Health & Lifestyle

Know the Super Snacks - Seeds

The story of your tasty little-toasted treats, snack –seeds goes way back to your granny who asked you not to throw away seeds of some of your favourite or maybe not-so-favourite fruits. She used to soak, dry, pack, roast, what not! It was her way of getting you nibbling on something nutritious and keeping your hands out of the cookie jar. 

When it comes to superfoods, seeds are having a moment. There is an obsession with healthy fats, protein and fiber—it’s like the Trinity and seeds have all three. Of course, shortly after every health food trend, there are enterprising food companies to sell you packaged foods that contain them. So is the case with the super snacks - seeds.  

The National Restaurant Association named protein-rich seeds as one of its ‘Top 20 Food Trends’ this year.  

Add Seeds to your diet. Seeds are an easy and guilt-free way to sprinkle nutrition and value onto the foods that you are already eating. 

You can consider snacking on the following seeds, they are worth it.

1. FANTASTIC FLAXSEED

Ever wondered how suddenly the common crowd has started praising flaxseed for its numerous health benefits from weight loss to diabetes to heart health? 

Well, originated in Egypt, it was basically used to wrap up the mummies. So this super food which is known as ‘Alsi’ in Hindi, has emerged the Indian market from the Mediterranean region. 

Flaxseed is found in all kinds of foods from crackers to frozen waffles to oatmeal. Before you toss them in your meals, here are a few properties of these seeds: 

  • Loaded with the good fat omega-3, it shuns away bad fat from your body which helps to maintain your cholesterol level and synthesis of steroid hormones. Sowhen anyone says that flaxseeds are beneficial for your heart, you know the component behind it. 

  • Flaxseed contain 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. Lignans have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. When a woman reaches menopause, there is a hormonal imbalance and sudden withdrawal of estrogen levels. Having 1 teaspoon of flaxseed can help to maintain those estrogen levels. Enriched with antioxidant qualities, it’s good for your hair and skin. 

  • Flaxseeds are known to contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. So soluble fiber is something which would help provide you satiety and avoid binge eating. On the other handinsoluble fiber will bind onto the extra circulating sugars and remove them from the body. 

How can they be used? 

  • Use them in dough or 

  • Make a cake out it or nutty spreads for your fussy little preschoolers at home. 

These can also be used as an evening snack or tossed over salads  

2. CHIA SEEDS 

What exactly are chia seeds? Ever thought? They are actually members of the mint family and native to Mexico. They are hydrophilic i.e. they just love water and expand to form a thick gel whenever they encounter a liquid. 

These energy-boosting seeds have become one of the most powerful super foods in the community. Easy to digest, a versatile ingredient to many recipes, they are highly valued for their medicinal properties and nutritional value. 

Let’s peep into the nutritional profile of these seeds: 

  • Loaded with 20% Omega-3 fatty acids, 37% dietary fiber and 20% protein, it surely acts as a source essential nutrients.

  • Even researchers from Mexico have found that the phenolic concentration (antioxidants) speed up skin’s repair system and prevent ageing.

  • Being high in dietary fiber, itbenefits bowel regularity and balances the insulin levels. 

  • Absolute munching snack for the obese as it absorbs considerable amount of water and immediately expands in the stomach suppressing your appetite and curbing hunger pangs.

  • Just one ounce of chia seeds has 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Make sure you consume enough to maintain bone health.

  • These seeds are packed with Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A and Zinc. Soit’s no wonder that they are a top food for your teeth heath. 

Try adding chia seeds to: 

  • Smoothies

  • Oatmeal

  • Salads 

  • Yoghurt

  • Puddings

3. PUMPKIN SEEDS 

Ever heard of ‘Pepitas?’ 

May seem small nutty seeds but are they’re packed full of valuable nutrients. 

Pumpkin seeds—also known as ‘pepitas’ are flat, dark green seeds. Some are encased in a yellow-white husk (often called the shell), and some varieties don’t have a shell. The word ‘pepita’ comes from Mexico, where the Spanish phrase ‘pepita de calabaza’ means ‘little seed of squash.’ 

