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Superfood seeds may be small but they are certainly mighty and their importance in a healthy diet should not be overlooked. Not only highly nutritious, healthy seeds are exceptionally versatile and can bring extra interest to almost any food you can think of. Lets take a look at just why seeds are so nutritious, and then explore some popular varieties in detail.
The benefits of healthy seeds
Seeds contain everything needed to grow a entire plant. For this reason they are highly concentrated sources of nutrition. Although each variety of seed has its own particular nutritional strength, they do all fit into a general profile.
- Seeds are good sources of (often complete) protein.
- Seeds are full of fibre, both soluble and insoluble.
- Seeds are good sources of healthy fats and essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3.
- Seeds are good sources of protective antioxidants
- Seeds have an excellent mineral profile
- Seeds are packed with healthy vitamins such as B and E vitamins.
As part of a healthy balanced diet seeds can help you to maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Eat as wide a variety of healthy seeds as possible in order to maximise their nutritional benefits.
Take a look at our detailed guide to superfoods for more information on boosting your nutritional health with powerful foods.
What superfood seeds should I include in my healthy diet?
These tiny little seeds are the kings of the super seed world. They are packed with omega-3 which can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Full of fibre, both soluble and insoluble, they are great for stabilising blood sugar levels as well as maintaining digestive health. Chia also has an impressive mineral profile, particularly calcium and magnesium, and comes with a good supply of antioxidant plant chemicals too.
But chia’s super power is it’s ability to absorb up to 8 times their weight in water. Not only does this help to keep us fuller for longer, but involves some truly amazing properties too. Mucilage is only found in a comparatively few plants (okra is one of them which explains why it can be slimy) and it helps them to retain water. So not only is chia a great thickening agent but the mucilage itself is a really beneficial form of soluble fibre that supports the health of our digestive tract. Leave the seeds to soak in water for around 15 minutes and the seeds swell, surrounding themselves with a jelly like layer.
Chia has a neutral flavour that means it goes well with just about anything. Add the seeds to a smoothie for a super thick shake (you will need to leave it to stand so the seeds can work their magic) or mix with cocoa and yoghurt for a chia chocolate pudding (again, you will need to leave it aside to thicken). Even without making use of their gelling properties, chia seeds are great simply sprinkled over porridge or cereal for a little extra crunch.
Hemp seeds are know for their perfect balance of omega-3, -6, and -9 essential fatty acids. They are also a source of complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. This is just one of the reasons that they are valued so highly as a plant based protein powder.
Hemp seeds are one of the few seeds that make a successful ‘seed milk’. Blitzed together with water they blend to a smooth liquid with creamy qualities that can be used in the same way as any plant milk.
An excellent source of fibre, hemp seeds also contain phytosterols (plant hormones) that can help promote hormonal balance. So they are an excellent food for PMS and menopausal symptoms.
Note that you won’t be able to sprout hemp seeds as they are sold deactivated.
Flax seeds, also known as linseeds, are another of the major superfood seeds. Also known best for its balance of omega -3, -6, and -9, flax is possibly of most value in its ability to balance hormone levels, which is why you will find it in food products marketed for women. It does this through a particular group of antioxidant phytochemicals known as lignans.
Linseeds are a good source of protein, a well as both soluble and insoluble fibre. Like chia, flax is mucilaginous and therefore makes a great binder or thickener. This also makes it useful as a vegan egg substitute in baking. It does need to be ground in order to release its nutrients.
As well as helpful in balancing hormones, flax is also a rich source of vitamin E which is vital for healthy skin; something that can be problematic when hormones are out of whack. So a nice example of natures symmetry right there. The soluble fibre helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood as well as balance blood sugar levels.
Like most seeds, flax has a mild nutty flavour that becomes more pronounced when toasted.
Sesame seeds may not have the nutritional superpowers of some of the other seeds, but they do have some special qualities of their own. The plant hormones sesamin and sesamolin are shown to protect the liver from toxins and help to lower blood pressure. They are also a great source of vitamin E as well as very high in calcium. Sesame is also rich in a variety of minerals including zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and selenium.
There is little nutritional difference between black and white sesame seeds and both are an excellent addition to your arsenal of ingredients. Both benefit from being slightly toasted in a dry frying pan, but be careful to watch them as they turn from toasty to burnt in a matter of milliseconds.
This is another seed that is lower down in the superfood status stakes yet is still an excellent source of nutrients and is of great culinary value. What pumpkin seeds may lack in superfood credentials (compared to say chia, or hemp) they more than make up for in texture, taste and flavour.
If linseeds can be considered as the women’s super seed, then pumpkin seeds might just be the seed for men. High in zinc, they are thought to be good for male fertility and the prevention of prostate problems. They are also a good source of magnesium and, like most seeds, are full of protein, fibre, and essential fatty acids.
Have you tried our organic LSA mix of linseeds, sunflower seeds and almond, with added probiotics? It is a great source of super convenient superfoods!
Explore our range of healthy seeds within the superfood section of our site.
This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Superfoods wholesalers”.
See original article:- Superfood Seeds are Super Healthy