Today I’m celebrating the awesome-ness of seeds. Spring is a perfect time to introduce yourself to seeds as they are synonymous with new growth and vitality. Seeds are powerhouses of nutrition and contain the life-force of creating a new plant. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, protein, and good fats. You really get the most bang for your buck when you eat seeds because they are so nutritious and versatile.
There’s an abundance of beautiful edible seeds available. If you aren’t already including some seeds in your diet I encourage you to start now (unless you have a condition called ‘diverticulitis‘ which causes pain after eating seeds). Use fresh whole seeds, or freshly grind them before consuming to enhance the absorption of their nutrients. Here are a few of my favourite choices:.
Pumpkin or squash seeds
Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, protein, magnesium and omega 3 fats. Zinc is beneficial for supporting the immune system and prostate health (hear that, men?). Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein) that turns into serotonin in the brain (a neuro-transmitter that makes you feel happy) and melatonin (a hormone that helps you fall asleep). Roast pumpkin seeds in the shell for extra fibre, or get them raw (shelled and green) and have them as a snack or sprinkled onto salads/soups/dips/etc. Pumpkin seed protein powder is also available!
These little beauties are the bomb. You can get black or white chia seeds, with little to no nutritional difference – they both don’t really have a taste! Chia seeds are absolutely full of omega 3 fats which help decrease inflammation in your body. Chia is also high in calcium, protein, and soluble fibre, which means that it absorbs water and forms a gel-like texture. This is good for 2 reasons: First, consuming soluble fibre helps decrease cholesterol levels, keeps you full longer, and helps with bowel movements. Second, this gel-forming ability is an asset in the kitchen – you can make (or thicken) puddings, jams, jellies and dips all by just adding chia seeds! I like to sprinkle chia seeds on my salads and oatmeal. Check out my chia berry jam recipe for some inspiration 🙂
Hemp seeds are deliciously nutty tasting, and have a soft chewy texture. I usually blend them in smoothies, sprinkle on salads, and bake with them, but I am finding lots more recipes with hemp thanks to this website. Today I made “hemp maple butter” to put on pancakes by blending hemp seeds, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract, and it was DELICIOUS! Hemp seeds are full of omega 3 fats, are a complete vegetarian source of protein, and contain magnesium to help calm the body and mind.
I didn’t realize sesame seeds were so incredible until I read this book. Not sure why it took me so long to re-discover the benefits of sesame seeds but now that I have, I continuously keep a jar of them in my cupboard! My favourite fact is that they are a rich source of calcium which is important in keeping bones and teeth strong. They lower cholesterol with “sesamin”, a fibre compound naturally present.They also improve your vitamin E status, which is a powerful anti-oxidant.
Flax seeds offer a rich source of omega 3 fats, soluble and insoluble fibre to help decrease cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control, and act as phytoestrogens (plant-sourced molecules that act like mild estrogens in the body – good for pre/post-menopausal ladies!). Flax seeds have also shown anti-microbial abilities and have been researched immensely in cancer prevention. Flax seeds taste a little bit nutty and are versatile in almost every aspect of cooking. You can add them to baked goods, use them as egg substitutes in vegetarian recipes, or sprinkle into everything you eat. As the seeds are so small, using ground flaxseed is usually recommended in order to not miss the nutrients left behind from lack of chewing (this goes for all seeds!).
These are always forgotten as seeds but indeed they are an incredibly powerful food. Pomegranate seeds are a beautifully deep red colour, indicating high anti-oxidant status. Anti-oxidants help protect your body against damage. They are rich in vitamin C to boost immunity, fibre, and can help decrease blood pressure.
Add some delicious seeds to your grocery list today!