Seeds can provide one of the biggest bangs for your buck when it comes to nutrition. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids, many people are beginning to realize the importance of adding seeds to their diet, including increased energy, an improved digestive system and overall better health.
At the recent Winter Fancy Food Show held in San Francisco, a panel of food writers and journalists noted that seeds were among the top five food trend categories for 2013. Nutritionists, personal trainers and a variety of health experts recommend seeds as a good source of protein as well as assisting in weight loss efforts with the ability to keep us feeling full longer.
Which seeds should you add to your diet? Here is a look at the top five.
Hemp seeds are considered a superfood as a nutritional powerhouse. They’re balanced perfectly with a 3-to-1 oil ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 and are also a good source of stearidonic acid and gamma linoleic acid.
This protein packed seed also has all 20 amino acids, including 10 essential amino acids our body cannot produce. Hemp seeds are a rich source of phytonutrients and help to battle most forms of cancer, heart disease and inflammation-based diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Chia Pets may have made an awful gift (although beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but chia seeds are a wonderful present to give your body. They’re loaded with soluble and insoluble fibers and are the richest plant source of omega-3s in addition to being packed with antioxidants.
Studies have found that eating chia seeds can help stabilize blood sugar, increase weight loss and lower our risk of heart disease.
Sunflower seeds are considered the ultimate phytochemical-rich seed when it comes to losing weight. They not only increase our fiber intake, helping to make us feel fuller, they promote healthy digestion. They have an extra benefit for women in that they’re rich in folate, an important nutrient for females.
Studies have found that flax seeds can prevent a host of diseases from a variety of cancers to heart disease and they’ve even be found to help reduce belly flat. These nutty-flavored seeds are packed with omega-3s and phytoestrogens known as lignans; in fact, flax has more of these compounds than any other food.
Pumpkin seeds are high in carotenoids, an antioxidant that boosts immune activity and increases the body’s ability to fight disease. They’re high in omega-3s and contain zinc which helps to battle inflammation. Pumpkin seeds even contain a high level of phytosterols which serve to stabilize cholesterol levels and offer an enhanced immune response.
Seeds are also an easy healthy snack to reach for when hunger pangs it – don’t forget to pick some up on your next trip to the grocery store!
What’s your favorite seed?
– The Alternative Daily