The Benefits of Different Seeds for Women With PCOS

hemp seeds on a red plate

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Are seeds a staple in your diet? If not, they should be. Consumption of seeds is on the rise thanks in part to the recent popularity of chia and hemp seeds. And with good reason: seeds are a nutrient powerhouse. Packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals, seeds are a PCOS-friendly superfood.

Seeds contain very little carbohydrates, so they don’t spike up insulin levels. Best of all, they are safe for people with food allergies. Whether you like to eat them on their own or mixed in with other foods, here are 5 nutritious seeds to add to your diet now.

Sunflower Seeds

Don’t just limit sunflower seeds to the salad bar. Sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium and selenium. They’re also rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that also works as an antioxidant.

Sunflower seeds offer cardioprotective benefits due to its rich content of cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. Mix sunflower seeds to your favorite tuna or chicken salad recipe, sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals or use fine ground sunflower seeds to coat your meats or fish with in place of flour.

Pumpkin Seeds

Carving pumpkins this Halloween? Don’t toss out the seeds! Pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) provides many PCOS fighting nutrients including magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc.

A deficiency of zinc is linked to androgenic alopecia (hair loss). Pumpkin seeds provide a good source of monounsaturated fats, protein, B-vitamins, and vitamin A. They also contain beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol which works to reduce cholesterol, boost the immune system and may even help with androgenic alopecia by preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Pumpkin seeds make a great snack or can be tossed into a salad, yogurt parfait, vegetables or oatmeal. To make your own pumpkin seeds at home, rinse and dry them and toast with a little extra virgin olive oil and your favorite spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg or spice them up with cayenne pepper.

Sesame Seeds

Besides being rich in calcium, magnesium, and zinc, sesame seeds are a complete protein. Sesame seeds may help lower cholesterol due to their high content of the plant sterols sesamin and sesamolin.

Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. Use sesame seeds to jazz up a stir-fry or toast them and use as a breading for fish or chicken. These nutty yet delicate seeds are also a great ingredient to use in salad dressings.

Chia Seeds

A great thing about chia seeds is that they are so filling. Just one tablespoon of these nutty seeds provides 5 grams of fiber. When mixed with water, chia seeds form a gel-like texture that’s good to use in smoothies, soups, oatmeal and even as a substitute for eggs in many baked goods. Chia seeds are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and b-vitamins, and provide a good dose of omega-3 fats.

Hemp Seeds

Already eating a variety of seeds and are looking for something a little different? Give hemp seeds a try! These nutty and crunchy seeds are packed with protein, omega-3 fats, and fiber.

Considered a complete protein, hemp seeds provide 5 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons, making them a welcome addition to vegan and vegetarian diets. Eat them on their own or mix into oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies, or toss into a salad or pilaf—the possibilities are endless.

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