When it comes to your nutritional health, size doesn't matter. At least, that's what some seeds have proved. Yes, you heard it right. The minuscule component of a fruit or flower is packed with proteins, fiber, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, they are even referred to as super seeds. You can snack on them, add them to your smoothies, cereals, whip up a delicious yogurt, or can even use them to garnish your salads. We bring you some of these power-packed seeds and their nutritional benefits.
Chia seeds: A flowering plant from the mint family, Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala. Rich in fiber and magnesium, they promote strong bones. They are also high in anti-oxidants. Chia seeds can also prevent diabetes and stroke. Make a simple pudding, a smoothie or even add it to your dietary supplements.
Pumpkin seeds: Pepita aka Pumpkin seed is a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine. An excellent source of energy, they are rich in Vitamin B, iron, magnesium, zinc, and protein. They are particularly helpful for women during the menstrual cycle. Zinc helps in reducing the menstrual cramps. Pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan, an amino acid which helps reduce anxiety. You can roast it with sea salt and paprika, and make an easy snack.
Flax seeds: Do you know that our linen clothes are a byproduct of flax seeds? Yes, these tiny seeds derived from flax plants are seen commonly in cooler regions of the world. High in fiber, but low in Carbs, they are good for digestive health and is considered one of the foods with a high magnesium content. A rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, it promotes healthy skin and hair and is an excellent component for weight loss. Flax seeds are also gluten-free. Use it in your soups, salads, or mix it with essential oils and use it as a natural moisturizer.
Sunflower seeds: The seed of the sunflower is an excellent health-snack. High in Vitamin E, it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Also, the magnesium in them helps in promoting a happy mood. In earlier days, magnesium sulfate was prescribed for depression. The seeds are also rich sources of selenium, which supports thyroid function. You can munch on raw sunflower seeds.
Sesame seeds: One of the oldest known condiment to man, sesame seeds are rich sources of beneficial minerals like copper, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, selenium, and dietary fiber. Because of its high copper content, the seeds are used to fight pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis. The sesamin and sesamolin in the seeds are known to have cholesterol lowering effects.
The writer is a journalist and contributor at www.india.com
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