Food Facts Friday: The Power of SeedsArticle posted in: Nutrition
If you’re new to the powers of seeds, you might be surprised to learn that these tiny superfoods are bursting with healthy micronutrients that will treat your body right. Because of their numerous health benefits, seeds are making waves as a smart way to add a lot of nutritional value to your meals without much preparation, expertise or expense.
Tasty and versatile, seeds are full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients with beneficial effects that can facilitate weight loss. Incorporating protein-rich seeds such as chia, sesame, flax or pumpkin into your diet can offer many benefits including hunger control and an increased metabolism for a healthier lifestyle.
Whether you want to throw them on a salad or eat them on their own, a serving of seeds a day can do great things for your body. Learn more about these amazing little pre-plant powerhouses including their many health benefits and how you can eat them.
Here are six of the many benefits of seeds:
1. They contain protein and fiber for energy and weight loss
Dense and hearty, seeds can be a filling snack or smart add-on to a meal. Chia seeds, for example, have around only 138 calories per ounce and almost five grams of protein! That’s a lot of energy from just a few little seeds making them perfect to put on salads, oatmeal or in a smoothie for an extra boost throughout the day. You’ll also get a little over nine grams of fiber which will make you feel fuller for longer so you can avoid snacking, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
2. They can be good sources of complex carbs for hunger control.
Seeds contain complex carbohydrates (most of which are from fiber), that are good for you and can help prevent your blood sugar from crashing (you know that 2:00 PM feeling). Since we mentioned seeds are full of protein and fiber, they will fill you up and help you avoid cravings, according to One Green Planet. Complex carbs found in chia, sesame and flax seeds are also known for aiding digestion, increasing energy and improving your metabolism to promote weight loss.
3. They often contain zinc to help build and tone muscle.
Pumpkin and sesame seeds are high in zinc, the mineral essential to cell growth in your body. When you feel that burn after a workout, that’s your cells repairing and rebuilding muscle in your body aided by zinc! Increasing your zinc intake can accelerate your body’s ability to grow and repair muscle, which in turn, burns more calories to support weight loss. Zinc also helps to boost your immune system and ward off disease, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
4. They are good sources of omega-3s and antioxidants for disease prevention.
According to Harvard School of Public Health, Sesame, flax and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and amino acids which support many body functions to offer numerous health benefits. Omega-3’s have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and are known to prevent a number of chronic diseases as well. Antioxidants found in pumpkin and chia seeds give these seeds anti-inflammatory powers while improving the look of your skin and hair. Certain antioxidants found in these seeds facilitate cell repair, a process involved in cancer prevention.
5. They contain a lot of essential vitamins and minerals.
Since seeds have all the workings inside them to become future plants, they are dense with beneficial vitamins, minerals and nutrients which are rarely all found together in other foods. Full of calcium for bone health, seeds also contain many vitamins such as A, B, E and D along with minerals like potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium, just to name a few. All of these amazing nutrients found inside seeds offer endless positive effects to many different parts of the body to enhance your metabolism, brain function, nervous system, immune health, digestion and more, according to On Health.
6. You can eat seeds easily in many ways!
Generally speaking, a small handful is a good guide when reaching for a serving of seeds—which is around an ounce. Some seeds, like chia and flax, are easier to eat if you soak them first—since they can absorb almost twice their size in water, they will keep you hydrated and feeling fuller.
Chia or pumpkin seeds can go great with just about any type of fruit smoothie or shake for added protein and flavor. You can also throw some seeds on oatmeal, yogurt or pudding as an easy topping. For a more savory meal, try using seeds as a coating for baked chicken or as a topping for salads and soups. If you want to get fancy, you can even make your own spread out of sesame or chia seeds.