Ever since the paleo diet gained popularity, seeds have had a new and profound role in our diet. What was once looked at as a garnish or snack food has now been found to be an essential addition to our diets to reap the benefits they have to offer. Today we’ll be taking a look at the different small but mighty seeds that you can include in your diet to get the much needed nutritional boost.
Chia – we can’t talk about seeds without mentioning the infamous chia seeds. Believe it or not, chia seeds actually come from the mint plant family. What makes chia seeds so versatile is their ability to absorb almost 10 times their weight, therefore they have become a great thickening agent to add to foods like puddings, pancakes or even shakes. Let’s take a look at what makes this seed a number 1 superfood (nutrition facts provided for 1 ounce/28g/2 tablespoons):
Fat: 9g (5g are Omega 3)
Calories: 137 kcals
Rich in manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium this tiny seed is a great addition to your daily dietary habits. I would personally add it to water sometimes (but drink up quick or else it’ll form a thick gel), green juices, and salads. Weight loss capabilities of this seed have not been scientifically proven!
Flax – this super oily seed is rich in omega 3’s, fiber Vitamin B1, copper and magnesium. Definitely a must add to your daily eating habits. Flax seeds should be ground before consuming, but do keep in mind that it is a seed rich in fats therefore it can go rancid if ground and not refrigerated. Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile of flax seeds (per 1 ounce/28 grams/4 tablespoons):
Fat: 12g (6g are Omega 3)
Calories: 150 kcals
Looking at the nutritional profile, you can see that the flax seed contains more fats that the chia seed yet almost the same amount of omega 3’s; making the chia seed a greater source of omega 3’s with lesser calories.
Sesame – very commonly used in our region, yet I for sure never thought twice about the nutritional benefits of this mighty seed. Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, great for your bones and migraines, and zinc, an immune system booster! Definitely worth thinking twice about, before skimping on the zaatar mix or bread with sesame seeds. As for it’s nutritional profile for 1 ounce/28 grams/2 tablespoons, the following is what sesame seeds have to offer:
Calories: 161 kcals
Compared to the previous two seeds, sesame seeds are the fattiest so far, but still has a decent amount of protein in it. Sesame seeds stand out with their iron content, one of the richest seeds in iron, I highly recommend it for vegetarians suffering from anemia.
Pumpkin – who would’ve thought that this nutritious vegetable would also have very nutritious seeds? How nutritious? Let’s start by saying that pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc and manganese, which have huge effects on helping boost your immune system, bone health and possibly help control blood sugar (to a certain degree of course). Looking at the nutritional facts, pumpkin seeds have the following to offer (1 ounce/28 grams/2 tablespoons):
Calories: 160 kcals
All those seeds provide us with various forms of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats! You cannot go wrong by adding them to your diet, just be sure to control your portion by measuring out how the amount you’d like to eat. I love adding them to salads or my oatmeal and my green juice at times. How would you add those seeds to your food?
Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.