Health Dangers of Eating Seeds

Health Dangers of Eating Seeds

Health Dangers of Eating Seeds

There are health dangers of eating seeds. In the first article of this series, Health Dangers of a Plant-Based Diet, we discovered how plants have motivations for their survival, not human health. And to protect themselves, plants use phytochecmicals to deter predators from eating them. These toxins fight back against fungi, insects, and animal predators – including us humans.

Seed Survival and Successhealth dangers of eating seeds

Some plant structures are more vital than others to the success of their species. Seeds are such a structure. It’s why there are health dangers of eating seeds. Because seeds are so important plants take extra measures to ensure they get protected, spread, and have the best chance of growing and producing their own seeds.

What are seeds?

Of all plant parts, seeds tend to be the most tricky. Grasses, trees, and legumes are plants and have seeds that we call different things. Grains are the seeds of grasses which include wheat, corn, oats, and rice. Walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans are all nuts, which are the seeds of trees. And legumes like peas, lentils, soybeans, and chickpeas have seeds called beans.

But they are all just seeds. And it’s not worth getting caught up in trying to determine whether a peanut or a cashew is a nut or legume. Just know they are seeds.

Your morning bowl of oats topped with nuts and chia seeds – all seeds.

These seeds are the plant’s babies. Ensuring the babies survival and success is of paramount importance to the plant. Contrary to popular belief, the nutrition in seeds is intended for that growing baby plant, not for human health and nutrition. And trying to steal that nutrition for ourselves often has dire consequences.

Coming soon in this series we are going to look into each of these seeds in more depth:

But for now it’s important to understand 2 broad categories of seeds – Naked Seeds and Protected Seeds – as this will give us insight into how smart plants are, their motivations, and what, if any, seeds we can eat.

Health Dangers of Eating Seeds: Naked vs Protected

Naked Seeds

Some seeds are covered in a protective hull which acts as a shelter. Others are naked. Naked seeds are exposed babies. They grow on grasses and vines and have to use internal deterrents to prevent predators from eating them. Parent plants drop these seeds right where they grow, so that in the winter, when the parent plant dies off, the offspring can sprout right there in the same area.
naked seeds

Although these naked seeds seem bare and exposed on the outside, on the inside they are potent fighters armed with chemical warfare agents.

A “healthy” spinach salad topped with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and cucumbers has an arsenal of weapons. Some weapons like tannins are bitter. Others like phytates interfere with nutrient absorption aiming to malnourish the predator. Similarly, enzyme inhibitors disrupt a predator’s food processing. From the plant’s perspective, if they are going to get eaten, they are at least going to cause negative consequences for the predator to discourage their consumption in the future.

Protected Seeds

Unlike plants with naked seeds which want to drop their seeds nearby, some plants want their seeds to be spread further away so that the offspring doesn’t have to compete for space and sunlight with the parent plant.

To accomplish this, plants enclose their offspring in a protective hull. This housing allows a predator to eat the baby offspring without killing it. The seed can survive through the predator’s GI tract completely intact. The predator can then eliminate the seed in it’s dung, a natural fertilizer for the baby seed, in a distant location.

Spreading Seed

It’s fascinating to think how clever these plants are.

We think we are using apple trees, when in reality they are using us.

An apple tree entices us and other animals like a gorillas visually with big red colorful fruit.protected seed

Further, they load it with sugar, appealing to our taste buds. And not just any sugar, but with fructose. This special sugar doesn’t stimulate leptin which is a hormone that signals to us animals that we are full when we’ve eaten enough. Since fructose doesn’t turn this hormone “on” we keep on eating more and more apples.

This was beneficial for the gorilla that needs to store up fat for the winter. Since the fruit was only available in season they would pad their fat stores with the overconsumption of seasonal fruit. Incidentally, gorillas only gain weight during the season when fruit is ripe. While this is helpful for apes in the wild, it’s not so helpful for us domesticated humans with no famine in sight.

In addition, plants make these fruits easy to pick and even lace them with sugar alcohols that have a natural laxative effect. This speeds the seed through the digestive tract, further improving its survival chances.

Green means “Stop” Red means “Go”

The tree uses us. It attracts us with color, and it makes addicts of us with sugar. All so that we animals can spread its seed.

It’s crazy to think how the apple tree controls our behavior.

While the seeds and it’s protective coating are still developing, the apple is green and bitter. Green doesn’t attract us like red does. It blends in. And we want a sweet sugar loaded apple, not a bitter, sour one.

Plus, during this unripe period, the apple has the highest toxic load. The gorilla loves apples but is deterred from picking it until the apple is ripe.

Gorillas, like humans and all fruit eating animals, have color vision.

Once the protective covering of the seed has fully developed, the apple turns red, increases its sugar content and decreases its toxic load. The red, sweet, and less toxic apple is snatched up by us animals who will do the trees bidding, and spread it seed.

We’ll cover fruit more in depth in a subsequent article, but of all plant parts, fruit may well be humans best option. It’s the only part of the plant designed to be eaten. Unfortunately, the fruit today is quite different from the fruit of yesteryear. We’ve bred them for size and sugar, we’ve engineered them for survival of seasons and sprays. We pick them unripe, treat them with chemicals, then transport them across the world.

What was once a seasonal treat that helped pack on pounds transformed into a daily “health” food, loaded with sugar and an enhanced toxic load.

Heath Dangers of Eating Seeds: Antinutrients

The salad I mentioned earlier is loaded with antinutrients. These are plant compounds that interfere with our ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, can damage our intestinal lining, and trigger inflammatory responses in the body. Antinutrients are often responsible for food sensitivities, allergies, digestive ailments, and autoimmune diseases. They can cause symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, and asthma.

Of all the various plant parts, the seeds are often the most likely to hurt human health. We are going to cover plant antinutrients throughout this series. And seeds are often the most potent of plant part.

Eating Plant Seeds

Under most circumstances, I don’t recommend it.

But if you must, there are a few ways to mitigate the plant attack.

  1. Soak
  2. Sprout
  3. Ferment

While I think eating seed-bearing fruits can be the best option for humans, because of modern day manipulation I’d exercise caution with even these. Most of us don’t need to store up for a winter famine. But choosing local, in season, ripe, organic fruits is the best bet.

Simply not eating plant-based foods is the even safer bet.

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