeds

Basil seeds are a wonderful source of minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium, and they’re packed with fibre and also rich in plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids. Basil seeds can keep you satiated in between meals and control blood sugar too, as they are loaded with fibre. They can be used in their whole form or powdered form to make smoothies, soups, puddings, bread, and even pasta.


Flaxseeds are also called linseeds. These small, brown seeds are a powerful source of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, along with protein, thiamine, magnesium, and manganese. Flaxseeds can be roasted and eaten whole or ground into a powder. They also increase antioxidant levels in the blood, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels.  

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds may be yellow, black or even brown. These seeds are a rich source of proteins and an antioxidant mineral known as selenium. They also meet the daily requirements of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, and zinc. It's best to add these seeds while cooking dishes.  

Sunflower seeds

Once a sunflower dries, the seeds in it's centre should find their way to your plate. These seeds are rich in folate and vitamin E. They also contain omega-6 fats, protein, fibre, and other minerals. Sunflower seeds help reduce inflammation and lower your cholesterol levels. They can be eaten as is or they can be processed into other forms. For example, the seeds can be used to make sunflower oil, which can be used for cooking or making salad dressings.

Pumpkin seeds

These are widely consumed as pumpkin seeds for pregnant women are a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and phosphorus. The seeds are also rich in proteins, phytosterols, fibre, magnesium, and manganese. Including them in your daily diet can greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer and relieve symptoms of urinary disorders.

The bottom line

Seeds, as you have just read, are a powerhouse of energy and nutrition. The best part about them is their versatility. Seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack or incorporated into dishes like salads, soups, yoghurts, breads, etc. If you are expecting or lactating, just mix all kinds of seeds together, and store them in a bottle. Every morning, you can add a spoonful of these seeds to your breakfast cereal or oats. When you’re expecting or have a breastfed baby, incorporating these seeds in your diet will also ensure that your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs.