11 Seeds You Should Be Eating
Seeds are rich in nutrients and have many health benefits. These small but mighty kernels are high in vitamins and minerals the body needs to function at peak performance. Seeds are extremely versatile and can be incorporated easily into a variety of different recipes. Need more energy? Want a slimmer waist? There’s a seed for that!
Chia has come a long way since it first sprouted out of funny pottery in TV commercials. These tiny seeds pack in 10 grams of fiber in a 2-tablespoon serving. They also contain proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals like: iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Chia seeds are easy to add to your favorite dishes. Sprinkle them ground or whole onto cereal, vegetables, or yogurt. Soak them in water to add to cooked cereal, or find a recipe for chia pudding as a healthy and tasty dessert.
Wild rice is actually a seed – a grass seed. It’s higher in protein than most other whole grains and contains 30 times more antioxidants than white rice. Wild rice is a good source of fiber, and nutrients such as: folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, vitamin B6, and niacin.
A 2009 study in China found wild rice might be effective in lowering cholesterol and other fats in the blood. Wild rice is extremely versatile and can be substituted for white rice in any dish. It can also be a healthy addition to a salad or soup.
Pumpkin seeds are a tasty snack that boasts 16% of your daily iron needs in just ¼ cup. That same ¼ cup will also get you 5 grams of fiber, which is more than most nuts. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of amino acids, protein, and omega-3s, as well as minerals such as zinc and magnesium.
Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds – a Halloween favorite – are an excellent snack, but you can enjoy them year-round sprinkled on oatmeal, baked into muffins, mixed into smoothies, or added to homemade granola and energy bars.
Pomegranate seeds are small red “jewels” called arils. These arils have lots of fiber and 40% of your daily requirement of vitamin C. They also contain heart-healthy antioxidants called polyphenols, including: flavonoids, tannins, and anthocyanins.
Pomegranate seeds make a sweet and juicy low-calorie snack. Try them tossed in salads, mixed into yogurt, or made into jelly.
Quinoa has a remarkably high protein content (15%, or 8 grams per cup), along with amino acids, and vitamin E. It also contains an antioxidant called quercetin. This nutty-flavored seed can be substituted in grain dishes in place of rice or pasta. Quinoa also makes a healthy gluten-free breading, and can be eaten for breakfast instead of oatmeal.
Flaxseed is packed with nutrients. Just two tablespoons of flaxseed contains 6 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. It is also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Some studies suggest flaxseed consumption helps improve cardiovascular health. Flaxseed also contains lignans, which may help protect the body from cancer.
Adding flaxseed to your diet is easy. Bake it into muffins. Mix it in salads, yogurt, smoothies, cereal, and soups. Ground flaxseed can even be used as an egg substitute.
“Flax Egg”: 1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons warm water.
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They pack in 10 grams of easily digested protein into just 2 tablespoons. Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. They can be eaten on their own, added to salads, or on top of yogurt. Hemp milk is a good alternative to dairy milk.
Sunflower seeds are high in healthy fats, as well as: proteins, fiber, phytochemicals, selenium, copper, and magnesium. According to the USDA, sunflower seeds are “the richest source of vitamin E.” Aside from salad toppings, you can add sunflower seeds to muffins or bread recipes, in vegetable dishes or stir-fry, into trail mixes, and in cereals or yogurt. Try crushed sunflower seeds as a tasty gluten-free coating for fish or chicken.
Despite their tiny size, sesame seeds contain up to 20% protein and lots of fiber. They are rich in the amino acids tryptophan and methionine. Sesame oil is a good choice for salad dressings as it is rich in linoleic and oleic acids, which have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Tahini (ground sesame seeds) is a main ingredient in hummus, and can also serve as a nut-free substitute for those with food allergies. Sprinkle sesame seeds on salads or stir-fry dishes for an added crunch.
Pine nuts contain all of the amino acids along with: vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, copper, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. They are also a good source of linoleic acid, a fatty acid that acts as a natural appetite suppressant. The monosaturated fats found in pine nuts are known to decrease the levels of cholesterol in the blood stream, which in turn, can lower heart attack and stroke risks. Like most of the seeds, you can add them to salads, yogurts, trail mixes, muffins, and vegetable dishes.
