Seeds aren’t the easiest thing to get into our diet, other than maybe seeded bread, they don’t really focus in any of our daily meals. To get all the amazing benefits from them we need to add them to our food and that means a little bit extra effort but making that extra effort might well make a big difference to your health and well being. Here is a rundown of the 5 best seeds you should be adding to your diet now!
Flax seeds are small but they need to be ground so that our bodies can digest them and gain all the nutrients inside their hard shells. Flax seeds have a nutty flavour and takes on a gelatin-like quality when added to liquid which makes them a great substitute for eggs in baking if you are vegan. They can be added to smoothies or on top of a pasta bake for a crunchy crumb. One ounce of flax seeds contains nearly 8 grams of fiber and 12 grams of fatty acids and even has one quarter of your RDA of magnesium which gives you increased energy. Research has shown that flax seeds can help lower high blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
Chia seeds are a superfood and have little or no flavour so when used in a recipe or as a topping you will hardly notice them. If you add chia seeds into your diet you will experience benefits such as increased energy and digestive regularity. Chia seeds are a brilliant source of fiber, one ounce of chia seeds has nearly half your RDA of fiber and have more iron than spinach, more potassium than bananas and more antioxidant strength than blueberries. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to start eating chia seeds then maybe knowing that they contain more calcium than milk and are the richest plant-based source of omega-3 will. Chia seeds don’t need grinding down so you can sprinkle them on salads, mix them with your oatmeal or add them to smoothies.
Hemp seeds are very popular with vegans and the health conscious for their nutritious and healing properties. Hemp seeds can be added to cereal, smoothies, oatmeal and put on top of salads. They can also be blended with water to create a substitute for milk. Hemp seeds have easily digestible protein and all the omega-3 and essential fatty acids your body needs. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, zinc and vitamin E which help reduce inflammation, improve your immune system and help reduce the risk of heart disease as well as improving your skin and hair quality.
Sesame seeds feature in Asian cooking quite a lot and so may already be a part of your diet but I bet you didn’t know how good they are for you. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and are easily added to any stir fry. An easy way of getting a good dose of sesame seeds is to make your own hummus. Hummus is made with tahini paste which is made from sesame seeds and it makes a perfect snack to take to work.
Sunflower seeds are fairly large and can be eaten as a snack as well as adding to bread, salads and train mixes. A cup of sunflower seeds has more than 100% of your RDA of vitamin E, which is packed with a powerful antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from UV damage, making them the perfect summer snack. They also help keep you focused and alert and are a very good source of amino acids which are used by the brain as an antidepressant.