Making small adjustments to your day, like waking up 10 minutes earlier, can drastically change how many things you accomplish that day. The same goes for your diet; by changing small parts of your diet, whether it’s keeping proportions in mind, or drinking 1 soda a day instead of 2, you are making strides towards a better you. Some small, and we really mean small, adjustments that can be added into your everyday diet are…seeds! These aren’t seeds you plant in the ground; these are seeds that have been taking the world by storm with their powerful, nutritional benefits-chia, hemp, flax, and pumpkin (pepita) seeds.
Remember those Chia Pet commercials? Whether it was a Scooby-Doo head or Homer Simpson head, their plant-like hair was grown from chia seeds! Although Chia Pets used chia seeds, don’t eat those seeds – instead, purchase them fresh from a grocery store.
Chia seeds may be small, but they are packed-full of nutrition. They are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. Since they are high in fiber, they can help you feel fuller for longer, so don’t hesitate to add them to your yogurt, salads, smoothies, and even meatballs for an extra punch of flavor.
Looking for a way to up your protein intake to build more muscle? Hemp seeds are what you’re seeking. They contain a healthy dosage of amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own, plus they contain fatty acids which can boost your immune system. Like chia seeds, hemp seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your cardiovascular health.
Add these into your smoothies, cereal, and salads for a small hint of nuttiness. Plus, don’t be worried about hemp seeds and their relation to marijuana; although both are in the cannabis family, hemp seeds do not contain THC like marijuana.
Need an energy booster once you hit that mid-day slump? Packed full of magnesium to provide more energy are good, ole flax seeds. They also contain lignans, plant compounds that improve blood flow in the body, so they’re perfect for lowering blood pressure – and they contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which can keep your heart stronger for longer.
When you buy flax seeds, don’t start sprinkling them onto your food – their shells are too hard, so either grind them or put them in a blender. By grinding them your body will be able to absorb all their nutritional benefits, whereas by keeping the shells on they will pass right through your body.
Pumpkin (pepita) Seeds
It’s fall and you know what that means – pumpkin is everywhere! Before you carve a masterpiece to place on your doorstep at night, don’t throw away all the ‘goop’ inside – save those pumpkin seeds. When you remove the white outer shell from the pumpkin seeds, you are left with a green seed known as a pepita.
Pumpkin seeds are great for those who have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of their high amounts of Vitamin K. Plus men can reap the benefits of eating pumpkin seeds–the oil from pumpkin seeds contains phytosterols, alleviating symptoms from having an enlarged prostate and the levels of magnesium can lower their risk of early death.