You've heard about that common seeds such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds offer health benefits. They are what I like to call natural superfoods. They are high in fiber, vitamin E and omegas, and are a great source of plant-based protein – meaning they keep you fuller for longer.
One of these seeds isn’t the only health-worthy way to add crunch to your lunch or breakfast. You can now choose from a number of smaller, nutrient-dense seeds. So nutritious are these seeds that they’re sometimes referred to as “super seeds.”
What are Super seeds?Flaxseed, chia, Pumpkin Seeds are commonly referred to as super seeds because of the nutritional punch they offer. If you think about it, it’s not surprising that seeds of all types are so rich in nutrients. These tiny orbs have to supply the nutrients a growing plant needs. When you eat the seeds, you absorb the nutrients and put them to use.
Pumpkin Seeds :
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of healthful oils, magnesium, and other nutrients that enhance the health of the heart, bones, and other functions.
Pumpkin seeds are not a highly rich source of vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, recent studies have shown that pumpkin seeds provide us with vitamin E in a wide diversity of forms. From any fixed amount of a vitamin, we are likely to get more health benefits when we are provided with that vitamin in all of its different forms.
Pumpkin seeds—also known as pepitas—are flat, dark green seeds. Some are encased in a yellow-white husk (often called the "shell"), although some varieties of pumpkins produce seeds without shells. Pumpkin seeds have a malleable, chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavor.
Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds :
- Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy fats, fibers and various antioxidants that are beneficial for the heart.
- Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, which is important for bone formation.
- Nutrients in pumpkin seeds may help protect against type 2 diabetes. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a role in the development of diabetes, and antioxidants may help reduce the risk.
- Pumpkin seeds contain Serotonin, a neurochemical, which is also known as nature's sleeping pill. Pumpkin seeds are high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that further converts into Serotonin in the body, ensuring a sound night's sleep.
- Pumpkin seeds consist of cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for hair growth.
How to eat it?
- Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of mixed green salads.
- Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
- You can even add them to yogurt, pancakes, etc.
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Flax Seeds :
Flaxseed comes from the flax plant, which grows to be about 2 feet tall. It likely was first grown in Egypt but has been cultivated all around the world. As you know, long-chain omega-3s, from fatty fish, are often praised for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Flaxseed contains a short-chain, plant-based version of omega-3s. Unfortunately, only a portion of the short-chain omega-3s you take in through diet can be converted to long-chain omega-3s, the form that potentially offers the most health benefits – but you do get some conversion. Flaxseed is a good alternative source of omega-3s for anyone who doesn’t consume fish.
Benefits of Flax Seeds -
- flax may reduce risks of certain cancers as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease.
- Flaxseed is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. This property of flaxseed aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes.
- A great way to improve your hair, skin, and nails without having to add additional regimes to your day is to simply add 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds to your breakfast.
- Flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programs since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to the presence of fiber, it keeps the stomach full and avoids the intake of surplus calories through overeating.
- Most healthy diets these days promote gluten-free ingredients. Flaxseeds are a great substitute for grains that contain gluten, such as wheat.
How to eat it?
- If you want to get the benefits of flaxseed without the taste or hassle of adding it to your food, simply purchase flaxseed supplements and take one pill daily.
- Flax seeds add a slightly, but not overwhelming, nutty flavor. Add 1 tablespoon of whole flax seeds into your morning smoothie for an extra 2 grams of protein.
- Garnish soups with a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, for a slightly nutty flavor and delicious crunch.
- You can sprinkle flax seeds on your salad.
Shop for the best quality flax Seeds here.
Chia seeds :
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. "Chia" means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster.
Functional foods are touted to offer benefits beyond their nutritional value, such as lowering cholesterol or improving gut health. Not only listed as such, but chia seeds are also used as a functional ingredient, added to less nutritious items like baked pastries and snacks, to improve their appeal to health-conscious consumers.
Benefits of Chia Seeds -
- A single tablespoon boasts 4 grams of heart-healthy fiber.
- Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that help protect the delicate fats in the seeds.
- In addition to lowering blood sugar, chia seeds are effective at reducing blood pressure.
- Chia seeds can be eaten cooked or raw, but they should be added to another food or soaked before eating.
- A diet with adequate fiber prevents and promotes constipation regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Regular bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
How to eat it?
- Sprinkle a few teaspoons into breakfast cereal (hot or cold) salads, soups, or stews.
- Stir into salad dressings, sauces, marinades, or cake/muffin/bread batter.
- Mix chia seeds with whatever milk you prefer, its make chia pudding a delicious dish that can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert.
- You can add in your favorite salad vegetables, yogurt, oatmeal, homemade muffins, cookies pancakes, tea.
Shop for the best quality Chia Seeds here.
Sunflower seeds :
The sunflower plant is fascinating in many ways. True to its name, it follows the movement of the sun .sunflower seeds are milled to produce edible oils.
These seeds are primarily consumed as a snack food in many parts of the world. They can be eaten both in their full form, as well as their de-hulled form, in which only the kernel is eaten. Both the shell and the inner kernel have a different nutrient profile. They make a tasty and a nutrient-dense treat, particularly when eaten salt
Benefits of Sunflower Seeds :
- A good natural source of zinc, sunflower seeds are popular immune boosters.
- They may also help protect against heart disease while vitamin B can help in the fight against stress.
- Research has linked sunflower seeds to better functioning of the thyroid gland. These seeds are rich in essential fatty acids like omega 3s and omega 6s and so they help their thyroid glad to maintain optimal metabolism.
- In terms of improving sleep, magnesium can help the body convert tryptophan into serotonin. It is a feel-good hormone that can help relax the body and prepare it for sleep.
- Sunflower seeds may help in controlling your blood cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol level means a low risk of atherosclerosis and other heart diseases. Sunflower seeds also exhibit anti-hypertensive effects.
How to eat it?
- You can add to baked goods such as bread and muffins.
- Add to trail mix.
- Some people also like to roast sunflower seeds. You can do this by boiling 1 cup of sunflower seeds in salted water for 5-10 minutes. Let the seeds dry on a baking pan. Lightly salt or season the seeds if you wish to. Bake the seeds at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes, or until the seeds have acquired a brown color.
- Garnish mixed green salads with sunflower seeds.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals.
Shop for the best quality Sunflower Seeds here.