EDIBLE SEEDS: TINY BUT SUPER HEALTHY
Seeds have become the latest culinary trend—from eating them right out of the bag to sprinkling them on your cereal, into sauces or salads, or including in breads.
I’ve researched seeds in a few online sources and would like to share what I found with you.
Seeds are the extra-nutritious embryonic plant material that will develop into vegetables (pumpkin), flowers (sunflowers) or crops (flax and hemp). Seeds are terrific sources of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, some protein and important vitamins and minerals.
Here are 6 tasty favorites:
Flax is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They also help reduce your blood pressure and your LDL cholesterol and even lower the risk for some cancers. However, the fibrous outer shell makes them hard to digest so it’s best to eat them ground.
Add a tablespoon or two of ground flax to oatmeal, smoothies, soup, or yogurt. Or substitute ground flaxseed for part of the flour in breads, muffins, and bread.
Chia seeds, like flaxseeds, are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They also help lower blood sugar and reduce risk for heart disease. These tiny black seeds—which are related to mint—have become ultra-popular in the past few years.
You can use chia seeds in the same way as flaxseeds. And because they can absorb both water and fat you can also use them to thicken sauces and as a substitute for eggs in recipes.
These popular seeds are a great source of protein, omega-6 fats, magnesium and phosphorous. They may help heart health and urinary and prostate disorders.
Don’t toss out the pumpkin seeds in your jack-o’-lantern this Halloween. Roast and eat them as a crunchy snack. You can also use them in stews, in salads or with polenta.
Eating these seeds is terrific for vegetarians; They are one of the few plants that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids your body can’t make on its own, thus are a complete protein source. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil also may help reduce symptoms related to eczema and may be beneficial to heart health.
Eating shelled hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, is as simple as sprinkling a spoonful or two into smoothies or on top of cereal, salads, or yogurt. People with gluten sensitivity can use hemp seeds as a substitute for breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish. You can also use it as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. And, because of its nutty flavor, dry-roasted hemp seeds make a great substitute for people with nut allergies.
By eating sesame seeds you’ll get a high percentage of your daily need for both iron and zinc. Studies have also shown that if eaten regularly they reduce muscle damage in athletes and also reduce symptoms of arthritis.
You can toast and eat them on their own. Or you can mix ground sesame paste (tahini) with warm water and lemon juice and use it as a creamy dressing. Plus sesame seeds are a major ingredient in hummus.
Sunflower seeds contain high levels of monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, which provides antioxidant and immune-boosting effects. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E.
If they’ve been unshelled, sunflower seeds are terrific straight out of the bag. (Otherwise, just spit out the shell before eating.) You can also use them in making up a trail mix, sprinkle them on baked goods or add them to your granola or in salads.
Most days of the week I have a dish of Trader Joe’s muesli, which contains sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (plus other ingredients) along with yogurt and a banana.
No matter how you enjoy seeds—on their own or in salads, cereal or baked goods—you’ll get not only get extra flavors but also extra-healthy nutrients in your diet.
For the joy of it, check out this YouTube video of the Seed Cathedral—the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010.
NEWS I’ve begun making a series of YouTube videos. My channel name is Generation Fit! Senior Fitness and I’m covering the same topics as this Generation Fit blog.
Here are the three videos I’ve uploaded so far:
1) Senior Fitness in Coronavirus Time
2) Overcome Your Stumbling Blocks to Getting Fit
3) Yes, You Can Lose Weight AND Keep it Off
I’ll be adding a 4th video next week: Why Functional Fitness is Important for Seniors