Health Essential: Seeds


I’m a big fan of seeds. I throw them into my Green and Gorgeous smoothies as well as sprinkle them on salads. Though they may look like bird food, the reality is that seeds are packed with nutrients that our bodies need.

There are so many different kinds of seeds that all have their specific health benefits but below are some of the top super seeds that you really need to start working into your diet.

Quinoa
 

You might think it’s a grain, but technically, quinoa is a seed from the Chenopodium or “Goosefoot” plant. It’s confused for a grain because it tends to be cooked and eaten like one. This super food has taken the world by storm as of late and it’s no surprise why. Quinoa is extremely high in protein, fibre, magnesium and iron and is very low in fat. It is also a great source of calcium. Because it’s gluten free, everyone can enjoy the benefits of quinoa. What I love about quinoa is how easy it is to cook. It’s delicious in salads, pilafs or porridge to name but a few. Trust me it won’t disappoint!

Chia Seeds
 

Step aside, another super food has come to the rescue! Chia seeds are known as the best plant based source of omega 3, dietary fibre and protein. They are very easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Add the seeds to your cereal or mix into your favourite smoothie. Yum!

Sunflower Seeds
 

This popular seed is high in vitamin E, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and colon cancer. It also contains magnesium, which can reduce high blood pressure, lower the severity of asthma and prevent migraine headaches. The seeds can either be bought with or without their shells but try not to buy them in bulk as you want them to remain as fresh as possible.

Linseed
 

Produced from the flax plant, linseeds are considered the omega 3 king of all plants. They have the highest concentration of omega 3 than any other plant and reportedly can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. They are delicious in the form of an oil to use as a salad dressing. Linseed oil can be found at health stores however make sure you follow the storage instructions on the label, to preserve all of the goodness.

Sesame Seeds
 

Open sesame! These seeds are very popular in Asian dishes and are packed with health benefits. Like it’s seed cousins, sesame seeds are high in magnesium and calcium. They also contain copper for the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis and zinc for good bone health. Sesame seeds are quite small so can be added to many dishes without overpowering other flavours.

Buckwheat
 

Buckwheat is another “pseudo-cereal”, similar to quinoa. This super seed is being tested in many medicines. It contains a glucoside called Rutin, which is believed to help strengthen the capillary walls. It is also being tested to fight Type 2 Diabetes because it contains agents that are deficient in sufferers. Try using buckwheat for pancake recipes.

Pepitas
 

Pepita is the seed of a pumpkin and contains many nutritious goodies. Iron, magnesium, Vitamin E and dietary fibre are just some of the nutrients packed in this seed. They taste great sprinkled on your roast vegies, but make sure you buy the seeds when they’re green, brown kernels are a sign of rancidity.

Poppy Seeds
 

Poppy seeds have caused controversy in several countries as they contain small levels of some opium alkaloids (morphine, thebaine and codeine). Research however, has shown that the consumption of dried poppy seeds cannot give you a reading of the same level or have the same effect as stronger drugs. Poppy seeds have been used as a mild and natural pain and stress relief and contain many fatty acids that reportedly help to prevent cancer.

These super seeds can all be bought from health food stores or supermarkets. Start consuming them by trying out this recipe:

The Life-Changing Loaf Of Bread

This recipe is soooo tasty and contains three of the super seeds above, as well as a stack of other healthy ingredients. Makes 1 loaf.

What You’ll Need:
• 135g sunflower seeds
• 90g flax seeds
• 65g hazelnuts or almonds
• 145g rolled oats
• 2 tbsp chia seeds
• 4 tbsp psyllium seed husks (3 tbsp if using psyllium husk powder)
• 1 tsp fine grain sea salt (½ tsp if using coarse salt)
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 3 tbsp coconut oil or ghee, melted
• 350ml water

What To Do:
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a loaf tin.
2. Whisk together the maple syrup, oil and water. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is soaked and the dough becomes thick (add teaspoons of water if the dough becomes unmanageable).
3. Smooth out the top with a spoon and let it sit for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/gas mark 4. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove from tin, place upside down directly on the oven rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped.
6. Allow to cool completely before slicing. The bread will store in an airtight container for up to five days. Slice before freezing.

 

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