Vitality

5 Healthy Seeds To Add To Your Diet

Small in size, big in benefits — there may be no better way to describe seeds which are often packed with a surprising amount and variety of nutrients.

Just adding a dash of seeds into a smoothie or salad can give your diet a health boost, said Lori Zanini, registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here are five options you can consider:

1. Flaxseeds

Rather than consuming whole flaxseeds, nutrition experts recommend opting for the ground form which is easier to digest and can also provide more health benefits.

Often associated with better digestive health, these seeds can provide nutrients like fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also considered a good source of lignans — these phytochemicals are shown to have the potential to reduce the growth of tumors and possibly reduce the risk of cancer. 

2. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are regarded as a complete source of protein as they contain all of the essential amino acids. They are also linked to satiety as these seeds can absorb around 10 times their weight in water, helping you feel full for longer.

"Use chia seeds in foods, not as a supplement, but as an alternative to processed grains like white bread because it is a much healthier whole grain that is great-tasting in foods like muffins," said Michael Roizen, of the Cleveland Clinic.

3. Pumpkin seeds

You can turn to these seeds for a good dose of magnesium, a nutrient most of us could more of. As a result, pumpkin seeds have been referred to as a diabetes superfood. And since they contain antioxidants, zinc, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, pumpkin seeds could bring a combination of health benefits for the heart and the liver.

Another nutrient to highlight, especially if you need some shuteye, is an amino acid known as tryptophan. Since it is used for the treatment of insomnia, research has suggested that consuming it from dietary sources like pumpkin seeds can help reduce sleep problems.

4. Hemp seeds

While these seeds contain a ton of protein — even more than chia or flax — they are also naturally low in carbs, according to Paul Benhaim, founder of Hemp Foods Australia.

These seeds contain Gamma-Linolenic acid which has been associated with improved hormonal health. While studies have been mixed, some suggest that GLA can help women by reducing breast pain, tenderness, and relieving other symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome.

5. Sesame seeds

You may come across these nutritious and tasty seeds on foods like bagels, breadsticks, hamburger buns, and more. Studies have suggested their consumption could raise our blood levels of antioxidants, including vitamin E.

Packed with iron, zinc, copper, and vitamins, these seeds are just as nutrient-dense if not as popular as the other ones on this list. Past research has also associated sesame seeds with the beneficial reduction of LDL cholesterol as well as systolic blood pressure.

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