Seeds will boost your nutrition
Seeds are often eschewed because they are high in calories and fat, but these tiny gems of nutrition offer health benefits that we can reap without having to eat a boat-load of them. In fact, the experts at TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), a non-profit weight-loss support organization, recommend eating seeds as a part of a healthy weight loss program. Seeds are packed with protein, healthy fats, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins and minerals that can promote overall health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Here are the top five seed picks from TOPS.
Pumpkin seeds are rich with protein and minerals, including magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc. Pumpkin seeds may promote prostate health, strengthen bones, and reduce inflammation. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over a salad, add them to trail mix, toss the seeds with pasta, or blend them into a muffin mix.
Chia seeds are high in healthy fats and minerals that can promote weight loss, increase your energy, and sharpen your mental focus. Add chia to yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal to get a boost of fiber, calcium, and protein. Dr. Andrew Weil, integrated medicine expert and author, recommends soaking two tablespoons of chia seeds in water for 15 to 30 minutes, then stirring the mixture into your water or sports drink for added stamina during a workout.
Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E, which serves as an antioxidant and contains anti-inflammatory properties. They also offer copper and selenium, protecting your muscles. Add sunflower seeds to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, and salads or grind them up for a spread.
Sesame seeds are a rich source of copper, which may provide arthritis relief. They also contain calcium and magnesium, which may lower blood pressure and protect against osteoporosis. Mix sesame seeds with steamed or stir-fried vegetables, sprinkle on pasta, or add sesame seeds to homemade bread.
Flaxseed contains alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat, which may positively impact cholesterol, promote bone health, protect against heart disease, and reduce inflammation. Look for milled flaxseed, ground flaxseed, or flax meal, which is easier to digest, helping your body absorb more of the seed’s nutrients. Include it in muffin or pancake mixes, or blend flaxseed into a fruit smoothie. You can also use ground flax as an egg substitute — stir together 1 tablespoon flaxmeal and 3 tablespoons of water for each egg called for in a recipe.
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