Many of the edible seed types are classified as superfoods since they are all high in fiber, many are excellent protein sources while others provide impressive amounts of nutrients, trace minerals and fatty acids that keep the heart healthy and body well.
Seeds can be consumed raw or ground into powder form and eaten with different foods. For instance, raw seeds can be enjoyed as a healthy snack on its own, included into trail mixes, added to smoothies or cereals, or sprinkled onto salads. They can also be used in baking. Powdered varieties can also be used for all of the above if you would rather not experience the crunch.
And while there are many different varieties of edible seeds available, we will look at the benefits of three types including hemp, chia and flax seeds.
- Complete source of protein
Both chia seeds and hemp seeds are complete protein foods. This means that they contain all essential amino acids and are a good food for vegetarians to compensate protein intake.
The protein in seeds is also beneficial since the ability to process dietary protein from sources like meat and alternatives declines with age. Plant protein being low in saturated fats and free of growth hormones is easier to digest and process.
- Omega fatty acids
Seeds are excellent sources of essential fatty acids. For example, flax seeds are one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids while hemp seeds are rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Chia seeds also contain good amounts of omega 3s and 6 fatty acids.
Among these omega 3s and 6s are types of fat that the body does not produce but need to be compensated by foods. These fatty acids are essential for energy production, brain function and oxygen transfer in the body.
- Effective for weight loss
Seeds are generally very effective for weight loss since they contain a lot of fiber. The fiber keeps the appetite satiated and reduces the need for unwanted bingeing.
The fiber content not only prevents weight gain but also can offer other benefits such as improved heart health and reduced cholesterol levels.
- Anti-inflammatory potential
Flax seeds have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. The fatty acids in flax seeds can help fight inflammation and various degenerative conditions such heart disease.
Likewise, chia seeds also have anti-inflammatory omega 3s while hemp seeds contain an immune boosting omega 6 called GLA which is an anti-inflammatory nutrient. To achieve the most anti-inflammatory benefits it is very important that the right balance of omegas 3, 6 and 9 is observed since an imbalance can lead to chronic diseases.
- Regulation of blood glucose levels
Seeds can also help regulate blood glucose levels given their high fiber content. Among these, chia seeds tend to slow glucose passage into the blood, by filling you up and reducing appetite.
Flaxseeds are also thought to be beneficial in improving blood sugar levels when consumed in ground form.
Chia seeds, hemp seeds or flax seeds can be added to your smoothie, to yogurt, sprinkled on salad, added in desserts. They taste amazing!