If you're starting a weight loss program or a healthier eating plan, you've probably been advised to add seeds to your diet.
And you may have thought, "These things are so tiny! How could they possibly help me stay full and provide me with any health benefits?"
Read on to learn more about the powerful punch that four types of seeds can add to your healthy diet.
What Are Seeds?
Seeds are baby plants, encapsulated with all the nutrients they would need to survive in the soil until they sprouted up. When you eat them, your body can use some or all of those nutrients, too.
This popular seed is high in fiber and calcium. The fiber helps you feel full longer and aids in healthy digestion. Calcium helps keep your bones strong.
Chia seeds are high in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA),an essential fatty acid which your body can't produce on its own but uses to help maintain low triglycerides and blood pressure, among other things.
These tiny seeds also contain many phytonutrients with antioxidant effects that can help fight inflammation in the body. These include kaempferol and quercetin.
Chia seeds are commonly placed in liquid for about 20 minutes before they are consumed. This causes them to soften and expand. They can also be eaten dry, but you should use caution if you do that. Because of chia seeds' property of expanding tremendously when moistened, there is the risk of that happening in the esophagus, which can lead to obstruction and choking.
Flaxseed is high in fiber, and it can help decrease the risk of developing diabetes when it is eaten routinely.
Flaxseed also contains numerous vitamins and minerals that have been associated with better heart health, weight loss, and improved digestion. Flaxseed is high in the essential fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid which, as discussed above, has many health benefits including regulating blood pressure.
Lignans are especially powerful compounds found in flaxseed. Lignans have antioxidant benefits that fight cell deterioration and help balance hormones. They also have antimicrobial properties.
You will need to grind your flaxseed before you eat it, so your body can use it efficiently. It doesn’t keep long after being ground, it goes rancid quickly, so you may wish to grind it immediately before you eat it or refrigerate after grinding.
Hemp seeds, which do not contain THC, are a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They are especially linked with improved joint and skin health when eaten routinely.
Hemp seeds are an excellent plant-based protein source, higher in protein than most other seeds. They are full of healthy fats, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and other minerals.
Whole hemp seeds are high in fiber, which can aid in good digestion.
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is important for maintaining a strong immune system and good prostate health. They are also high in magnesium, which helps support healthy heart function.
Tryptophan in pumpkin seeds may help you sleep better.
Like other seeds, pumpkin seeds contain lots of antioxidants that help fight inflammation and disease in your body.
So go ahead and add some seeds to your healthy diet plan. They may be tiny, but they can be powerful partners in improving your health.