Seeds are nutrient dense and delicious. Many are full of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and other important nutrients, making them an important addition to a diet focused on improved physical and mental health.
Though seeds seem calorie dense, not all calories are equal. A mere spoonful of seeds goes a long way to benefit body processes to improve our overall health. Here are a few benefits of the most common seeds with ideas on how to add them to your daily diet:
Rich in essential fatty acids, pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, iron and fiber, among other minerals and nutrients. A single ounce provides 7 grams of protein.
Pumpkin seeds should be consumed raw instead of roasted because the heat destroys many of their beneficial nutrients.
Add pumpkin seeds whole to oatmeal, granola, cereals, cookies, salads, soups and other savory dishes to preserve their large and chewy texture.
Research suggests that chia seeds can lower blood sugar, inflammation and blood-pressure levels. An ounce of chia provides 11g of fiber, nearly half of our recommended daily amount, and 18 percent of our daily calcium needs.
Chia seeds are highly absorbent and, when mixed with milk and flavorings, can even make puddings. Add them whole or ground to thicken smoothies, or add seeds to salads, baked goods, dressings, cereals and yogurts.
These small golden and brown seeds provide powerful anti-inflammatory Alpha-Linolenic Acid and antioxidants. It is also full of fiber that can promote healthy bowel function and lower risk of heart disease: one tablespoon has as much fiber as half a cup of oat bran.
Whole seeds are hard to digest, so flax seeds should be consumed ground and refrigerated to prevent spoilage. Add to cereal, smoothies, yogurt and baked goods.
Hemp seeds are full of high-quality, easily digestible proteins that contain all essential amino acids. They provide more protein than other seeds, which, combined with its high amounts of healthy fats, improves satiety and increases energy levels and metabolic functions.
Hemp seeds have a distinct earthy, nutty flavor that make them delicious in homemade hemp milk, snack mixes, cereals, smoothies or sprinkled over a variety of savory dishes.