Having a malleable, chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavor, pumpkin seeds are available in all forms —raw, shelled, unshelled and roasted. 

Major health benefits of pumpkin seeds that shall make you want them. 

  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium and many other nutrients. An ounce (28 grams) contains about 151 calories.

  • They are full of antioxidants that may help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.

  • Pumpkin seeds are helpful in preventing cancers.

  • They reduce symptoms of benign prostate enlargement and an overactive bladder.

  • Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium. Healthy magnesium levels are important for your blood pressure, heart health, bone health and blood sugar levels.

  • Whole pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of fiber and hence are associated with health benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

  • The high zinc content of the seeds may help improve sperm quality and fertility in men.

  • Pumpkin seeds are a good source of tryptophan, zinc and magnesium, all of which help to get a good sleep.

   A Few Quick Serving Ideas 

  • Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables.

  • Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of mixed green salads.

  • Grind the seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves and mix with olive oil, lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.

  • Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite cereal.

  • You can add them to your oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe.

  • Next time you make burgers, whether it be from vegetables, turkey or beef, you may add some pumpkin seeds.

4. SUNFLOWER SEEDS 

Have you had a handful of mild nutty tasting sunflower seeds with their firm but tender texture to take care of your hunger and get a wealth of nutrition at the same time?  

Sunflower seeds are the gift of the beautiful sunflower that has rays of petals emanating from its bright yellow, seed-studded center. The flower produces grayish-green or black seeds encased in tear-dropped shaped gray or black shells that often feature black and white stripes. 

Sunflowers are thought to have originated in Mexico and Peru, also, they are one of the first plants to ever be cultivated in the United States. 

Know their health benefits before you grab them. 

  • A quarter cup serving of sunflower seeds contains around 60% of the daily value of vitamin E. This vitamin performs important antioxidant function and reduces risk of early death from cardiovascular disease.

  • Sunflower seeds contain a high level of phytosterols. These phytosterols have physical properties similar to cholesterol and hence promote healthy cholesterol levels.

  • A quarter cup serving of these seeds provide above 25% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. That’s protection for your brain, heart, muscles and more. 

  • There’s an added bonus to the magnesium in sunflower seeds, it promotes a healthy mood. It plays an essential role in homeopathic therapies for mental health.

  • Sunflower seeds contain selenium that plays a major role in antioxidant function and helps to reduce redness and swelling in the body. Selenium has been noted for its ability to encourage DNA repair in damaged cells. It is a powerful antioxidant and great for thyroid health.

 Serving Ideas that would help you: 

  • You may add sunflower seeds to tuna, chicken or turkey salad.

  • Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals.

  • Give a unique taste to scrambled egg by adding sunflower seeds.

  • Garnish green salads with sunflower seeds.

 

5. MUSKMELON SEEDS 

Muskmelon is one of the popular fruits of the summer season. This fruit is packed with a dozen health benefits. However while relishing this fleshy pastel fruit, have you been throwing away the seeds laden with nutrition?  

You would be amazed to know that a 100 g serving of muskmelon seeds has approximately 7% carbohydrates, 2% proteins, and <1% of fats. In addition, these seeds have loads of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, E, K, niacin, zinc, magnesium, etc. 

 Don’t forget to save the seeds for the following benefits: 

  • Muskmelon seeds are rich in potassium which helps in reducing the blood pressure, thereby keeping the heart healthy.

  • The high amounts of vitamin A and beta carotene in muskmelon seeds help sharpen eye sight as well as reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

  • The high protein content in these seedsaids in the growth of body tissues and promotes the growth of your hair and nails. 

  • Muskmelon seeds contain vitamin C that helps to strengthen immunity by boosting the production of white blood cells in the blood.

  • The good amount of folate in these seeds removes excess sodium, thereby, reducing water retention problems in pregnant females.

