Seeds- Precious little packages of nutrient splendour
Seeds although tiny are nutritional powerhouses. They are packed with protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A seed is a complete food as it contains nutrients required to start a new life. Adding a handful of seeds to the daily diet can pack a powerful health punch, offering a wide variety of nutritional and health benefits. They also have a low glycemic index and release energy slowly. They can be consumed as a snack, added to breakfast cereal, salads, energy bars, soups and many other dishes.
Here are four healthy seeds to boost your nutrition:
Pumpkin seeds- these seeds are rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron. They also contain antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds have anti inflammatory properties. They also help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure and are known to promote heart health. In addition to this they also improve bone health and prostrate health. The vitamin E and zinc content of these seeds benefits eyes, hair and skin. They also boost immune functions.
Enjoy these tasty seeds as a snack or add them to your breakfast cereal or salads.
Sunflower seeds- are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are an excellent source of vitamin E, folate, iron, magnesium, protein and dietary fibre. They boost metabolism, immunity, and cardiovascular health. They are packed with antioxidants and good for skin, hair and eyes. They help prevent cancer, control blood sugar, and promote healthy digestion and a healthy nervous system. They are high in linoleic acid needed for the maintenance of cell membranes.
These seeds can be added to many dishes, tossed in salads or cereals or just consumed as a healthy snack.
Chia seeds – These tiny seeds have recently gained attention as they are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition they are
rich in good quality protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium,
iron, magnesium and zinc. Being high in fibre and protein with low calories they benefit weight loss. They are good for the heart and also benefit diabetics as they help slow digestion. Chia seeds have a natural cooling effect on the body. They help nourish the skin and are also good for bone health and a healthy digestive tract.
They develop a gelatinous texture when soaked and are often added to drinks, salads and other dishes. They can also be sprinkled on cereal, yogurt and vegetables.
Sesame seeds – are a good source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, B vitamins and dietary fibre. They are also rich in antioxidants. They are known to reduce blood pressure, protect against liver damage, and prevent conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma and migraines.
Sesame seeds can be tossed into salads, breakfast cereals and stir fries. They can be added to chapatti / roti dough, or while making parathas they can also be sprinkled on steamed vegetables or sandwiches. Tahini a paste made from sesame seeds can be used as a substitute for mayonnaise in sandwiches and wraps. Sesame seeds are also added to baked items like breads, pastries, cakes and biscuits.
Seeds are gaining popularity amongst the health conscious, who are looking to boost their health and nutrition. Although seeds are healthy snacks, make sure you control your portions if you are watching your weight as they are usually high in fat. They are nutrient dense so you don’t have to eat a lot to benefit from them. Eat them on a daily basis and benefit from these little packages of nutrient splendour.