Seeds for Better Health
Author: Achieve Wellness Member
Seeds may be tiny, but they are packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins. There’s been a lot of “super seed” hype and currently you can find these seeds in plenty of packaged foods. Let’s take a closer look! Wheat germ used to be the only additive around and we would sprinkle it on yogurt, but now flaxseed, hemp seed and chia seed recipes are becoming more popular. But why bother eating them in the first place?
Flax has been cultivated for centuries. Hippocrates wrote about using flax for relief of abdominal pains and the French Emperor Charlemagne favored flax seed so much, he passed laws requiring it’s consumption! The main health benefits of flax seed are due to its rich content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), dietary fiber and lignans. Lignans are plant compounds that have estrogen like effects and antioxidant properties and can help reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Flax seed should be eaten ground as this will help digestion. Ground flax seed can be mixed with almost anything, as it doesn’t have a distinct taste.
Chia seeds have been more commonly known for growing furry clay pets. Please don’t eat those seeds, but do try eating this earthy seed for its calcium and fiber. Two tablespoons also offers as much calcium as a slice of cheese and also contains the omega-3 fat ALA.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are great for energy and help with depression. The light and nutty pumpkin seed houses iron, a mineral that helps maintain energy levels. They contain a chemical compound L-tryptophan, an ingredient that helps boost your mood. Roast one cup of seeds with ½ tsp each of paprika, chili powder, and sea salt for an easy on-the-go snack.
Hemp seed is one of the few vegetarian sources of complete protein, meaning that it contains all 20 amino acids key to building muscle. No need to worry about hemp’s relation to marijuana. While both are members of the cannabis family, hemp doesn’t contain THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. Sprinkle some in a post-workout shake for a pine nut like flavor.
Pomegranate seeds are a rich source of antioxidants. They help protect the body’s cells from free radicals which can cause premature aging. Nature’s “sweet-tarts”, pomegranate seeds are a juicy low-cal winner packed with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Add to your favorite salad and blend for a refreshing change. Adding seeds to your nutrition plan can be a fun and creative way to add quality nutrients, flavor and variety. When available, it’s best to buy organic seeds.