SEEDS; not just for the birds!
Seeds pack a nutritional wallop and when you think about it, you can see why. They are the genesis of nearly all of our plant food (mushrooms being one not from seeds) so they contain all the nutrients necessary to grow plants! How great for us. Seeds are loaded with fiber, minerals, protein, omega 3’s and those all important antioxidants. Turns out what’s important for growing plants is good for us. Surprise, surprise!
You probably are already eating many of these seeds; we love our pumpkin seeds in smoothies and sesame seeds sprinkled over salads or in our favorite tahini and of course the ubiquitous chia seed pudding.
Like all foods that are good for us, it’s best to eat a variety. Eating a lot of any any one food is taxing on your body and in some people can lead to food sensitivities. Besides it’s fun to try new foods. So if you are tired of chia seeds try basil seeds. They have more fiber and minerals than chia and are high in omega 3’s. They are easy to substitute for chia because they too need to be soaked and will expand in liquid. If you like the texture of chia, you will love basil seeds. Check out Zenbasil for clean, organic seeds.
Another seed to try is Nigella or Black Seeds. These have been in the news lately because of their purported anti-viral properties, but we like them for their pungent but herby, addicting flavor and blood sugar regulation. They are also full of antioxidants. Look for organic Nigella seeds Terrasoul. Sometimes these seeds are called Black Cumin, but they are not cumin seeds or related to cumin, but rather they are related to fennel.
Our new surprising favorite is watermelon seeds! The seeds we have been throwing out for years are being touted for their healthy fat, loads of bioavailable minerals and high protein. You can roast the seeds but they are best sprouted first. 88acres has done the work for you in their roasted watermelon seed butter.
Most seeds we consume have their protective outer layer removed, but if not, you might want to soak and sprout before consuming (such as watermelon seeds). This also breaks down the phytic acid which will inhibit some nutrients. The phytic acid can irritate some people, so if you are consuming lots of seeds you may find you tolerate the seeds better if they are soaked. UNLESS YOU ARE EATING LOTS OF NUTS, SEEDS AND FOODS MADE WITH NUTS/SEEDS, you probably will not have an issue. Remember eating a varied diet and everything in moderation is best for optimal health.
But if you want to unlock more of the nutrients in seeds, look for sprouted or germinated seeds online. Two places to look, besides Amazon, are Shiloh Farms and Blue Mountain organics. Just one note, HEMP seeds should not be sprouted. They require a different process, so best to leave those to the experts. Flax, Chia and Basil seeds will gel, so no sprouting for them.
Ways to use seeds:
Sprinkle on salads -pumpkin, sunflower, poppy and Nigella are great
Add crunch to soups - caraway, fennel, sesame
Top a stir fry - sesame
Stir into a smoothie - any seed, but the gelled Chia or basil add interesting texture. Don't forget ground flax in your smoothie for extra fiber and essential fatty acids
Add tahini to anything! But especially use it in salad dressing, hummus and drizzled over your smoothie or energy bowl
Seed butters: mix with fruit and enjoy over "Mary's gone crackers" which is full of seeds! Or swirl in your smoothie