5 seeds to add to your dish
With the rise of health food grocery stores, America’s food lexicon has expanded to include things like quinoa, steel-milled oats and kale. Sprinkled among health-conscious eaters’ dishes are seeds, many of which have benefits beyond adding a crunch to your salads.
Not sure what seed bin to dig into at the store? Start with these:
According to the American Nutrition Association, flaxseed is an excellent source of two fatty acids that are essential for human health—linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic (omega-3) acid. Also, flaxseed contains a protein that has all the essential amino acids plus the extra one, histidine, that is essential for infants.
When you carve a pumpkin make sure you save the seeds, which are packed with magnesium and other nutrients. One cup of pumpkin seeds has 39g of protein. Not sure how to deal with the seeds once you free them from the orange guts of the pumpkin? Try these roasting recipes.
Pomegranate seeds are high in antioxidants, and clinical trials have found they may play an effective role in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. Pomegranate seeds are also a good source of vitamins C and K. A 100 g portion of raw, edible seeds provides 10.2 mg of vitamin C or 17 percent of the recommended daily value.
Like flaxseed, hempseed is an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on our cardiovascular health. You can add these seeds to a smoothie or enjoy them on a salad.
This gluten-free food isn’t just about spreading them on a clay mold to grow a green pet. Chia seeds are a high-fiber snack filled with polyunsaturated fats. They also help to quell food craving in between meals. Eat these seeds sparingly, though—since they are so high in fiber, eating too much of them could result in stomach troubles. An ounce a day is enough.
“It’s important to include healthy variety in your diet,” says Mary Carroll, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Just make sure that when you’re incorporating new foods like these, you are aware of their recommended portions and whether or not your body can tolerate them. It might be helpful to introduce small amounts of these seeds sparingly into other food dishes like salads, yogurt or smoothies.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.