Nutrient-dense seeds are finally starting to get the attention that they deserve. Packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber and lots of minerals and vitamins, the following super seeds are an ideal addition to your meals to ensure you’re eating a balanced diet.
Chia seeds are one of nature’s most perfect superfoods. Yes, they get stuck in your teeth if eaten dry and can become quite slimy when soaked in liquid, but they have very little to no flavor, so if used in a recipe or as a topping, you’ll hardly notice that you’re eating them. Once you frequently start consuming chia seeds, you will quickly notice benefits such as increased energy and digestive regularity. Being an incredible source of fiber, a single ounce of chia seeds has nearly half of the daily recommended requirement of fiber. They have more iron than spinach, more potassium than bananas, and more antioxidant strength than blueberries.
One of my favorite health benefits of eating chia seeds is muscle and tissue regeneration. They contain more calcium than milk and are the richest plant-based source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Increasing your intake of omega-3 fats can reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Although they are small, flax seeds must be ground so our bodies can digest the nutrients protected by their hard shells. Flax meal offers a nutty flavor and creates a smooth gel when mixed with liquid; hence, it makes a nice addition to baked goods especially if you’re looking for an inexpensive egg substitute.
An ounce of flax seeds contains nearly 8 grams of fiber and 12 grams of fatty acids, as well as about one quarter of daily recommended requirement of magnesium for increased energy. Some research has shown that consuming flax seeds as part of a healthy diet can lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
About half a cup of sunflower seeds has more than 100% of the daily recommended requirement of vitamin E, which is packed with alpha-tocopherol, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from UV damage. They are also a great source of the amino acid phenylalanine, which is used by the brain as an anti-depressant and will help keep you focused and alert.
Once shelled, sunflower seeds are very versatile. They can be eaten raw or toasted, put on salads, in breads, in trail mixes…you can even use them to make raw vegan cheese. Another one of my favorites is sunflower seed butter, a great butter replacement if you’re going dairy free or vegan.