Seeds may be small in size, but they provide a wallop in health-promoting nutrients. Best of all you need only eat a 2 tablespoon serving to reap their benefits. Here are some favorites and delicious ways to include them in your diet.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium and provide minerals copper & zinc that the body needs to make superoxide dismutase (SOD)—a hero in combatting inflammation and disease. Add with scallions when cooking brown rice, combine in stir-fries, use tahini (sesame paste) in hummus or smoothies, sprinkle on steamed veggies or add to braised greens.
Sunflower seeds are high in antioxidant superhero vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitmain that helps protect the heart and brain, and keeps cholesterol in check. Mix in salmon or chicken salads for added crunch, bake into whole grain banana bread and muffins, and process into a creamy butter and enjoy with crunchy apples or celery.
Pumpkin seeds are abundant in immunity-boosting zinc and sleep-supporting magnesium. Enjoy as a snack out-of-hand, roast with savory spices and add to soups and stews, or make into pesto with your favorite greens.
Flaxseed is rich in a type of fiber called lignan that protects against cancer and oxidative damage to cells. Mix equal amounts of flaxseed oil and extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, or grind seeds and add to smoothies, yogurt or cooked grains for an added boost. Flaxseed is highly perishable so keep in the fridge.
Hemp seeds are an excellend source of satisfying protein, containing 9 grams per 1 ounce (appx 2 tablespoons). Mix with steelcut oatmeal to make a filling breakfast and blend into smoothies to add creaminess. Note—hulled hemp seeds are also called hemp hearts.
Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber, antioxidant mineral selenium and heart-loving omega-3 fatty acids. They gel when added to liquid due to the soluble fiber content and water-loving outer shell. Make a nutritious refrigerator jam by mixing 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to 2-3 cups of lightly cooked and cooled raspberries, blackberries or strawberries. Chill in the fridge and enjoy over yogurt or porridge.
Look for organic, raw seeds, seed butters or seed oils in the grocery’s bulk section and natural food aisle. Store in airtight containers in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator.