Seeds: How They Can Help Maintain a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet comprises foods that fulfill all of a person’s nutritional needs. Consuming a balanced diet helps people maintain good health and reduce their risk of diseases. Seeds are an imperative supplement to any balanced diet. Loaded with a perfect balance of essential fats, protein, and a vast array of different nutrients and phytonutrients, seeds in diet play an important role in maintaining health. Seeds are little powerhouses of massive potential and filled with goodness. Here is a list of the five best seeds to eat for added nutrition in your balanced diet.
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Chia seeds are unprocessed, whole-grain, and high protein seeds that, when consumed on a daily basis, can greatly assist in maintaining a balanced diet. Chia seeds are high in alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acids and approximately 60% of the oil in chia seeds is from omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a highly versatile food as they have almost no flavor and can absorb liquid up to 9x their weight, which gives them a gelatinous texture.
- Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, containing 30-40g of fiber per 100g serving. Fiber-rich foods help the stomach feel full for longer which helps aid weight loss and management.
- Chia seeds can help in improving digestion, controlling blood sugar, and providing valuable prebiotics for overall gut health.
- Chia seeds contain high levels of omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid, which can be beneficial for weight loss along with calcium that helps strengthen bones.
Tips to Include Chia Seeds in your Diet:
- Sprinkle a few teaspoons of chia seeds into breakfast cereal (warm or cold), stews, salad dressings, sauces, or even cake.
- Use chia gel as a thickener and add to smoothies, puddings, and soups.
Flax seeds, also known as linseed, are tiny golden/brown seeds that contain heart-healthy fiber and fatty acids. Both flax seeds and flaxseed oil are widely known for curing several ailments. They are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids that help in fighting inflammation.
- Flax seeds are high in nutrients such as vitamin B complex and magnesium. They also help in lowering LDL cholesterol.
- They are a rich source of lignans, (a plant chemical that is defined as phytoestrogens that contain lots of health benefits) which help in guarding against several chronic diseases such as heart diseases. The lignans present in flax seeds can help in preventing diabetes.
- Flax seeds are low in carbohydrates, making them a perfect choice for those trying to control their intake of sugar and starch.
Tips to Include Flax Seeds in your Diet:
- Flax seeds are usually consumed in ground form or as an oil. Consuming ground flax seeds allows for better nutrient absorption.
- They can be added in cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, shakes, and smoothies. They can also be eaten in salads.
Basil seeds or Sabja seeds are black in color and droplike in shape. They are packed with energy, lots of nutrients and have immunity-boosting properties. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and also contain omega-3 fatty acids. They are one of the best seeds to eat since they’re a powerhouse of minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, vitamins C and folates, and more. Hence, they are rightly called wonder seeds.
- Basil seeds are known to reduce body heat and have a soothing effect on the stomach. They are also proven to have high anti-diabetic potential.
- These seeds are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which stimulates fat-burning metabolism in the body. Thus, they help in cleansing the body from accumulated toxins.
- Basil seeds have a calming effect on the body in addition to the mind since they contain adaptogen. It is a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress and promotes mental balance.
Tips to Include Basil Seeds in your diet:
- You can add basil seeds in various drinks such as lemonade, milkshakes, coconut water, smoothies, buttermilk, soups, sharbat, and even juices.
- They can be added to ice creams, pasta, and salads for a pleasant crunchy texture.
Pumpkin seeds are tiny, yet they carry a big punch with a sweet and nutty taste. They are rich in magnesium, fiber, and potassium with incredible benefits. They are also a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-6 fatty acids, and contain a good range of nutrients, including iron, calcium, B2, folate and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Pumpkin seeds are also referred to as pepitas meaning “little seeds of squash” in Spanish; these are pumpkin seeds without the shell and are only found in some pumpkins such as Oilseed and Styrian pumpkins.
Health Benefits :
- Pumpkin seeds, together with linseed, may help prevent diabetic complications, such as high LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The hypoglycemic benefits of these seeds may help people with diabetes to control blood sugar levels.
- Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that helps improve sleep.
- They are also a good source of antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E ( 4, 5, 6 ) which can help scavenge the free radicals that can damage cells.
Tips for Including Pumpkin Seeds in your Diet:
- Make homemade granola with a mixture of nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.
- You can add pumpkin seeds with a tad bit of olive oil, and season it with cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne and bake until toasted.
Sunflower seeds are high protein seeds and contain monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Sunflowers are so much more than a beautiful plant resembling the sun and they are one of the most important oilseed crops in the world. Their seeds are an underrated superfood. Adding sunflower seeds to your diet could do wonders for your skin, heart, immunity, and overall health.
- Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, flavonoids, and other plant compounds that can reduce inflammation and also lower the risk of several diseases.
- Unlike saturated fat, moderate unsaturated fat consumption has shown to improve heart health. Consuming more heart-healthy fats, like the mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in sunflower seeds can help improve heart health.
- These seeds are an excellent supply of zinc, folate, and vitamin E. Vitamin E is essential for prenatal health, as it facilitates the fetus’s development and uses red blood cells and muscles.
Tips to Include Sunflower Seeds in your Diet
Sunflower seeds are sold either in the shell or as shelled kernels.
- The shelled kernel can be stirred into homemade granola bars, tuna or chicken salad, leafy green salad, etc.
- Sprinkle them over sautéed vegetables, cereal, over fruit or yogurt parfaits.
Quinoa is the seed of a plant known as Chenopodium quinoa. It is higher in nutrients than most grains and often marketed as a “superfood”. Cooked quinoa of 100gm contains 5.4g of protein and 10-16g of fiber.
- Quinoa is gluten-free and can be used as a substitute for many gluten ingredients.
- The nutrient-rich quinoa makes a wholesome food for metabolic fitness. One of the primary advantages of quinoa is its ability to help reduce insulin, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels.
- Quinoa is a wealthy source of antioxidants, which are required by the body to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses.
Tips to Include Quinoa in your Diet:
- It is easy to include quinoa into any diet as it can replace rice in any recipe. Its small grains cook to tender in as little as 15 minutes.
- Quinoa has a diffused nutty taste. It can play a role in baking or as a breakfast grain. It also works well in hot side dishes, cold salads, and burgers.
Maintaining a balanced diet is essential because it gives us sufficient nutrients for the body to perform effectively. A healthy lifestyle and balanced diet can easily be maintained by adding seeds to the diet that are rich in protein, healthy fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. These little robust kernels are a powerhouse of energy for the body to function well. Seeds are extraordinarily versatile and can be integrated effortlessly into a variety of different recipes. This is why seeds in your diet are a good practice to improve your overall health.
Let us know your favorite healthy seeds that you prefer to add to your diet!