Five seeds to include in your diet.
This winter as you’re filling your bird feeders and providing your feathered friends an assortment of seeds to enjoy, you may want to consider adding seeds to your own grocery list. Because, as they say, “Good things come in small packages.” In the same category as nuts, seeds are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, all wonderful characteristics to look for in foods while trying to lose weight and stay healthy.
Eat them plain, favored, as a snack, or sprinkled on your meal for added nutrition, texture, and flavor. There are many seeds to choose from, but here are five seeds you’re likely to find on store shelves.
Flax to the Max
For more than 5,000 years, people have attributed powerful health benefits to flaxseed. Because it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and plant compounds, flaxseed helps protect against heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, and constipation.
You can purchase foods made with flaxseeds, buy the seeds whole and ground them yourself, or buy them as flaxseed meal. Add ground flaxseed to smoothies, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, sauces, casseroles, or soups for a healthy boost. Flaxseed mixed with water can even be substituted for eggs in baked goods.
It’s important to note flaxseed has been known to interact with certain drugs including blood thinners, statins, NSAIDS, and cyclosporine, so if you’re on medication, take precaution.
Another seed cultivated from ancient times, the chia seed originates from a Mexican desert plant. Loaded with fiber (10 grams in one tablespoon), protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and carbohydrates, chia seeds pack a powerful punch.
You can find chia seeds added to numerous foods including cereals, energy bars, and drinks or you can eat them raw. Because they turn gelatinous when mixed with liquid, chia seeds make foods like juice, pudding, yogurt, soup, baked goods, and smoothies more nutritious and filling.
On Sesame Street
You commonly see them on hamburger buns or added to Asian cuisine, but sesame seeds can be a tasty, nutritious addition to a variety of foods. Try sprinkling them on vegetables, salads, meat, or stir-fry.
High in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, B vitamins, and fiber, sesame seeds added to your diet may help reduce inflammation and protect brain health.
Related to the marijuana plant but entirely different and completely safe, hemp seeds are all the rage. They’re expensive, but their price may be worth the complete protein and nutritious goodness they offer. Unlike most other plant foods, hemp contains all of the nine essential building blocks found in protein plus vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, and valuable antioxidants.
Eat hemp seeds plain or add them to your cereal, salad, baked goods, or smoothies.
Bring out the Sun
Who doesn’t enjoy the cheery look of sunflowers? You can also enjoy the seeds they produce. Popular at the ball field, sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamin E, phosphorous, protein, fiber, folate, vitamin B6, zinc, and choline. And you may not know this, but they contain four times as many antioxidants as blueberries and walnuts!
Research shows a diet that includes sunflower seeds helps protect against cognitive decline, breast cancer, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and the effects of aging. Snack on a handful or add them to salads, stir fry, or yogurt.
People with an allergy to latex should avoid sunflower seeds as they may cause a reaction.
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