My kids accuse me of turning into a bird with all of the seeds I include in my diet. The health community has paid more attention in the last few years to seeds that are on the market such as chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin and others. Seeds are nutritionally dense and are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and healthy fats.
The little guys can be tossed into salads, used in recipes or added to breakfast smoothies. Here’s a run-down on just a few of the different seeds available in most markets and the nutritional value they bring to the table.
|CHIA Rich source of ALA omega 3 fatty acids. One tsp. of chia has 2.5X more protein than kidney beans, 3X more iron than spinach, 6X more calcium than milk, 7X more vitamin C than oranges, 8X more omega 3 than salmon, 27% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for phosphorus which promotes bone health, and 15X more magnesium than broccoli. One serving provides 33% of the RDI for fiber. Soak chia in water and use as egg replacement. They are also high in soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol and lowers blood sugars.|
|FLAX Also high in ALA omega 3 fatty acids, one tablespoon provides more omega 3 than the RDI. They reduce inflammation, promote bone health and may help reduce blood pressure. Flax seeds contain lignin which may help prevent certain types of cancer. These seeds are Flax seeds are also high in soluble fiber for lowering cholesterol and blood sugars., playing roles in the prevention and management of both heart disease and diabetes. NOTE: Flax seeds should be ground to obtain the nutritional benefits from them! Whole flax seeds pass through the intestines undigested and the nutrients are not absorbed.|
|HEMP These seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids making hemp a source of complete protein. They are also good sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber, omega 3 fats and fat soluble vitamins A, D and E. Hemp seeds are safe and do not contain psychoactive ingredients.|
|POPPY SEEDS These seeds come from the plant that produces opium. Rich in cholesterol-lowering oleic and linoleic oils, they spoil quickly. They’re high in B vitamins, iron, copper, potassium and zinc as well as both soluble and insoluble fiber.|
|PUMPKIN Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, B vitamins and vitamins K and E.|
|SESAME These are also high in calcium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and other antioxidants. They also contain fiber. Two unique substances, sesamin and sesamolin, part of the lignin family, have been shown to lower cholesterol and protect the liver from oxidative damage.|
How much of these nutrition-packed little gems should you eat? Amazingly, just 2 tablespoons of seeds will provide heart healthy-benefits. So sprinkle some seeds into your meals for an easy healthy addition.