While the latest trend of eating papaya seeds to treat intestinal parasites might be nothing more than just a baseless claim, there are plenty of other super-seeds that are actually loaded with nutrients. Here are seven healthy options that you should add to your diet immediately.
Two tablespoons of flax seeds contain four grams of protein and six grams of fibre. The seeds are rich in antioxidants and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. ALA can improve your cardiovascular health and may reduce the risk of a stroke. Flax seeds are also an excellent source of lignan, which is a plant compound and is believed to prevent the growth of tumour cells. You can always bake the seeds into muffins and cookies but a healthier way of consuming them is by sprinkling on top of your salads, smoothies, cereal or soups.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain about ten grams of fibre along with protein, antioxidants, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. They are also an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids that helps keep your cholesterol levels in check. When soaked in water, these tiny seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight and are perfect to add to your puddings and smoothies. You can also add them on top of your breakfast cereal, yoghurt or fruit salad.
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The seemingly tiny seeds are packed with a wide array of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and copper. Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds can pack upto 20 percent protein and lots of fibre. They are a mainstay in Japanese cuisine and can be commonly found sprinkled on burger buns and bagels. Because of their crunchy texture and nutty aroma, they make for the perfect sprinkle on salads and stir fry dishes.
Sunflower seeds are packed with Vitamin E, protein, fibre, phytochemicals, selenium, magnesium and copper. They are high in healthy fats and have a nutty, crunchy texture which makes them an ideal substitute for those who are allergic to nuts. You can incorporate them in your muffin and bread recipes or mix them in your vegetable based dishes. Crushed sunflower seeds also make a delicious, gluten-free coating for several food items that require flour. While these seeds have a wide range of benefits, commercial varieties may be laced with sodium to enhance their flavour and therefore, should be avoided.
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Poppy seeds might be very small, but only one teaspoon can contain up to four percent of your recommended daily intake of iron, calcium and phosphorus. Iron is great for your immune system and the other two minerals are essential to build healthy bones. Poppy seeds are rich in fibre and are also a great source of oleic acid and Omega-3 fatty acids. Just like other seeds, they make for a good salad dressing and can also be sprinkled on top of pancakes, muffins and vegetables dishes for a healthy crunch.
Besides being a good source of Omega-3 and protein, pumpkin seeds are also rich in fibre and minerals. Two tablespoons contain about 25 percent of the daily recommended dietary allowance of magnesium and 8 percent that of iron. The presence of zinc in pumpkin seeds helps in boosting your immune system. They are also believed to help induce better sleep because of the abundance of tryptophan, an amino acid. The seeds make for a great snack and can be added to homemade granola and energy bars. One can also opt for a conventional way of introducing them into their diet by baking them into muffins, mixing them with smoothies or sprinkling them on top of oatmeal.
These tiny brown seeds are packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that are known to help maintain your cardiovascular health. Hemp milk is a great vegan alternative and only two tablespoons of the hemp seeds contain about ten grams of easily digestible protein. They have a mild, nutty flavour and can be eaten on their own as a snack. One can also sprinkle them on top of toasts, salads or breakfast cereal. Mixing them in smoothies and pancake batters is another great way of consuming these nutritiously dense seeds.
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