Monday, March 22, 2010

Nature's Best Seeds

Seeds are an incredibly rich source of nutrients, not only for the growth of a sprout, but also for our own health. Next time you need a snack, or a topping for your salad, consider one of these nutritious seeds:

Picture of sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds are a great source of nutrients that are typically lacking in the American diet, including selenium and iron. Avoid seeds that have been fried or appear broken, as these are much more likely to be rancid.

Flax seeds: Well known for their omega-3 fatty acid content, flax seeds are also great sources of fiber, magnesium and potassium. Flax seeds must be ground in order for our bodies to absorb the nutrients. Look for whole seeds to grind, or buy ground flax seed in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

Sesame seeds: The tiny sesame seed is full of powerful nutrients for optimal health. A substance in sesame seeds called sesamin is an anti-cancer phytochemical and may also help lower cholesterol.

Chia seeds: As an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, and calcium, chia seeds must not be overlooked as one of nature's best seeds. Chia seeds have a nutty flavor and can be eaten either whole or ground. Because of their high antioxidant content, chia seeds are more shelf-stable than other seeds.

Combine a variety of these seeds into a jar and sprinkle seeds onto foods to add texture, flavor, and nutrients galore.

- Jamie Hunter, dietetic intern; and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University


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