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10 ways to get the amazing health benefits of seeds

Bowl of pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Seeds are an often overlooked source of valuable nutrients, but including them in your everyday meals is a simple and tasty way to boost your health and make food more interesting.

They are rich in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fibre and phytonutrients and eating seeds regularly is associated with lowered risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Seeds are packed with protein, heart-healthy fats and fibre, making them an essential pantry staple.

Try these 10 tasty ways to sow the seeds of good health:

1 Combine chia seeds with milk, yoghurt and fruit in a jar, and leave it in the fridge to set overnight for a satisfying grab ‘n’ go brekkie. Too easy. Among other nutrients, chia seeds provide manganese, which aids metabolism and helps manage blood sugars, and calcium for strong bones.

2 Use linseeds to help bulk up homemade meatballs and burger patties. Linseeds, otherwise known as flaxseeds, flaxseeds are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and are rich in antioxidants and fibre.

3 Toast white sesame seeds in a dry pan for 3–5 minutes, then sprinkle toasted seeds over an Asian-style salad. Sesame seeds contain lignins and dietary fibre as well as small amounts of vitamin E and calcium but, to get the most out of them, it’s best to crush them as they may pass through your system whole.  Try adding a spoonful of tahini to your salad dressings or hummus to enjoy sesame seeds in this form.

4 Fold poppy seeds through your banana bread mix before you start baking. Poppy seeds are high in calcium, with 120mg in one tablespoon, but it’s not quite as absorbable as the calcium in dairy products.

5 Make your own muesli by combining mixed seeds with nuts, rolled oats and shredded coconut. Filling and tasty!

6 Blitz sunflower seeds into pesto — in place of traditional pine nuts. Sunflower seeds provide vitamin E for heart health, thiamin for energy, zinc for wound healing and magnesium for managing blood pressure.

7 Snack on pumpkin seeds that have been roasted in extra-virgin olive oil, ground cumin and chilli powder.  Among other helpful nutrients, pumpkin seeds are a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc.

8 Add some crunch to your avocado toast by sprinkling hemp seeds over the top. Hemp seeds are especially rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. They are also sources of protein for muscle development and maintenance;  vitamin A for vision, reproduction and immune support; vitamin E for heart health; satisfying fibre for gut health; and potassium for blood pressure.

9 Coat salmon fillets with black sesame seeds before pan-frying the fish.

10 Pulse mixed seeds in a food processor with dried dates and coconut, then roll into bite-sized bliss balls.

First published: Jul 2020

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