You’re not a bird, but your body sure could benefit from eating like one! Although tiny and unassuming, seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch and can help protect your body from serious ailments. Many seeds are a good source of selenium to protect muscles from damage and copper and manganese to boost the immune system. Seeds are also loaded with natural flavor and can add spice and texture to your favorite recipes. These are a few of the healthiest seeds you can find and a few tips for incorporating them into your diet.
The University of Maryland Medical Center points out that grape seeds have used to treat a range of health problems related to free radical damage. One great way to get more of them in your diet is by taking a grape seed extract supplement.
Although chia seeds have been getting a lot of hype lately, they were actually used by the Central American Aztecs over 4,000 years ago. Chia Seeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels and better digestion. They’re also high in protein, contain immune system-boosting qualities, and help prevent dehydration. Some of the most common ways to incorporate chia seeds into your diet is by adding them to smoothies, puddings, and jam. Other people use chia seeds as an egg substitute in breakfast recipes and add them to oatmeal.
Flax seeds are best known for their omega-3 fatty acids, but they also offer healthy portions of vitamin B, beta carotene, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Many nutritionists recommend flax seeds as a good source of thiamin, which helps fight many heart conditions, to lower cholesterol, and to keep diabetics’ blood sugar controlled. Some women going through menopause have found that flax seeds help control their hormones, prevent hot flashes, and decrease feelings of fatigue. Try adding flax seeds to cold cereal, hot oatmeal, and to muffin recipes.
This nostalgic fall favorite is healthier than you may think. Pumpkin seeds offer lots of protein and magnesium to boost your energy. These seeds also contain zinc, which boosts your immune system, and the seed’s shells provide extra fiber. Try mixing dried pumpkin seeds with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt, then roasting them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Since most seeds contain oils that can oxidize and spoil, you should store your seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Opt for whole seeds in the store and grind them yourself at home to extend their shelf-life. This way, your whole seeds should last for several months until you’re ready to eat them. Start incorporating seeds into your diet today to reap delicious, health benefits that aren’t just for the birds.