We often talk about “planting seeds,” either figuratively when referring to wisdom or ideas, or literally, when trying to get full grown plants from a tiny starter. That’s because seeds, when nurtured properly, have everything needed to grow. They are essentially tiny little bits of massive potential, and they can play a very important role in a healthy diet. Packed with protein and healthy fats, sesame, flax, chia, sunflower and hemp seeds are nutrient rich powerhouses that contribute to brain and heart health when added to yogurt, smoothies, salads and other foods.
Sprinkling unsalted seeds on your foods adds fiber and bulk to low carb diets, and helps
add protein to plant-based or vegan diets. Some seeds, like chia and flax swell up a bit
when wet, making you feel fuller longer and staving off cravings, which both aids in
digestion and can contribute to weight loss. When added to baked goods, they
drastically up the nutritional content and can even be used in place of some eggs and
oils in some recipes. Seeds have also been proven to keep blood sugar steady and
regulate your mood.
The oils of hemp and chia seeds are used regularly in natural cosmetics and skin care
for their ability to easily penetrate skin layers, promote cell growth and create smoother,
softer skin, as well as address certain skin care issues like rosacea, psoriasis and
eczema. (Taking them internally contributes to healthy skin as well!)
There are so many reasons to learn a little more about these tiny super foods and
consider adding them to your diet.
Chia seeds are a cholesterol free source of protein and are loaded with calcium,
vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Consuming
chia seeds regularly is an excellent way to raise energy levels and avoid the midafternoon
Ground flax seeds, are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, as well as cholesterol reducing
unsaturated fats. They have long considered a healing food due to the high content of
disease fighting nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. Seeds should be ground
prior to consuming (or bought already ground) for full release of nutrients.
Sunflower seeds are an exceptional source of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.
Getting sufficient magnesium can reduce blood pressure and occurance of migraine
headaches, and selenium has been shown in studies to inhibit the proliferation of
cancer cells and induce DNA repair.
Hemp seeds contain a healthy balance of omega 6 AND omega 3 fatty acids, amino
acids, and phytosterols, which can reduce cholesterol levels. Contrary to what many
think, hemp seeds are a different species of cannibis and contain very little amounts of
the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana.
Like many foods, seeds added to the diet should be organic to avoid pesticide residue.