If you're wondering how to instantly eat healthier meals, seeds can be your answer. Seeds are so easy to incorporate into your meals that not including them to your meals would mean you're missing out on dozens of nutritional benefits. Seeds are great sources of nutritional content such as fiber, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants. The best part? All you have to do is sprinkle them onto your food!
Here are five of the best healthy seeds that you can add to your diet effortlessly.
Flaxseed is considered to be one of the oldest crops that has been cultivated since the beginning of civilization. It's been used for clothing, papers, and animal feed, but after the nutritional benefits of flaxseed were discovered, its biologically active compounds began to gain increased interest in the field of health and nutrition. Flaxseed is either brown or gold, with a smooth and shiny exterior. Its mucilaginous substance on the skin makes flaxseed sticky when wet.
The high content of dietary fiber and fatty acid in flaxseed has given it the "superfood" title in the nutrition world. The dietary fiber in flaxseed helps regulate your digestive system and also boosts your metabolism. The omega-3 fatty acids also help to protect you from heart disease, high cholesterol, and other degenerative diseases.
2. Sesame seeds
Another old player in the culinary world, sesame seed is also one of the oldest known cultivated plants in the world. This seed was first identified in Babylon and Assyria some 4000 years ago, and apparently it was so highly prized that it served as a symbol of immortality in Hindu legend. Sesame seeds have a mild but sweet flavor accompanied by nutty endnotes when consumed. To bring out their flavor, it's recommended that you heat them a little bit so that they're nice and toasted.
Sesame seeds are rich in several nutrients, namely protein, fiber, healthy fats, calcium, vitamins B and E, and antioxidants. The protein and calcium support muscle and growth, whilst the vitamins in sesame seeds help protect your body from the damage of free radicals. Healthy fats help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol - promoting overall heart health.
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds were believed to have originated from Central America, used as a staple for the ancient Aztec diet. Here's a weird bit of trivia: chia seed is actually from the same family as mint! Recently, chia seed has been growing in popularity thanks to its rich nutrients and versatility. Chia seed is one of those food ingredients that you can just add into your recipe without really altering much of the taste; you can even stir them your next glass of water and drink it!
Like most seeds, chia is also very high in omega-3 fatty acids, making them excellent at regulating cholesterol levels and maintaining heart health. Not only that, but you can also get minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc in chia seeds. These minerals can help with growth, immune system, and reducing oxidative stress inside your body.
4. Hemp Seeds
Although not as famous as other seeds on this list, hemp seeds have also been dubbed as another one of the "superfoods". And don't worry, although it does come from the same Cannabis sativa plant as does marijuana, hemp seeds do not produce any mind-altering effects. Hemp seeds are small and light colored, with a flavor reminiscent of sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Their pleasantly nutty taste makes them a delicious addition to breakfast bowls and smoothies.
Hemp seeds are packed full of protein that is essential for growth and cell regeneration. They also have high omega-3 contents making them beneficial for heart health and maintaining cholesterol levels. Hemp seeds also have a decent amount of fiber that helps to keep regulating your digestive system. Furthermore, hemp seeds have shown to have protective properties on your brain and neurological condition, thus preventing diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.
5. Pepita (Pumpkin) Seeds
Next time when you're carving your pumpkins for Halloween, don't forget to save the seeds because, as it turns out, they have lots of health benefits! This powerful seed (or pepitas, as more commonly known in America) came from Mexico and has been cultivated since 7000 BC, making it the oldest known plant on our list! Even during those times, pumpkin seed's medicinal benefits were highly recognized. It's said that in ancient times, pumpkin seeds were given to sick people to expel toxic elements and parasites from the body.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium that's very important for our health. Increased consumption of pumpkin seeds has been shown to improve bone density. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which help prevent inflammation and boost the immune system. Like all the other seeds on this list, pumpkin seeds are also high in healthy oils or fats. So they're also great at reducing your risks of high cholesterol and heart diseases. Finally, the fiber in pumpkin seeds can also improve digestion and helps you maintain a healthy weight.