7 Seeds for a Healthier Diet

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Store shelves are packed with processed foods dripping with sodium, sugar, and bad fats. So what’s a busy woman to do when it’s time to find a healthy ingredient or snack? Enter the humble seed. While seeds may be on the small side, they pack a big nutritional punch, making them a smart addition to any healthy eating plan. If you want to eat more seeds for better health, we’ve got a list for you.

Seeds are some of the earliest foods in history. The good news is you don’t need to go foraging to find these nutritional gems. When buying seeds foods, choose those packaged with little to no-added salt. Be wary of seeds in packaged trail mixes or granolas as well, as they often contain too much added salt and sugar.

Seeds are delicious raw, and many varieties are ideal for snacking.  For easy and tasty toasted seeds, like pumpkin seeds, place them in a single layer on a baking pan and toast at 300 degrees until they are golden brown. It’s also fun to experiment with flavoring toasted seeds. For example, toss the seeds with a favorite flavoring, like garlic powder or pasta spices, before roasting.

Eat More Seeds for Better Health:

Chia Seeds–  This gluten-free food offers a superfood mix of calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and amino acids. Chia seeds are also the best plant-based source of omega-3 acids, which help protect the heart. Mix them into smoothies or granola recipes, or sprinkle them on a salad. Learn more in 10 Cool Ways to Use Chia Seeds.

Flax Seeds– These tiny seeds also offer omega-3 fatty acids, plus a dose of fiber to keep the digestive system working. To get the most out of their health benefits, grind the seeds just before using them. Try them in these seeds food recipes: Gingerbread Pancakes or Broccoli Tarts.

Hemp Seeds– This seed is gaining popularity for its super-nutritional value; it offers all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein food. They’re also rich in energy-building vitamin B. (Check out B-Vitamin Basics: 5 Foods That Give You Energy.) Hemp seed fans often compare the taste to pine nuts, so they’re a tasty topping for salads or pastas.

Pomegranate Seeds– Add color and nutritional zing to your menu with these seeds, which are high in vitamin C and potassium. Learn more about pomegranate power in 4 Ways Pomegranates are Powerful for Your Health.

Pumpkin Seeds– Forget the Halloween décor! Pumpkins provide healthy seeds, also called pepitas, which are packed with magnesium and zinc. They also have only 5.5 grams of fat in one ounce. Top your cereal, yogurt, or baked treats with pumpkin seeds.

Sesame Seeds– These seeds offer phytosterols, which are natural chemical compounds believed to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of some diseases, such as colon cancer.

Sunflower Seeds– Colorful sunflowers give us a nutrition-packed seed perfect for snacking. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin E, which attacks the free radicals that cause inflammation, disease, and visible signs of aging. Like sesame seeds, they’re rich in phytosterols. Check out more good-for-you snacks with 100 Healthy Snacks to Eat On-The-Go.

Healthy seeds can be part of a lifestyle that helps you look and feel better. Learn more about how clean eating (choosing foods that are non- or minimally processed) will improve your health and well-being. Check out 10 Clean Eating Tips- Do’s and Don’ts and 5-Day Clean-Eating Dinner Menu.

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