May 25

Useful seeds to add to your diet

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You only need a few seeds each day to reap a heap of health benefits like stabilised blood sugar, heart-healthy fats, protein, fibre, zinc, iron and vitamins.

The different kinds of seeds provide different kinds of benefits so it is good to get a good mix of seeds. Here are seven different kinds of regular seeds that are easy to incorporate in your everyday diet. You need not consume all the different kinds every day — pick a couple and rotate them.

Healthy seeds

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acid – ALA. The body can’t produce ALA, so you must get it from your diet. It helps the body fight inflammation. Chia seeds are also a good source of protein for a vegan diet. They are rich in iron, calcium, zinc and other minerals. These seeds are popularly eaten as a pudding. There are many chia seed pudding recipes available online.

The simplest way is to eat them is to soak them in milk for a few hours or overnight, chop in a banana or any fruit of choice and enjoy. You can also sprinkle them on salads or include in smoothies.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are a good source of protein, fibre and fatty acids. The ALA fatty acids found in these seeds are good for heart health and have been linked to lower stroke risks. The fibre is good for digestive health and helps maintain regular bowel movement. They are said to help lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar.

To reap the full benefits of these seeds, opt for the ground kind — they are easier for the body to digest. Use them in your smoothies, as a substitute for eggs when baking, sprinkle on salads or cereal or sprinkle them in your drinking water. There are many ways to enjoy these very versatile seeds.

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Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants, potassium, zinc, iron, vitamin B2 and folate. They are also a good form of magnesium, which is good for bone health and helps decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. They contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which, combined with the antioxidants and fiber, assist with heart and liver health.

A study has shown that having a handful of pumpkin seeds alongside a small amount of carbohydrates before bed helps produce melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleep.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in fats that are anti-inflammatory and help with heart health. They are a good source of zinc, folate and vitamin E. Zinc helps boost the immune system and plays a role as an antioxidant.

Sunflower seeds help lower blood cholesterol levels. They are high in fibre, which helps with digestive health.

Enjoy these seeds in your baking and cereals. Just make sure that they are hulled as the shell may cause constipation.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds contain lignans and phytosterol, which help lower blood cholesterol. They may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. They are a good source of protein.

Sesame seeds are high in magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants. They are also shown to be anti-inflammatory. They contain vitamins C and B.

Enjoy them in your smoothies, granolas, stir-fries, salads and many other ways; they are quite versatile.

Hemp Seeds

They are a great source of protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, iron, zinc, calcium and many other minerals. They are good for heart health and boost the immune system. They are said to help reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause. They are, also, high in fibre.

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Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are a good source of fibre, fatty acids, iron, copper, potassium amongst many other vitamins and minerals. They are good for digestive, heart and bone health. They assist with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.

You can include them in your baking, salads and cooking.

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