Fruits and vegetables may hog the spotlight when it comes to healthy eating, but seeds are a prime source of complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and a number of essential micronutrients. They prove that big things come in small packages, and they’re scrumptious to boot.
The following six seeds have been nourishing cultures around the world for many years. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to boost your nutrition, it’s time to add them to your diet.
Here’s the lowdown:
Chia seeds, particularly the Salba variety, are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fibre. Basically, they’re super seeds. The calcium and magnesium promote bone and dental health, while omega-3 helps your heart by lowering triglycerides, which are bad fats in your blood that cause heart disease. If that wasn’t enough, the soluble fibre helps decrease cholesterol, stabilise blood sugar, and makes you feel full for longer.
How to eat them: Chia seeds have a benign flavour, so you can add them to cereal, yoghurt, cottage cheese, or salads without impacting the taste of the dish. Since chia is hydrophilic, it absorbs several times its weight in water, so you can use the seeds to create healthy fruit spreads and puddings.
Not just for hippies, hemp seeds are a great source of complete protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain phytosterols, which are plant-based compounds that help lower cholesterol.
Note: While hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family, hemp doesn’t contain THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. So, eating hemp seeds will not give you the same effect as smoking marijuana.
How to eat them: Toss them in salads, smoothies, or sprinkle them over your cereal or yogurt.
Pumpkin is not just for Halloween. The seeds are a great source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, and protein, and are particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps with anxiety. Pumpkin seeds also have high levels of essential fatty acids that keep the blood vessels healthy.
How to eat them: Snack on them raw or roasted, or add to soup. Pumpkin seed oil can boost salad dressings and dips, although cooking may destroy some of its nutritional properties.
These underrated seeds are an excellent source of B vitamins, including folate, which helps prevent birth defects, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage and helps maintain healthy hair and skin. They’re also rich in protein and heart-healthy fats.
How to eat them: Munch them by the handful, or add them to cookie or muffin recipes, salads, or stir-fries.
These little, brown, nutty-flavoured seeds are a great source of soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol and stabilises blood sugar levels. Flax seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acid, which benefits eye and brain health. High in lignans, a plant-like form of oestrogen, they may also help prevent certain cancers.
How to eat them: Flax seed shells are hard, so grind them in a blender before eating them, or they’ll pass through your body undigested, prohibiting the absorption of their valuable omega-3 content. Add the finely ground seeds to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal or cereal.
Note: Keep ground flax seeds in an airtight container in the fridge.
Health is wealth
By including seeds in your diet, you’ll reap all sorts of benefits from the natural fibre, iron, protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals they contain. Just remember that when it comes to seeds, organic is best. Because of their high fat content, seeds soak up pesticides like little sponges.
Have a massage for the body
The perfect accompaniment to a healthy diet is a healthy body. And you can keep your body healthy with a combination of regular exercise and massage therapy. We offer a range of massages and other full body treatments at Castle Thai Spa, so why not call us on 0131 629 0794 and book one today?