When you think of a snack, what comes to mind? Crackers, chips, granola? How about seeds? I know I don’t think of them as often, but they are a powerhouse food! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids (helps with inflammation, heart health, lowers triglycerides, and other benefits), fiber, and protein. They are small but they pack a punch! There are a few that you are familiar with, but I’d like to introduce you to the benefits of several other seeds.
Andean lupine (chocho) – this is a relative newcomer on the superfood scene, and it’s value is just being discovered. High in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, it is a staple food in the Ecuadorian diet. It is reported to have higher digestibility than soybeans and does not contain phytoestrogens, which are potentially harmful. You can purchase chocho online.
Chia – high in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, this is a great food that helps to maintain proper brain function. And it’s delicious in our favorite snacks!
Flax – fiber, omega 3, vitamins, minerals, lignans (helps support hormone balance). The best way to get flax into your diet is by grinding them in your coffee grinder and adding them into shakes, on salads, in soups, yogurt, cereal, etc. You can also get flax oil. Keep both seeds and oil refrigerated.
Hemp – contains all 21 of the amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids. It is also high in essential fatty acids – linolenic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and stearidonic acid.
Papaya – proteolytic enzymes – helps remove waste proteins from your body, as well as remove parasites. The ground seeds are used as treatment for liver cirrhosis, intestinal inflammation and as an anti-bacterial agent. Caution: use sparingly!!! The seeds can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. They are very potent.
Pomegranate – you have probably enjoyed the juice of this amazing fruit, but if you are like me, you probably tossed the seeds…DON’T!! They have an aspirin like effect on your blood by improving platelet health. The seeds can help improve how your body gets oxygen to the heart, and has anti-inflammatory properties. The seeds are also high in fiber.
Pumpkin – contains manganese, magnesium and phosphorous, which aid in bone and blood health. Pumpkin seeds are also high in phytosterols, which can help reduce cholesterol. Skip the Halloween candy and eat the pumpkin seeds! They can be roasted, seasoned with herbs and sea salt, and enjoyed year round.
Quinoa – this tiny little seed is high in protein, fiber, and can be used like rice. Rinse it thoroughly for optimal taste – the directions are usually included in any packaging. If you have to avoid grains in your diet, this is a fantastic alternative.
Sesame – can’t have dairy, but still need calcium? Sesame seeds are your answer! A 1/4 cup has more calcium than a half cup of milk. You can find tahini (sesame seed butter) in most grocery stores.
Sunflower – a great source of Vitamin E, phytosterols, and you can find them everywhere! These may be the healthiest snack you’ll find in the local convenience store.
So there you have it…ten super seeds that pack a massive nutritional punch. Most of them are easily accessible at your local grocery store.