Seeds and nuts can be great sources of plant-based protein and valuable nutrients, especially for people eating mostly raw foods and vegetarian diets, but some components of seeds and nuts boost immunity while other components can actually lower your body's resistance to viral infections.
Nuts and seeds can be great vegetarian sources of protein and nutrients, but watch out if you have a virus - nuts and seeds can encourage viral infections!
Besides providing a valuable and a vegetarian source of protein, both seeds and nuts also provide helpful essential fatty acids. These omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain functioning and encourage normal skin, hair and bone growth. They also regulate metabolism, maintain reproductive function, and can prevent depression.
When you first begin eating foods like those recommended in the Body Ecology Diet, you might have a hard timedigesting most nuts and seeds. This most likely is because your "digestive fire" will be quite low. This problem should correct itself over time as your inner ecosystem becomes increasingly fortified with great tasting fermented foods and beverages. For some people, however, nuts and seeds will always be hard to digest -- so simply avoid them.
In our best selling book, The Body Ecology Diet, you will note that the only nuts we recommend eating as you start the diet are almonds (see How to Eat - and NOT Eat - Almonds after reading this article). Almonds are the most alkaline of the nuts.
Soaked seeds like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are acceptable on the initial stages of the Body Ecology diet, but sesame seeds are not. We're still exploring why, but we get lots of reports that they do not work well for many people. Peter D'Adamo, author of Eat Right for Your Type , found that blood types B and AB test poorly for sesame seeds.
So are nuts and seeds right for you on a typical basis? Here's where the Body Ecology Principle of Uniqueness comes into play. You are basically an experiment of one. So experiment and see what works best for you.
BUT there is another time when it is best for virtually everyone to avoid all nuts and seeds:
Viral Infections are Fed by Nuts and Seeds
When you have a virus take special care, as seeds and nuts contain high levels of the amino acid arginine. Studies show that arginine actually encourages attacks of herpes-like viruses. A diet with too much arginine enhances the growth of low-grade chronic (often unnoticed) viral infections as well as bouts of chicken pox, shingles, mononucleosis, or even just a common cold sore (herpes)!
So when you feel a virus coming on, or you suspect you are harboring low-grade chronic viral infections, be sure to avoid arginine-containing nuts and seeds.
If you are a raw foodist or vegetarian and rely on seeds and nuts for protein, Body Ecology's Vitality SuperGreen(link to can be a great plant-based alternative that provides an excellent source of complete, easily assimilated protein, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, lignans, essential fatty acids, nucleic acids, and beneficial microflora. Proteins are also in the grain-like seeds recommended on the Body Ecology diet: quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat. Our recommended fermented foods and beverages also contain proteins, and they also greatly enhance your ability to digest all proteins.
Vitality SuperGreen provides a great source of vegetarian protein alternative to nuts and seeds. It's a great morning drink or afternoon energy booster for everyone!
Since viruses do not respond to antibiotics or most other traditional treatments, a healthy diet is the best way to encourage healing. Protect your body from susceptibility to viruses by lowering your intake of arginine and increasing your intake of another basic amino acid, lysine. Lysine boosts your body's immunity and could protect you from future outbreaks.
Lysine has potent antiviral properties and actually prevents bacteria and viruses from spreading in your body! Lysine is easy to find in body ecology-friendly grains like amaranth and quinoa and is plentiful in fish.
Avoid These Sources of Arginine if You Have a Virus:
- Nuts and seeds: peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, etc.
- Soy beans (unless they are fermented, such as miso)
And Add These Foods Rich in Lysine:
- Body Ecology grain-like seeds - Amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa
- Cow's milk kefir. (Before your drink dairy kefir, make sure your inner eco-system is healed and populated with plenty of dairy loving bacteria so that you can digest casein.)
Heal your Inner Eco-System and Boost Your Immunity
Get your copy of the 'The Body Ecology Diet' and learn more about boosting your immunity!
The Body Ecology Diet (BED) provides a great way to protect your body from viral and fungal infections by cultivating a lavish inner eco-system of beneficial bacteria.
With a focus on adding fermented foods and drinks, following the Body Ecology program populates your intestines with probiotics that aid digestion, increase nutrient absorption and boost your immunity, making you less susceptible to infections of all kinds.
Keep in mind that until your inner ecosystem heals, most nuts are too acid-forming to consume (see ourrecent article on blood acidity).
Nuts and seeds can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, but if you have a virus, decreasing your intake of the amino acid arginine and increasing your intake of lysine can be a great way to help your body heal. With proper nutrition, you'll lower your likelihood of suffering from common viruses.
The Body Ecology Diet has great low-arginine solutions for everyone, including people following vegetarian and raw food diets. It also contains delicious recipes with key foods mentioned in this article, like Heidi's Onion Pie with amaranth crust!