Seeds are not just for birds! In fact, if you eat the right seeds, they can be extremely nutritious, full of fiber and really add to a healthy diet. Here are some of the best seeds to add to your daily meal plan for the ultimate healthy additions.
Flaxseeds have a whole load of omega-3 fats contained within the outer shell of the seed, although, in their natural form, they are a little difficult for humans to digest. Therefore, it is best to eat ground flaxseeds! These small brown seeds are antioxidants, can reduce blood pressure, and contain fiber, protein, Omega-6 fats and 35% of the RDI of Manganese. There have also been studies that suggest they can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Hemp seeds are a fantastic source of vegetarian protein – 30% protein in fact! They have all the essential amino acids that aren’t made naturally in your body, as well as 1.1g of fiber, 10.7g of polyunsaturated fat, 45% of the RDI of magnesium and 21% of the RDI of zinc. They contain an important anti-inflammatory fatty acid and are shown to help improve the symptoms of eczema.
Chia seeds are practically tasteless and super versatile – you can put them in a salad, smoothie or even porridge and you won’t even notice that they are there! Your body will certainly notice, however, as these tiny seeds boast (per 1 ounce) 10.6g of fiber, 4.4g of protein, 4.9g of omega-3 fats and 30% of the RDI of both magnesium and manganese. They have been shown to reduce blood sugar and also decrease appetite!
A very popular seed in Asian cuisine, sesame seeds have been linked with lowering the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and lower blood cholesterol. They can help reduce inflammation and so are great for people with arthritis, but also athletes. In one ounce of sesame seeds, there is 57% of the RDI of copper, 34% of manganese and 25% of magnesium. You will also get 5g of protein and 6g of omega-6 fats. If the seeds themselves aren’t to your taste, you could use tahini, which is a sesame seed paste.
Pumpkins are more than just a Halloween decor staple; in fact, when you next carve a Jack O’Lantern, save the seeds as they have a wide range of health benefits. For example, pumpkin seeds and their oil is excellent for prostate and urinary disorders and can help lower the risk of bladder stones by decreasing the amount of calcium in the urine. They also offer a significantly lower risk of breast cancer as well as providing 7g of protein, 4% of the RDI of manganese and 33% of phosphorus.
These seeds certainly show that size doesn’t matter when it comes to getting your nutrients! There are so many different ways of consuming seeds that you don’t have to feel constrained to snacking on them just as they are – after all; you’re not a bird!