I recently read a great article by Lisa Zwirn from the Boston Globe about the 6 powerhouse seeds and it reminded me of how much I just love seeds. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without eating seeds. I throw a handful of sunflower seeds into a stir fry. Shake some hemp seeds onto my baked sweet potato. Top off a nice butternut squash soup with pumpkin seeds. And several days a week I eat my seed cereal with the powerhouse seeds all mixed in a bowl with almond milk, cinnamon, and blueberries or goji berries.
Ms. Zwirn states, “So tiny, yet so healthful. Edible seeds, with chia and hemp on the top of the nutrition list, are nothing like the chia seeds of the ’80s, when they were mostly used to sprout “fur” on clay figurines. Long before Chia pets, ancient Aztecs and Mayans ate the seeds for energy and strength.”
She goes on to state, “We Americans are just catching up. The super six — chia, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, flax, and sesame — are tiny powerhouses of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Sprinkle them on salads, stews, and soups for crunch, grind them to thicken sauces or whip into spreadable seed butters, blend into smoothies, bake with oats for a chunky granola, add to muffins, scones, and breads, or simply munch straight out of the bag. Seeds fall into that blessed category of vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free, which has given their status a big boost. They’re not without calories and fat, but these are healthy fats, and nibbles make you feel satisfied longer than other snacks.”
Many other cultures have eaten seeds for generations. They are used to thicken sauces, used to coat things like tofu and Portobello mushrooms before sautéing or frying, and are used to make tahini which is the key to making a great hummus.
Chia seeds are filled with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The seeds develop a gelatinous consistency when soaked in liquid, which is called chia gel and is great added to smoothies to boost their nutritional value or used to make chia pudding.
Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, have a mild nutty flavor and soft texture. Hemp is considered a complete protein composed of over thirty percent pure protein. Hemp seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, forty percent fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
Sunflower seeds are the perfect phytochemical-rich seed for those of us looking to lose weight, as they promote healthy digestion and increase fiber intake. They are rich in folate, Vitamin E, selenium, copper, and good fats.
Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, B1 and phosphorus. Sesame seeds are unique in their chemical structure possessing important cholesterol-fighting fibers known as lignans. Studies show that these seeds can lower blood pressure, as well as protect the liver from damage.
Pumpkin seeds are high in a form of antioxidant known as carotenoids, a special plant derivative that enhances immune activity and disease fighting capacities. These seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, two important nutrients that may play a role in supporting skeletal health. Finally, pumpkin seed are high in phytosterols, plant components that aid in keeping stable levels of cholesterol and enhanced immune response.
Flax seeds also have lots of healthy benefits. Most notably they are known for being high in fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids. They also have lignans which have antioxidant properties and have found to be protective against heart disease and many types of cancer.
I just love all of these tiny little seeds. Alone or all mixed in, stirred in, blended up, or any other way, they taste good and I know that they are as good for my body as they are good tasting.
Choosing healthy living over dying 🙂