The Surprising Benefits of Seeds

Benefits of Seeds

Seeds are often overlooked as part of a healthful diet, yet there are countless benefits (some may surprise you) to including seeds in your daily routine (and they’re super easy to include too!). Each one has its own unique benefits and uses, so read on to learn about these 3 powerhouses.

Chia Seeds

Small but mighty, chia seeds are high in heathy omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Their high omega 3 content is what gives them their heart-healthy properties. Chia seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus, manganese and have been shown to lower blood pressure, promote weight loss, and protect against autoimmune conditions and even cancer.

Chia seeds are known to balance blood sugar and boost your energy, as they keep you feeling full longer. They can absorb up to 27x their weight in water, which is why they form a thick gel texture when added to smoothies or water.

Tip: don’t worry about chia seeds going bad either – If kept dry, they can be stored for years without going bad!

Ways to Use Chia Seeds:

  • Sprinkle on cereal or oatmeal
  • Toss on salads
  • Add a small amount to smoothies to thicken
  • As a thickener for soups
  • To make delicious homemade pudding (my favorite use for chia seeds)
  • Homemade Jelly- just blend your fruit of choice and chia seeds and there you have it- homemade jelly without all the additives!
  • Chia Water- just add 1-1.5 tablespoons of chia seeds to 2 cups water, let sit for 10-15 minutes, stir, and enjoy chia seed water. Add fresh lemon or lime juice for flavor.

Flax Seeds

Flax Seeds are commonly known for their high fiber content, as they are high in both soluble and unsoluble fiber. Why is this important?…

Dr. Mark Hyman writes,

“Fiber can actually prevent obesity and all the chronic diseases of aging. This is because fiber slows the rate at which food enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which food exits your body through the digestive tract. That keeps your blood sugar and cholesterol in ideal balance — and quickly eliminates toxins from your gut and reduces your appetite…Research shows that fiber can lower blood sugar as much as some diabetes medications, lower cholesterol, and promote weight loss”

In addition to their fiber content, flax seeds provide you with 133% of your daily value of omega-3 fatty acids in just 2 tablespoons. (Remember, we want to increase intake of omega-3s). For just 2 tablespoons, that’s incredibly high in omega 3! They are also high in antioxidants.

Click the image below to download your free Healthy Salad Dressing Wallet Guide.

healthy-salad-dressing-wallet-guide

Ways to Use Flax Seeds:  

In order to make sure you’re absorbing the nutrients that flaxseeds offer, make sure to use ground flaxseeds. You can grind them yourself in a coffee grinder or spice grinder.

  • Add ground flax seeds to smoothies (or whole if your blender will grind them well)
  • Use them for baking (add to muffins)
  • Add 1 tablespoon to granola or oatmeal
  • Use ground flax seed to “bread” meat

Tip: you can also choose flaxseed oil if you prefer using it instead of the seeds, but I prefer just using the actual seeds.

Hemp Seeds

Before I get into the benefits of hemp seeds, please note that while hemp is related to Cannabis, it does not cause any psychoactive reactions. In other words, eating hemp seeds won’t get you high 😉

While not as high in omega 3 fatty acids or fiber as chia and flax seeds, hemp seeds are a great source of protein. In fact, just 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds provide 11 grams of protein! And not just protein, but all 20 amino acids and the 9 that are essential to include in our diets as our bodies cannot produce them. Some prefer hemp over flax seeds because they are more easily digested than whole flax seeds. Both have great benefits, but hemp offers higher amounts of protein.

Hemp seeds are also high in arginine, which is great for heart health and has been proven to improve colon health, as they are high in both types of fiber: soluble and unsoluble.

Ways to Use Hemp Seeds:

  • Add to smoothies for an extra boost of protein
  • Toss on salads or cooked veggies
  • Add to cereal or oatmeal for extra protein

Tip: Shelled hemp seeds are also called “hemp hearts” (very fitting!)

They may be small, but these 3 seeds are nutrient powerhouses!

Have you tried any of these seeds? Which are your favorite and how do you use them?

 

Sources and Further Reading:
Chia Seeds
Flax Seeds – Flax Seeds and Heart Health, Importance of Fiber
Hemp Seeds
Importance of Omega 3s:  Omega 6:Omega 3 Ratio

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder and health educator at Healthfully Hannah, empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s personal health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Feel free to send Hannah a message here.


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