Exseedingly Good News
By Erika White, Fitness Motivator & Creator of Fitzone
There is much hub-bub about the benefits of nuts, but many miss the importance of adding seeds to their diet for an additional nutritional punch. Seeds, like nuts, are high in fiber, Vitamin E, and monounsaturated fats that can help in keeping your heart healthy. In fact, eating a handful of seeds daily can help you lose or maintain weight by sustaining your appetite.
Seeds come in vast variety of sizes, colors, and textures and they also differ from taste to uses in your favorite dishes. Choosing the right seed for the optimum health benefits you desire is the key. Seeds are a living food; therefore, to derive the full nutritional value from seeds, it is best to eat them raw avoiding those which are coated or roasted. They can also be implemented in your diet by sprinkling on breakfast cereal or yogurt, adding as a salad topper, or simply as choosing products made with added seeds.
Like foods, specific seeds have certain health benefits that make them a better choice for your diet. Supercharge your diet with my top three picks based on health benefits, availability, and taste! These are the seeds you need!
For Weight Loss; Alternative to Fish
CHIA SEEDS are controversially referred to as a “super food” and popularized by the clay potted figured, the Chia pet. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, plant based protein, and omega 3 fatty acid. The tiny chia, which means strength in the Mayan language, can help if you are trying to lose weight. Just one tablespoon is a whopping 10 grams of fiber helping to reduce hunger naturally! Adding the recommended two tablespoons a day can aid in weight loss as well as reducing glucose levels The seeds even have the approval of The American Heart Association because of their high omega-3 fatty acids which makes them a heart healthy food! This is an added bonus for those who are allergic to or do not like fish, but want to get the benefits of fatty acids in their diets. For those who want to add this petite powerhouse to their diet, the seeds are tasteless which makes it easy to integrate into your meals. As a final note, when buying chia, both the white and black seeds are good choices; avoid the red seeds and do not nibble on your chia pet or ingest its seeds.
For Youthful Skin; Alternative to Red Meat
SUNFLOWER SEEDS are far more than the big, beautiful flowers they are derived from, the seeds are high in vitamin E, with 90% of the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin in a quarter cup! That quarter cups also includes vitamin B1, B5, and folate. The vitamin E, found in the seeds, is an antioxidant which reduces the risk of sun related diseases, which can cause cancerous mutations and premature wrinkling of the skin. Sunflower seeds are a good source of heart healthy proteins. These yummy, nutty seeds have the highest quantity of protein, per calorie, of all nuts and seeds; and, as much protein as a steak or chicken breast! The added benefit is the protein found in those little black and white seeds is plant based which helps remove the plaque in your blood vessels. This reduces your risk of strokes and heart attacks. Regular eating sunflower seeds can significantly improve your cardiovascular integrity. You can enjoy the seeds both shelled and unshelled, but it is highly recommended to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For Joint Health; A Calcium Alternative
SESAME SEEDS are toted as being the “oldest condiment known to man” and no burger is complete without buns being dotted with them; but they are much more than bread garnish! Just two tablespoons provides more than 80% of your daily intake of copper, an anti-inflammatory, which can help ease the pain of arthritis. Even more amazing is that half a cup of these little oval seeds contains three times more calcium than half a cup of whole milk! Having the highest oil content of any seed, the sesame seed also contain two unique substances; sesamin and sesamolin. These two substances give the seeds the additional benefit of lowering cholesterol, preventing high blood pressure, and protect the liver against oxidative damage. Black and red sesame seeds offer the additional benefits of higher levels of antioxidants (black) and iron (red).
Though these are some of my favorites, there are many other types of seeds that offer additional nutritional benefits that are more specific to your needs. Other examples include flax seeds, hemp seeds, & pumpkin seeds; each with their own supercharged health benefits! Remember that the only one way to derive nutrition from seeds is to eat them raw. Once they are exposed to heat, roasted or coated, they lose up to 60% of their nutritional components!
My final advice is to never consume any natural product without the guidance of a doctor. That advice doesn’t change for any of the seeds suggested in this article which can have an adverse reaction if you are taking certain medication to treat disease such as cancer or high blood pressure.
Erika holds accredited certifications in Weight Loss, Sports Nutrition, & Personal Training
This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice
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