Seeds offer nutritious snack alternative

LOS ANGELES "All nuts are seeds, and seeds are the spark of life," said Patsy Flanigan, owner of Flanigan Farms Natural Foods.

Flanigan knows her seed and nut nutrition.

She says sunflower seeds, pepitas or pumpkin and sesame seeds are some of the best additions to your meals, not only for poly- and monounsaturated fat, but also for an amino acid known as arginine, which benefits reproductive health.

"Arginine is an amino acid that has been shown to be very beneficial, particularly for men, but also for women, and it's found in sesame, pepitas and sunflower seeds as well," Flanigan said.

The back package of sesame seeds reads like the "who's who" of nutrition.

Calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, iron, thiamine, niacin, magnesium and copper are all packed into tiny little seeds that can be toasted to top breads and salads, and also make a wonderful crust on baked fish.

Flanigan assembled a combination of oats, seeds, nuts and honey for a wonderful granola treat, which, per serving, offers plenty of fiber, protein, heart-healthy fat and surprisingly little sugar in a three-quarter-cup serving.

All of the seeds are relatively high in calories, at about 150 calories an ounce. Utilizing a tablespoon here and there is one of the best ways to sneak in the fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals they offer, along with great taste.

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