A while back I wrote about some of the best varieties of seeds that can easily be added to our diets. I knew at the time I was overlooking some really healthy options, so today I’m going to look at ‘Super seeds – part two’, starting with…
Chia seeds. In just a single tablespoon of chia seeds, you can find 5 g of fibre, together with iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. They’re also a great source of antioxidants and are rich in polyunsaturated fats; particularly omega-3 fatty acids. 60% of their fat content is omega-3, which makes them one of the best plant-based sources of these nutrients and a great choice if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce high cholesterol and reduce inflammation, amongst other things.
While chia seeds don’t have much flavour, one of the reasons for their popularity is that they make a great egg substitute. They thicken gelatinously, so you can add them to milk with your choice of sweetener, or even add them to yoghurt or juice. Refrigerate overnight for a simple, healthy pudding.
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamins E and B1, copper, selenium and magnesium as well as being high in protein and fibre. They can easily be eaten alone as a snack, but are also great added to salads, granola, cereal and breads. And did you know that you can substitute expensive pine nuts in pesto for cheaper sunflower seeds? Why not give it a try?
The first thing to know about Hemp seeds is that, while they come from the same species of plant, they don’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active substance in marijuana. However, what they do contain is a whole bunch of nutrients including vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. They are also one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, so for this reason you might hear them referred to as a ‘complete protein’.Finally, we come to Flax seeds. These little guys are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, together with folate. Studies suggest that eating a portion of flaxseeds (25g or 1 oz) every day for 6 months can lower blood pressure, but they should also be ground to obtain maximum benefit as whole seeds can pass through your system without releasing their nutrients. This is another super seed that can be used as a thickener to replace egg in vegan recipes (2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to 3 tablespoons of water), as well as being ideal to sprinkle into yoghurts, smoothies, soups and salads. Why not give it – and some of our other super seeds – a try?