You'd be mad to judge these mighty little gems by their size alone. Adding them into your everyday diet can bring a huge boost of nutrients, fibre, and essential fatty acids into your diet.
If you haven't tried seeds, now's the time.
Easily added to salads as well as your morning cereals, sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E. Image credit: Natalia Pankova/sxc.hu
Sunflower Seeds Sunflower seeds have been around for ages and are an excellent source of B vitamins, including folate (which helps prevent birth defects), so it's great to add them into your diet if you're planning a pregnancy.
They also contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which protects cells from damage, particularly skin cells. Vitamin E also helps maintain healthy hair and nails and may work to prevent cancer.
These tasty little treats are also rich in protein and heart-healthy fats, so adding them to salads are a win. They can be added to cookie and muffin recipes, or muesli slices, but avoid salted versions as these have crazy high levels of sodium.
Pumpkin seeds are alsocalled pepitas and are loaded with B vitamins and much more. Image credit: Michael Stocks/sxc.hu
Pumpkin Seeds Also known as pepitas, these seeds are a great source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, and protein. They are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which may help lower anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds also have high levels of essential fatty acids which helps to keep blood vessels healthy and lower cholesterol.
They make a great little snack and can be eaten in much the same way as sunflower seeds. Add to granola bars and muesli recipes. Why not also use them to garnish a soup?
Chia seeds are small but mighty as they are packed with a huge amount of nutrients. Image credit:Gabriela Ruellan/sxc.hu
Chia Seeds Chia seeds are all the rage as of late. You'll find plenty of cereals and health foods boasting chia seeds in their contents, and for good reason! These seeds are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber, ticking a large number of boxes.
Chia's calcium and magnesium promote stronger bone and dental health, while the omega-3s help your heart by lowering triglycerides, which are the bad fats in your blood that can cause heart disease. Additionally, their soluble fibre helps decrease cholesterol, stabilise your blood sugar, and make you feel full longer (great if you're dieting and try to decrease your daily calorie intake).
Flax seeds have hard shells so they need to be ground up for your body to benefit from the nutrients inside. Image credit:Ros Cherk/sxc.hu
Flax Seeds These tiny little seeds are nutty in flavour and have a large amount of soluble fibre which is excellent at helping to lower your cholesterol. They also make you feel fuller longer, and aid in stabilising your blood sugar levels.
These little gems are surprisingly full of omega-3 fatty acid, so they are great for your eye and brain health. High in lignans, a plant-like form of estrogen, they may also help prevent certain cancers.
Flax seeds are found more and more in baked breads. Their shells are rather hard, so they need to be ground down in a blender or coffee grinder first before you bake with them.
If left whole, these tiny little seeds will pass through your body undigested, prohibiting the absorption of valuable nutrients.
Ground up flax can be added to smoothies, yoghurt, oatmeal, and baked bread or rolls. Make sure you refrigerate these seeds once you've ground them up if you aren't planning on using them immediately.
Hemp Seeds Hemp seeds are a great source of complete protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain phytosterols, plant-based compounds that help lower cholesterol levels. Even though hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family, hemp doesn’t contain THC, which is marijuana’s active ingredient. Therefore eating hemp seeds will not produce the same effect as smoking marijuana.
Hemp seeds can be added to salads or sprinkled over yoghurt. They also add texture to baked goods.
Wheat germ has a similar texture to oatmeal and makes a great addition to your diet as it's full of folate ad fiber. Image credit: JL Designs/sxc.hu
Wheat Germ Yes it's a seed. The nutritional content of wheat germ is enormous. It is loaded with protein, iron, and B vitamins such as folate. The high fibre content of wheat germ helps prevent constipation and keeps your appetite in check. And wheat germ is low on the glycemic index, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Put in cereals, smoothies, porridge, baking and cooking recipes.
Start adding these super seeds into your diet to reap the health benefits. Recipe suggestions include: