There has been a lot of hype in recent years about superfoods and more specifically, seeds. I am sure you would have heard of at least one of these, you can find them on ingredient lists for everything ranging from raw cakes to smoothies.
Chia seeds may be small but they sure do pack a punch! In just under 3 tbs these seeds have 10g of fibre and nearly 5g of protein. They also absorb up to ten times their weight in water, which is why they make the perfect ingredient for overnight oats, chia seed puddings and smoothies. Apart from their great fibre and protein content chia seeds are also a great source of calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids and phosphorous. As an example chia seeds contain per gram:
- 6 x more calcium than milk
- 8 x more Omega-3 than salmon
- 3 x more iron than spinach
- 15 x more magnesium than broccoli
- 6 x more protein than kidney beans
As you can see these tiny seeds are bursting with goodness and are a great addition to any diet! The easiest way to use them is to simply sprinkle them over yoghurt, oats, in smoothies or stir them in with your food.
Flaxseeds come from the flax plant and are used whole, ground as a 'flour' or used to make a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil. They are also an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and are very high in fibre which is good for your heart health. They contain more than a quarter of your daily recommend magnesium intake in just under 3 tbs, which helps to boost your energy. If you wish to get more Omega-3's into your diet they are a great affordable alternative to chia seeds. You can eat them sprinkled on fruits, porridge, yoghurt and in smoothies. However they are best eaten in their ground form (flax meal), which gets the nutrients out of the seed’s shell. It is easy to grind them at home using a blender and you can add the meal into almost anything. My favourite way to add the meal into food is by putting it into baking mixtures and turkey mince mixtures for homemade burgers.
I LOVE pumpkin seeds because they are so versatile! Apart from just being a great snack to throw in your handbag and eat on the go these babies are also great to DIY roast with spices. Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) contain nearly half the recommended dosage of magnesium in just one quarter of a cup. They are also a rich source of zinc that is vital for eye and skin health, cell growth and immunity. Next time you are making a smoothie, throw a handful of pumpkin seeds in!
Sunflower seeds are an amazing source of B Vitamins including folate, which helps to promote a healthy immune system. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin E- which is vital for healthy skin as it protects your cells from damage. Not only this, they are an excellent source of magnesium, copper and selenium that are all essential minerals the body needs. Sunflower seeds are small and have a nutty taste, meaning you can easily incorporate them into your everyday diet. Stir them through yoghurt, muesli or sprinkle them in your stir fries, smoothies and salads.