Size most definitely doesn’t matter when it comes to the benefits of seeds.
Besides feeding birds, seeds can be incorporated into our diet to give what we’re eating a boost not just in flavour but nutrients! Adding some seeds into your salads, smoothies or just over some yogurt is easy to do and doesn’t require a lot to get that extra ‘oomph’.
Here are some great selection of seeds to consider adding to your favourite foods to help you reap the maximum nutritional benefits.
1 tablespoon of this packs 10 grams of fibre which increases your satiety when eating especially if it’s added to something else. Feeling full for longer helps curb snacking especially if you are trying to lose weight. Do remember to drink plenty of water after consuming lots of fibre to prevent constipation. Chia seeds also contain protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and omega-3 fats in the form of alpha linolenic acids.
Sunflower seeds, or more commonly known as kuaci are inexpensive and are a good source of unsaturated fats and minerals such as magnesium, copper and manganese which are integral in our bone health and bodily functions. This is also a great source of vitamin E which helps to maintain healthy eyes, skin and also helps shore up the immune system’s defences. If you find it difficult to practice portion control when it comes to these delicious seeds, buy them unshelled to slow you down.
The best way to reap the benefits of flax seeds is to buy them already ground into something called flaxseed meal. Just 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides you with 1 to 2 grams of soluble fibre which helps move your bowels along. Additionally, flax seeds are great sources of plant-based omega-3 fats which is great news especially for vegetarians and vegans because omega-3 is mostly found in fish oils, eggs and dairy products.
Prominent in many cuisines, sesame seeds are a great source of dietary minerals such as copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron and dietary fibre. Sesame seeds also contain lignans which have been found to lower cholesterol in humans and prevent hypertension. Sprinkle some over your salads to add a little nuttiness and jazz up the flavour profile. To change it up a little, try tahini or sesame seed paste which has the texture of peanut butter but is used as a dip or mixed with other things to make hummus.
Pumpkins seeds are a plant food that has been associated with decreasing the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds contain about 25% of our recommended daily intake of magnesium which helps to maintain nerve and muscle function, steady heartbeat and strong bones. Tryptophan which is found in pumpkin seeds is an amino acid that has been used to treat chronic insomnia. Try having a few pumpkin seeds before sleeping with a piece of fruit to help melatonin production and improve your quality of sleep.
All in all, they may be small but these seeds certainly do pack a punch! Remember, before going out and purchasing all these seeds at once, ensure that you’re not allergic to any of them. Do also check with your medical practitioner especially if you’re currently taking medication for any pre-existing condition to prevent any interactions.