During Tet (Lunar New Year), you will see dried squash, watermelon and sunflower seeds and cashew nuts in just about every home. The seeds are not only delicious, but good for your health, according to herbalist Dinh Cong Bay from the Ho Chi Minh City Drug Association.
1. Hạt dưa (melon seeds)
Dried watermelon seeds have 20 to 40 percent oil. In oriental gastronomy, raw watermelon seeds are yin heavy, as they cool the body (or lower metabolism). Upon roasting, they become neutral, neither cool nor hot. Watermelon seeds also lower blood pressure and strengthen vitality.
2. Hạt Ä‘iều (cashew nuts)
Cashew nuts are a sweet and are yang heavy, or hot (they increase the metabolism). Roasted cashew nuts are good for people suffering from sore throat or depression. Cashew nuts are almost half fatty oils, but also contain water, calcium, iron and vitamins A, B1 and C.
However, cashew nuts have been known to be a dangerous allergen. A recent study among children in the UK found cashew nuts caused allergic reactions more serious than those caused by peanuts. According to Dr. Andrew Clark from Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, cashew nuts can cause shortness of breath and heart palpitations, and may lower blood pressure.
3. Hạt hưá»›ng dương (sunflower seeds)
Sunflower seeds are rich in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. Like cashew nuts, sunflower seeds are half fatty oils, and are rich in calcium, iron, carotene, niacin and vitamins B1 and B2. Linolenic acid in sunflower seeds helps fight blood clots.
Yang-heavy sunflower seeds can help cure dysentery, loss of appetite and exhaustion. To treat symptoms accompanying dysentery, soak 30g peeled sunflower seeds with hot water for one hour, and add rock sugar to taste sunflower oil is also a very popular and nutritious cooking oil.
4. Hạt bí (pumkin seeds)
Pumpkins are planted and harvested all year round. However, seeds taken from pumpkins harvested in autumn and winter are the most nutritious. Though pumpkin seeds have significantly lower levels of oils than sunflower seeds, they really pack a nutritious punch.
In addition to the nutrients found in sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds also have magnesium, zinc, selen, mangan, copper, fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and glutamic and arginine acids. In oriental gastronomy, pumpkin seeds help cool the body, relieve stress, cure parasitic worms and can even improve your sex life.
Pumpkin seeds can also help relieve symptoms related to urinary problems, prevent osteomalacia by increasing bone density, and slow down cholesterol build-up along artery walls. To aid in the treatment of post-natal swelling and diabetes, dry 120g of pumpkin seeds in a pan until they become brown, soak water, and decoct for 15 minutes. Drink everyday until the swelling is gone.
To fight parasitic worms, grind 100g of seeds to a powder and soak it in a glass of hot water. Let cool before drinking. Be careful not to boil the seeds or they may lose their effect.