They say good things come in small packages – and seeds are definitely one of them. These superfoods may be tiny, but they’re packed with important nutrients like protein, iron, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Best of all, they’re super easy to add to anything and everything you eat – cereals, smoothies, salads – the list is endless. They’re so good for your health they should be wearing little tiny capes!
Here's a superfoods highlight reel of the most important seeds to incorporate into your diet:
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, protein, magnesium and are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids (cha-ching!). They can also help reduce joint pain, provide an energy boost and protect against health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Bonus: Chia seeds are gluten-free! As far as superfoods go, they're hard to beat. Chia seeds and yogurt make the perfect pair.
Get this: One tablespoon of flaxseeds contain as much fiber as half a cup of cooked oat bran! This is one of those lovely superfoods that keeps your digestive system healthy and can help lower cholesterol. Ground flaxseeds offer more nutritional value than eating the whole seed, so make sure to grind before sprinkling into your foods.
3. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are an amazing source of protein, as well as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Amazingly enough, they contain all 21 amino acids (including nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce). Like chia seeds, hemp seeds are also gluten-free and are known to be easy to digest. Stir these into baked goods or toast and sprinkle on your salads.
4. Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranates are an amazing source of antioxidants, which protect your body from free radicals and prevent blood clots – they have higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine. They also contain vitamins C, K, folate and potassium. You can store the seeds for a few days in the fridge, or up to six months in the freezer. Add them to smoothies, ice cream, salads or desserts.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds provides more than 40 percent of your recommended daily intake of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese – all of which are critical for bone and blood health. They also contain large amounts of tryptophan, which might help decrease anxiety, and can’t be beat for zinc, which improves mood and sleep. Plus, they’re delicious – especially when roasted for 15 to 20 minutes. Mmmm...
6. Sesame Seeds
If you’re not a fan of dairy, you can turn to sesame seeds for your calcium needs – a half cup provides more calcium than a half cup of whole milk. They also contain copper, which is known for relieving pain and inflammation, iron, phosphorous and magnesium that can protect the liver. I’m addicted to toasting these in a pan and sprinkling them on fish.
7. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are the most popular seed of all the superfoods, with a quarter cup covering almost your entire recommended daily intake of vitamin E. They also offer magnesium, selenium, and vitamin B6, which are believed to calm your nerves, prevent headaches and lower blood pressure. Toast these in a frying pan and add to almonds and cashews for a delish trail mix.
How do you incorporate these superfoods into your diet?
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