Seeds are seemingly everywhere these days. Pumpkin seeds. Chia seeds (yes, those things from the commercials for ch-ch-chia-pets). Flax Seeds. Sunflower Seeds. Just about any food blog or Instagram picture you look at is incorporating seeds in one way or another. That is a great thing. We should all be eating our seeds and no it does not mean you are hippie from the 60s living in a communal camp.
Seeds have a lot of health benefits and they are easy to incorporate into your diet. You can sprinkle them into your waffle or pancake batter, on top of your oatmeal or even make ‘eggs’ with them so that you can bake in a vegan style if you so choose. They are versatile and pack a protein punch with some flavor that won’t overpower your meal.
Here are 5 seeds that are good for you and why:
Chia seeds come from the mint family and if you ever have a jar of them and took a sniff you would instantly recognize the mint scent. For me there is no better day than when I pick up a bag of chia seeds from Sprout’s and knowing that when I unpack them I am going to get the waft of mint. Just don’t spill them because your euphoria will quickly turn to sadness when these little gems of goodness are on the floor.
Chia seeds are full of fiber, protein, nutrient oils, antioxidants and calcium. They are also capable of stabilizing blood sugar, lower our risk of cardiovascular disease and aid in weight loss. Not only that but they are extremely high in healthy fats as they are made up of approximately 33% pure omega 3-oils. For those contemplating about going vegetarian or vegan you don’t have to worry about removing fish from your diet. Just add a healthy dose of chia seeds to your diet and you will be just fine.
My favorite plant is the sunflower. I fell in love with them when I was in Spain while driving through the country and you could see fields and fields of them. To me the represented life and now I know that the seeds can help me extend my life. How can they do that you may be asking and the answer is: they promote healthy digestion and increase fiber intake.
I have a bottle of honey sunflower seeds in my pantry that I dip into every now and again but they also come conveniently in bags at the grocery store. You can make homemade granola and be sure to add these to that mixture. They are also great when making overnight oats as they add a little extra crunch to the dish. If you are bored with your salad put these on top and bring that boring salad back to life.
Last night I made a millet stir fry and put black sesame seeds in my spicy peanut sauce and then topped the entire dish with them as well as included them in the scrambled eggs portion of the meal. Sesame seeds not only come in the black variety but also in the more common white variety that you see on bagels. The white variety is also what is used to make tahini so if you are making a tradition hummus (I use nut butter instead of tahini) then you are getting the benefits of sesame seeds.
These guys are very high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, B1 and phosphorus. Do any of those items ring a bell for you endurance athletes? Yup those are electrolytes and we know what that means to our performance and recovery. Studies have shown that these seeds can lower blood pressure, as well as protect the liver from damage.
This was the first seed I was introduced to when I started down my healthy lifestyle path. I was told to put it on everything and even make flax eggs with it and so I did. I sprinkled it here and there as well as for pizza doughs and pancake batters. I barely noticed the little guys in the mixes but I knew they were doing what they were supposed to be doing and that is providing me with fiber, protein and essential fatty acids.
The one item I kept coming across and will pass along to you is that you should grind your flax seeds using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle (you know the things that you see them making guacamole with at your favorite Mexican restaurant.) The reason is that the body does not process the seeds as well when they are whole, according to what I have read.
So tomorrow when you wake up and are getting ready to have breakfast do yourself a favor and pretend like you are a bird and eat your seeds.
What Seeds Do You Typically Eat?