The 5 healthiest super seeds (& delicious ways to eat them)

Posted in Nutrition

For little guys, seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch. The buzz about superfoods such as chia, flax and hemp aren’t just hype - these mighty little packages are loaded with dietary fibre, protein, healthy fats and plenty of antioxidants.

Start sprinkling these five nutrient-rich seeds into your dishes to supercharge your diet and your health.

1. Chia seeds
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds deliver a mammoth amount of nutrients. Think iron, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fibre and you’re just brushing the service. These earthy-tasting seeds are full of bone-boosting calcium, quality protein and even lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. No wonder the Azteks loved them.

How to eat them:
Pop these mighty little seeds into smoothies, granolas, muffins, salads, or overnight puddings (they give a fascinating frogspawn-like texture when you do this). These ginger citrus chia cups by look stunning topped with pistachios and goji berries.

2. Pumpkin seeds
Grab a handful of pumpkin seeds when you’re feeling peckish and you’ll be upping your intake of iron, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium and protein. Pumpkin seeds are also loaded with free-radical scavenging antioxidants and a high concentration of the amino acid tryptophan - which helps lower anxiety levels.

How to eat them:
Roast them, spice them, candy them… pumpkin seeds are highly versatile. Garnish soups and salads, rice pudding and baked goods with them. This comforting sweet potato and tempeh stew by The Kitchn is topped with a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

3. Sesame seeds
These mini nutritional powerhouses are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. The seeds are exceptionally high in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, selenium and dietary fibre. They’re loaded with antioxidants, rich in protein and have been shown to lower cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure. Sesame is also a great source of zinc - which is great for bones as well as sexual health in men (it boosts testosterone and sperm production).

How to eat them:
Toasting amplifies the nutty, delicate crunch of these flat oval seeds - which makes them perfect for salads. Give this sesame chicken salad by The Pioneer Woman a try - just look at them colours!

4. Flaxseed
Nutty flax is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid (plant-based omega-3 fatty acids) in the world. This nutty superfood (sometimes called linseed) is also the number one source of cancer-thwarting compounds called lignans (with sesame coming second). High in fibre but low in carbs, the mighty seeds make you feel fuller for longer and are a great source of soluble fibre and lower cholesterol, too.

How to eat them:
Ground flaxseeds are ideal added to smoothies, porridge, yoghurt, bread and other baked goods. This peanut butter flaxseed pancake recipe from The Minimalist Baker is absolutely on our ‘to-bake’ list.

5. Hemp seeds
Say hello to the perfect protein. Hemp seeds not only contain all 20 amino acids, but also each of the nine essential amino acids our bodies are unable to produce. As if that unique quality wasn’t enough, hemp contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and phytosterols (which lower cholesterol). You may have also seen hemp oil used in beauty products - and that’s down to its ability to penetrate inner layers of skin and promote healthy cell growth for lovely, smooth skin.

How to eat them:
From energy bars and baked goods, to salads and dressings; there’s plenty of ways to up your hemp intake. Try whipping up these chewy superfood hemp protein bars by Nutrition Stripped for your next post-gym fix.

Posted in Nutrition