Just one teaspoon of tiny poppy seeds contains up to four percent of your recommended daily intake of phosphorous, calcium, and iron. Calcium and phosphorous are essential nutrients needed to build healthy bones. Poppy seeds are also a great source of oleic acid, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s easy to add poppy seeds to salad dressings, whole wheat pancakes, muffins, or vegetable dishes. Just sprinkle them on!
Please note that poppy seeds may cause false/positive narcotic drug test results.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
- Getty Images
Are pumpkin seeds good for your health? What’s the nutritional value of chia seeds? Find out how to easily incorporate more edible, healthy seeds into a diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
The Straits Times
Black and white sesame seeds. PHOTO: ST FILE
Pomegranate seeds. PHOTO: WIKICOMMONS
Black and white chia seeds. PHOTO: ST FILE
Golden flax seeds. PHOTO: WIKICOMMONS
Sunflower seeds. PHOTO: ST FILE
Pumpkin seeds. PHOTO: ST FILE
Quinoa upma from Rang Mahal restaurant. PHOTO: RANG MAHAL
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(SHAPE SINGAPORE) – You would be surprised to find out how much the addition of healthy seeds to your diet can benefit you. Small and mighty, seeds are packed with an abundance of nutrients and healthy fats. Just a sprinkle of these seven types of seeds is enough to improve your health.
Jam-packed with antioxidants, flax seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. ALA can improve cardiovascular health and a study published in an international journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biochimie, revealed that ALA has the potential to lower the risk of stroke. Flax seeds also contain more lignans than any other plant foods. Lignan is a type of plant compound, which is believed to be able to fight cancer by preventing the growth of tumour cells. A popular way to consume flax seeds is to bake them into muffins or cookies. You can also go for healthier options like sprinkling them over your salads or fruits.
Often classified as a superfood, chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids to keep your cholesterol levels in check. And don’t underestimate these tiny seeds, they are able to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water. The high water content and fibre in chia seeds will also help you to feel full for longer. While chia seeds may not have much taste on their own, you can add a dash of it to your favourite fruits, smoothies, puddings (the possibilities are endless, really) to jazz up your foods and make them healthier. Find out how you can eat chia seeds in five different ways.
5 reasons why chia seeds are good for you
These crunchy seeds have a nutty aroma and are often found on bagels, hamburger buns and sushi rolls. While sesame seeds are not in the limelight as much as their counterparts, they are in no way inferior. They are nutrient-dense and contain a wide array of beneficial compounds like iron, zinc, copper and vitamins. According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2016, sesame seeds are able to increase the capacity of antioxidants and reduce oxidative stress markers among individuals.
For those who are allergic to nuts, sunflower seeds can be a good substitute. These crunchy and nutty seeds are versatile and can be easily added into foods like yogurt and salad. You can even have them on their own as a low-carb snack. Rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, they are also good for your skin. A study by Texas A&M University found that dogs supplemented with sunflower seeds saw improvements in their skin and hair coat, and researchers believe that humans can reap the same benefits from the consumption of sunflower seeds. But be careful when you are picking out sunflower seeds as commercialised ones are usually heavily laden with sodium to enhance their flavours.
A great way to sweeten up your foods without the calories, pomegranate seeds are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Other than possessing anti-carcinogenic effects, a surprising benefit of pomegranate is that it is able to improve memory. A study published in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that participants who consumed pomegranate over a period of four weeks performed better in verbal and visual memory tasks. Add pomegranate seeds to the list of brain foods you should be eating.
Known as a rich source of magnesium, two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds contain about 25 per cent of the daily recommended dietary allowance. It is also exceptionally high in zinc to boost your body’s immune system. Pumpkin seeds are also said to be able to induce better sleep due to the presence of the amino acid tryptophan. A study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience suggests that tryptophan consumed with carbohydrate is comparable to pharmaceutical grade tryptophan, which can help you fall asleep more quickly.
While quinoa often stands in for grains, it is in fact a type of seed. A popular superfood, its myriad health benefits like being rich in protein and antioxidants should come as no surprise. One of the reasons why it is a better alternative to white rice is its low glycemic index, meaning that it will not spike your blood sugar level quickly to stimulate hunger and contribute to weight gain. The versatility of quinoa also makes it easy to incorporate into your diet.
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Adding seeds to your food can do wonders for your body. Read more at straitstimes.com.