Food Focus: Seeds

chia seeds text

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A tiny seed that you may have noticed popping up in every supermarket and every recipe out there. This is not a bad thing however, as chia seeds have a huge nutritional profile. Chia seeds are high in fibre, which we need to help maintain a healthy digestive system. Getting enough fibre into your breakfast will help set you up for the day, and since chia seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight in water, you will feel fuller for longer and less likely to want to snack between your main meals.

For bone and muscle health, chia is rich in calcium, and for a healthy heart and good circulation; chia seeds contain the essential fatty acid omega 3. A chia filled breakfast is great for students who have exams coming up, as the omega 3 will improve blood flow to the brain, thus improving memory. On top of that, keeping full after breakfast and keeping away the stomach growls during a silent exam is always a bonus.

Recipes using chia seeds

 

Pumpkin seeds title

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A more common seed than chia seeds, but by no means further down the nutritional ladder. Pumpkin seeds are the hulled seeds of a pumpkin, and come in different shades of green. They are a must if you are looking to keep your hair and skin healthy, and they are rich in the mineral Zinc, essential for the production of healthy hair follicles and optimal zinc levels are required in the natural treatment of acne. Zinc is involved in the proper metabolism of testosterone, and so when zinc is low, more testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone stimulates to production of sebum and keratin, which can then block the sebaceous glands and cause spots/acne.

A small handful of pumpkin seeds have more protein than one egg, with about 19g of protein per 100g of pumpkin seeds, so if you have decided to avoid eating protein rich foods like meat and eggs, then this is one of your many plant based sources of protein. Pumpkin seeds are great if you are feeling stressed, as they are rich in the muscle relaxing mineral magnesium and the amino acid tryptophan.

Recipes using Pumpkin seeds

 

Sunflower seeds text

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Another seed rich in protein, sunflower seeds are a great plant based source of protein, and go well with pumpkin seeds as a snack. They are rich in energy boosting B-vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and niacin, as well as skin healing vitamin E and copper. Sunflower seeds are a great snack if your energy levels are dropping between your main meals thanks to the B-vitamins.

Since the zinc in pumpkin seeds can lower our copper levels, combining copper rich sunflower seeds with pumpkin seeds is a great way to keep everything level. Sunflower seeds go great with salads, just a small handful sprinkled over the top will do nicely.

Recipes using sunflower seeds

Linseed text

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First off, if you haven’t already heard this a thousand times, flax seed and linseed are the same thing, however you may see one packet with one name, and another packet with the other name, regardless, they are the same.

A great source of our essential fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6, as well as the non-essential fatty acid omega 9. If you have recently changed over the vegetarian diet, and used to eat plenty of fish, then you will need to make sure you are getting your essential fatty acids from somewhere, and linseed is a great option. Omega 3 will keep your heart healthy and improve circulation, while omega will keep your hormones in check. You may be more familiar with Evening Primrose Oil, which is another natural source of omega 6.

The best way to get all the benefits of linseed is to have them milled or ground. The whole seed has a tendency to pass straight through us, so including ground linseed in a smoothie or in porridge is the best way to get all of the benefits of the seed. You can buy linseed as an oil, which is best used as a dressing for salad. Do not heat linseed oil, as it will go rancid. The smell alone will make you want to leave your kitchen and never come back!

Recipes with linseed

 

Hemp seeds text

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If you’re new to the world of healthy eating, you may not have heard yet about hemp seeds. Yes they come from the same plant as marijuana, but no, they do not have the same effects, and they are very legal to buy.

Hemp seeds are extremely rich in protein, with 37g of protein per 100g of hemp seeds. Because of this, you can buy hemp seeds in a protein powder from health food shops and supermarkets. Hemp seeds have a slightly nutty taste, but overall can be mixed with anything.

On top of the protein content, per 100g hemp seeds contain nearly 10mg of iron and 12g of zinc, and so considered on a daily basis you need roughly 15mg of each, makes them extremely rich source!

Recipes using hemp seeds

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