Three Superseeds You Should be Eating.…and Why

By Amanda Ettyonegreenplanet.org

As the old saying goes, “good things come in small packages.” And in the kitchen, seeds are no exception. These tiny wonders are a staple in a healthy pantry: nutrient-dense and packed with disease-fighting minerals and enzymes, they can be used in just about any recipe. Here are three favorites that are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet.

1. Flax

What is it? Brown or golden, this seed comes from the flax plant and has a mild, delightfully nutty flavor.

Why we love it: Flaxseed is rich in fiber (aids digestion and cardiovascular health) and omega-3 fatty acid (provides anti-inflammatory benefits, strengthens skin cells and is also great for cardiovascular health).

Where to use it: When baking, replace ¼ cup of flour for ¼ cup of flaxseed; or, use as an egg substitute by mixing three tablespoons of flaxseed with ¼ cup of water, let sit for 15 minutes.

Special Instructions: To get the most from flaxseed, grind it first. Either buy the seed whole and grind it yourself, or buy pre-ground flaxseed meal and keep refrigerated.

2. Hemp

What is it? Hemp seeds come from the same Cannabis species as marijuana. However, they’re bred with much lower levels of the psychoactive chemical THC.

Why we love it: Hemp seeds are loaded with digestible, vegan protein: Just two tablespoons have 24% of your daily requirement (impressive, huh?). It’s a high-quality protein, too, with a balance of all the essential amino acids. They’re also loaded with fiber (yay, digestion!) and packed with other nutrients, such as omega-3 and omega-6, vitamin e, the b vitamins and folic acid.

Where to use it: Blend one tablespoon into your breakfast or post-workout smoothie for an extra hit of protein; or add a tablespoon on top of your salad for extra crunch.

Special Instructions: You can buy hemp seed whole or shelled (also called hulled). The shelled seeds taste milder and pack more nutrients; the whole seeds give you more crunch and fiber.

3. Chia

What is it? The seed from the chia plant (yes, the same seed that grows Chia Pets) is native to South America, where ancient Aztec warriors used it before going into battle or running long distances on foot. Chia seeds are prized for their energy inducing properties.

Why we love it: Contains 25% of your daily-recommended calcium. Omega 3, chia’s fiber, forms a gel that slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, binds it to toxins in the digestive system, and helps eliminate waste. Due to this high fiber content, chia seed absorbs ten times its weight in water, making it an excellent source of hydration. This also means a slower conversion of carbohydrates to sugars, resulting in greater stamina and endurance.

Where to use it: In this DIY energy drink, called Chia Fresca, that’s favored by indigenous Mexican tribes: Mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with 1 ½ cups of water. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of agave nectar.

Special Instructions: Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds don’t need to be ground. They’re virtually tasteless.

About the Author

Amanda Etty is a Toronto, Canada-based magazine editor and yoga instructor with a passion for health and wellness. She’s the voice behind A Glass of Goodness, a blog about smoothie recipes and ideas for easy, everyday healthy living.
 


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  • Amanda

    Chia is NOT native to S. America. The Aztecs were not there either.

    Please get the facts correct.

    Wayne

  • Actually Chia plants do grow in Nevada and although I have no idea what the Aztecs did, I know the Indians of this area used to eat them all the time.

  • kaye

    Chia seeds are digested better if ground first as nobody grinds them well enough themselves.

  • kaye

    Chia seed is better ground first too as they are digested better as nobody can grind them properly themselves

  • This sounds great, I eat hemp seeds, love them! Thanks for the tip, I’ll look into the other two!

  • Mycroft
  • ali

    Salvia hispanica is a mint of the Lamiceae family and has it’s origins in Mexico and also South America.
    With respect, there seems to be some confusion re Amandas text relating to the location of Mexico and the Aztecs.
    Mexico is in North America as were the Aztecs. Apparently they did cultivate Chia in pre Columbian times and used it in similar ways to Maise.
    It is a fabulous grain and thanks for reminding us Amanda. I hope this clears up the misunderstanding.

  • ali

    PS. I read that Australia produced the most Chia in 2008. Not sure if that’s true?

  • Jo

    Actually chia seeds DO need to be opened so you can absorb the most amount of nutrients possible, if you eat them whole you pretty much only benefit from the fiber. Think of what happens when you eat corn….! If you are going to eat chia you want to be eating the best chia on the market and that is Mila.

  • Wesley

    The king of seeds is not represented here?!? The most beneficial seed of all, especially if you’re a vegan, is Quinoa. Google it. The ancient Inca’s used to consider this a super-grain (and rightfully so). Can be used as a rice substitute, great in salads and the king of natural proteins. It contains the highest concentration of ALL essential amino acids (there are 8 of them and they MUST come from what you eat because these proteins cannot be synthesized by the body). We are all told nonsense about how there is no plant, grain, fruit or veg that provides all of the essential amino acids and that is all just bull. Google it. Quinoa. The king of grains.

  • Leslie

    I would love it if sometimes you could focus on gluten free advice! 🙂

  • Megan

    I must say, Hemp and cannabis are not marijuana. And also, that hemp has no THC what-so-ever. So, from reading the rest of these comments, OP needs to do more research.