  • You must be wondering how these seeds can relieve your stress. Basically, they increase oxygen flow to the brain, which eventually makes our brain tissues calm and stress-free.

  • Due to their neutral pH, muskmelon seeds are a blessing for those who often suffer from acid reflux issues or other stomach problems.

  • The abundant amount of omega-3 fatty acids in muskmelon seeds take care of the functioning of your heart and prevent various heart diseases.

  • Muskmelon seeds help to fight summer. They eliminate excess phlegm from the body and aid in relieving congestion.

You must – use the musk –melon seeds this way: 

  • You can eat muskmelon seeds raw or you can add them to your salads. Not simply will they boost the health value of the food, but probably add crunchiness and boost the taste, too.

  • You can wash the muskmelon seeds, dry them, and then roast in the oven or on the gas to make a crispy, healthy snack. Snack on them whenever you feel like.

  • Add these seeds in your smoothies and you would like the taste and thickness they bring along.

  • Muskmelon seeds may be spread in breads and buns or included with yummy sandwiches.

  • These seeds are ideal for thickening soups, stews, and gravies. They are frequently utilized in spicy meat dishes to bring thickness.

  • You can include them to your apple pies and crumbles.

6. WATERMELON SEEDS 

Seed spitting contest, anyone? A lot of people opt for seedless. But the nutritional value of watermelon seeds may convince you otherwise. Watermelon seeds are low in calories and are nutrient dense. When roasted, they’re crispy and can easily take the place of other unhealthy snack options. 

Watermelon seeds come from the watermelon plant, which grows on the vine and bears the scientific name Citrullus lanatus. The seeds come in two main colors, white and black, which are the immature and fully developed seeds respectively. The black seeds are the ones you should choose to snack on and there can be hundreds in a single watermelon.  

Watermelon seeds are loaded with the following benefits: 

  • The seeds contain adequate amount of protein, which is helpful for your hair health. They contain iron, which helps to strengthen your hair and promoting hair growth. 

  • These seeds are abundant with fatty acid like oleic acid and linoleum acid, which is beneficial in making your skin healthy. 

  • The seeds are loaded with calorie and fatty acid. One cup of such seeds containabout 600 calorie, which is almost three times of same quantity of brown rice. It is a good source of giving you energy with low cost 

  • Watermelon is termed as ‘natural Viagra’ because of its effective sexual urging properties. The seeds are loaded with many important amino acids like arginine, lysine and glutamic acid. The presence of arginine amino acid boosts your sexual power and helps to urges your sexual desire. The lycopene in the seeds helps in the formation of sperm.

  • The seeds are effective to certain extent in lowering down sugar level in blood thus helpful to treat Diabetes type 2. To control sugar, one must have tea of watermelon seeds. Magnesium regulates metabolism of carbohydrate, which directly impact blood sugar level.

  • Eating these seeds is beneficial for cardiac function and hypertension. Arginine treats your coronary heart disease also regulates blood pressure. Omega 6 fatty acid reduces blood pressure.

  • Watermelon seeds contains niacin, folate, thiamine, patotheinicacid and vitamin B6. Out of all these vitamins, Niacin is very important for the nervous system, digestive system and beautiful skin. 

  • Roasted and dried watermelon seeds can be taken as snacks. However, one precaution may be taken that the roasted seeds should be chewed properly in order to absorb its nutrients in a better way.

Watermelon seeds say, “Use me wisely.” Make sure you do. 

  • Watermelon seeds can be used in salads, fried rice, soups, and sandwiches. 

  • They are used in making sweets dishes.

  • The tea made from watermelon seeds is quite popular and also is beneficial for good health.

  • They can be used in a lot of bread and cookies.

  • Sprouts can be taken after soaking it for few days followed by roasting it in oven.

  • Its oil is known as ‘Kalahari oil’ orOotanga oil’ and is popular in West Africa where people normally use it for cooking. 

Seeds give you what you really want; something that you can add to your food, that is nutritious, fills you up, and doesn’t hurt the environment. 

Happy Munching! 



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