The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that your diet must include plant proteins, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. While it is difficult to find all three nutrients together, the use of seeds can help you solve this problem. Seeds, which are the reproductive unit of plants, are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and essential amino acids.
Regular consumption of seeds is associated with a healthy blood sugar level, improved immunity, better heart health and lower risk of various medical conditions including obesity and cancer. It is easy to incorporate these tiny but mighty seeds into various recipes and each comes with a unique set of benefits. Do you want more energy or want to lose weight? There is a seed for that! Let’s look into the details about various seeds that can provide numerous health benefits despite their small size.
Chia seeds are considered to be one of the healthiest seeds on the planet. A good source of omega 3 fatty acids, chia seeds are extremely effective in controlling blood sugar levels and improving cardiac health. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber, magnesium and manganese which gives a boost to your metabolism and mental function. These seeds also contain polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
You can easily include chia seeds in your diet. You can simply sprinkle them over smoothies or shakes as it gives texture to your drinks or you can add them to your desserts. Also, you can mix them into salads and enjoy the crunch with other ingredients.
We need nine different types of amino acids for adequate growth and development. The human body cannot make these amino acids and completely depend on food sources to create them. Hemp seeds are one of the very few seeds which are considered complete proteins. This means that hemp seeds contain all the nine essential amino acids which the human body needs.
These seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats and also contain both omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. They include an important anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid which helps prevent various skin conditions associated with dryness. Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of zinc and magnesium.
Unlike other seeds, hemp seeds have a nutty flavor so they can be consumed on their own. Along with other seeds, you can sprinkle them over salads, yogurt and smoothies for texture. You can also bake them. Many people also make hemp milk at home using whole hemp seeds.
Flax Seed Field Photo by enneafive
Very similar to chia seeds, flax seeds are packed with minerals, protein and fiber. Two tablespoons of flax seeds include six grams of fiber and four grams of protein. Flaxseeds are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and contain various types of polyphenols. However, the omega 3 fatty acids that are contained within the outer shell cannot be easily digested by humans. So it is best to consume grounded flax seeds.
Various studies were conducted to find the effect of regular consumption of flaxseeds. The results indicated that the nutrients in flaxseeds can help improve cardiac health by reducing cholesterol. Flaxseeds are also known for reducing blood pressure and can reduce the risk of various types of cancer.
In addition to all these health benefits, regular consumption of flaxseeds is associated with improved blood sugar levels. They are an important source of Vitamin B1 which is essential for various functions in the body.
Similar to chia seeds, you can add flaxseeds to salads, smoothies and muffins. Flaxseeds are an integral part of the vegan diet and can be used as a substitute for eggs.
Nigella is also a super seed that is widely used as a kitchen spice. But in addition to its culinary use, nigella is known for its various health benefits.
For centuries, it has been used to treat medical conditions such as bronchitis and other diseases caused by bacterial infections.
Nigella contains powerful antioxidants. With regular use of nigella, patients suffering from medical conditions caused by inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis, observed reduced markers of inflammation. Nigella can also protect against various health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Also, the anti-oxidants in nigella can help reduce the inflammation of the liver and can significantly improve liver function. The use of nigella is also associated with an improvement in stomach ulcers and improved blood sugar levels.
Unlike other seeds, nigella has a strong flavor. With a slightly bitter taste, toasted or ground nigella can be added to a variety of dishes or can simply be sprinkled over bread or yogurt. A concentrated dose of nigella is available in the form of capsules.
Despite the small size, sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, calcium and iron. They are rich in amino acids and contain linoleic and oleic acids which can significantly reduce cholesterol and prevent the risk of cardiac problems. Regular use of sesame seeds is associated with improved hair growth and skin condition. Since it is a source of calcium, the use of sesame seeds helps improve the health of bones and teeth.
It is very easy to incorporate sesame seeds into every diet. You can use sesame seed oil for cooking or stir-frying. You can sprinkle them on salads and yogurt. You can also add them to a variety of stir-fried foods for an added crunch. Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor and you can enhance the flavor by dry roasting the seeds. They are also a staple for bagels in most bagel stores.
Slightly bigger in size compared to the other seeds, sunflower seeds are a great source of healthy fats, proteins, fiber, copper and magnesium. Also, sunflower seeds are considered to be the richest source of Vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of folate. Just like other seeds, sunflower seeds provide a host of health benefits. They help maintain healthy skin, protect against cancer, keep the bones healthy and balance the blood sugar level.
Sunflower seeds are a source of oil that can be used for cooking or as dressing over salads. They have a distinct taste so you can use them as a snack or can use them along with other fruits and vegetables. Sunflower butter is also used as an alternative to peanut butter.
Contrary to popular opinion, pomegranate seeds are good to eat, so besides the exceptional health benefits of pomegranates in general, such as vitamin C, potassium and fiber, you can get even more benefits if you include their seeds.
Despite their small size, seeds are an excellent source of plant protein that provides a variety of nutritional benefits. However, it is important to remember that while most of these seeds are healthy, consuming too much can have side effects. Also, if you are suffering from a medical condition, it is best to consult a doctor before you incorporate any type of seed into your daily diet.