When we talk about seeds, the first thing we relate them to are birds. They are usually used as bird feed but, in recent years , some seeds are making headlines as super foods for humans. Seeds are powerhouses of nutrition where the nutrients are packed within the seed kernel and inculcating them in our daily diet will help our body meet its daily nutritional requirement.Seeds are a good source of plant based protein and are also high in fibre content. Additionally, they are also rich in calcium, iron , magnesium , omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help maintain a healthy heart. The popular super-food seeds include quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds. However, not all of them are feasible and are difficult to find in indian markets.
Here are four different seeds that are fairly easily to find and consume:
- Amaranth seeds: Amaranth was first cultivated as a grain eight thousand years ago and was used as the staple food of the aztecs. The seeds are a rich source of protein , containing about 13-14 percent of it and they are also high in lysine, an essential amino acid found in lower quantities in other seeds. As raw amaranth grains are inedible and cannot be digested, they are cooked with water which makes the seeds gluey that in turn can be made as porridge for breakfast. A tastier way of consuming amaranth seeds can be in the form of puffed amaranth. Cookies, balls and bars made with puffed amaranth can be a part of the school snack boxes as well.
2) Flax seeds: they are available in the form of two varieties: brown and yellow flax seeds,that are similar in their nutritional characteristics. Flax seeds produce an edible vegetable oil known as linseed oil which is one of the oldest commercial oils.100 grams of ground flaxseed supplies about 534 calories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams of fibre, and 20 grams of protein. In order to reap its maximum benefits, these seeds can be roasted and converted to a powdered form which can be added to smoothies and sprinkled on oatmeal and cereals. Due to their nutty flavour, they can also be added to baked foods such as cookies , muffins and breads.
3) Pumpkin seeds: they are a great source of zinc and are getting increasingly recognised for their antioxidant properties. They are packed with vitamins, minerals , fibre and the kernels are especially rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid that helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol in the blood. The roasted form of pumpkin should be avoided due to its high fat and sodium content.However,a healthier version of roasted pumpkin seeds can be made by toasting on a pan or in the over and can be sprinkled on cakes and breads to add a bit of crunch.The seeds are frequently added to enrich meat, poultry, rice, vegetable dishes and salads.
4) Sunflower seeds:there are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: linoleum (most common), high oleic, and NuSun .100 grams of dried whole sunflower seeds provide 584 calories as a nutrient-dense food. The seeds are an excellent source of protein, dietary fibre, all B vitamins and vitamin E . They also contain high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Sunflower seeds can be added to granola bars and incorporated into sandwich fillings. They can also be used for garnishing and as an ingredient in certain dishes.
Do ensure that you buy seeds that are fit for human consumption and not meant for farming or gardening because such seeds are treated with chemicals and pesticides that can be harmful to your body. Make the best out of them as these tiny seeds can do enormous wonders to your body!