Don’t be fooled, although they may be small in size, seeds are anything but small when it comes to their nutritional value! Eating more of them has been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits. What’s more, they are extremely easy to incorporate into your diet, whether as a tasty snack or as addition to many different recipes.
Seeds are great sources of plant-based, healthy fats, fibre and minerals. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins and antioxidants.
Carry on reading to discover why you need to be adding more seeds to your diet, today!
Chia seeds are often labelled as being a superfood – and with good reason! They are packed full of fibre, protein, and many important nutrients and antioxidants. Antioxidants benefit human health by neutralizing reactive molecules known as free radicals, which can contribute to aging and diseases. They are also one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for healthy brain function. One 30g serving contains approximately 5g of omega 3s!
Chia seeds are incredibly easy to add to your diet, as they’re ready to eat and have a very subtle flavour. Sprinkle them over smoothies, porridge and yoghurt, or mix them into recipes such as bread and muffins.
Want to read more about the health benefits of chia seeds? Check out Are Chia Seeds Good for You?
Sesame seeds are very small seeds that grow in pods on the Sesamum indicum plant. Their oil content is one of the highest of any seed. You can purchase them hulled or Unhulled and they are grown in a variety of colours.
Not only are Sesame seeds a good source of minerals and fibre, they’re also high in selenium, an antioxidant shown to decrease the risk of chronic disease. There is a compound found in sesame seeds called Sesamin, that may help reduce joint pain and improve arthritis of the knee due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Sesame seeds can be eaten raw, or if you’re wanting to bring out more of their natural nutty flavour you can bake or toast them. Perhaps most commonly known as a topping on burger buns, bagels and breadsticks, sesame seeds can actually be used in a variety of ways. They can also be tossed into salads, juices, soups or turned into Tahini, which is also known as sesame seed paste.
Probably one of the most popular edible seed varieties around are Pumpkin seeds. Consuming just a small quantity of them can provide you with a substantial amount of magnesium, zinc, healthy fats and antioxidants. Other health benefits they may include are improved heart health, lower blood sugar and possibly aiding in better sleep.
They are very versatile, you can eat them raw, salted, roast them, or bake them! Besides eating them on their own as a snack, they can also be incorporated into many meals. Try sprinkling them over your yogurt, cereal or incorporate them into smoothie mixtures. They can also be added to most baked goods.
For a more in depth look at the advantages of adding pumpkin seeds to your diet, have a read of our article Pumpkin Seeds a Trick or a Treat?
Hemp seeds are small brown seeds which originate from the hemp plant, they can be purchased either in a whole or shelled varieties.
Hemp seeds are a great source of vitamin E and potassium. They also have the most protein of all the seeds and are rich in healthy omega-6 and omega-3 fats. As hemp seeds are one of the few plants that is a complete protein source, they contain all nine essential amino acids. This makes hemp seeds a valuable addition to any vegetarian or vegan diet.
They can be added to soups, stews and salads or used to make hummus and dips. As they have a slightly nutty flavour, they can be used in place of nuts in many recipes like baked goods or energy bars. Hemp seeds can even be turned into hemp milk, which is a great dairy-free alternative to milk.
Poppy seeds are a type of oilseed that is taken from the opium poppy plant. The seeds can be used whole or ground into meal as an ingredient in many foods, they can also be pressed to make poppyseed oil.
Poppy seeds have quite a unique, aromatic flavour that works well in both sweet and savoury dishes. Add them to baked goods such as muffins, scones and cakes or on top of bread and pastries. They can also be sprinkled over vegetables and added to salad dressings for some extra crunch.
Like most of the seeds on this list, poppy seeds are high in fibre, plant fats, and various other nutrients. Poppy seeds are especially rich in manganese, which is a trace element that is vital for blood clotting along with bone health. Manganese also aids your body in utilizing amino acids, carbs, and fats.