When I was spreading some seeds in the huge bird feeder at the backyard, my kid came running to me. Her curiosity often makes me question my lifestyle.
“What is that you are feeding to the birds?” she questions.
“These are the seeds that birds eat.” I replied.
“Can I taste them?” (This question made me realize that now there is no stopping her. I will have to be ready with answers.)
“No baby, they are meant for the birds,” I replied again.
“Will this make the birds stronger?”
“Indeed” I reassured her.
“I want to be strong like the birds. So I want to taste them.” She opens her mouth and gestured me to put some inside.
I had to, without any choice.
While she made awful faces after tasting the raw seeds, this made me remember my childhood when we actually munched on seeds in the evening. They were spread on a sheet under the sun. We used to steal them from the sheet before they were completely dried. We relished them for their taste and not the health benefits that our grandma used to mention. Now, I am too lazy to dry the seeds just like my elders did. So, on my next visit to superstore, I hunted for some ready-to-eat seeds for my little one to munch. To my pleasant surprise, there was a beautiful range of seeds available from across the borders as well. I picked a couple of packets and happily headed to the billing counter.
Seeds have made a comeback.
People are munching them for several health benefits they offer. They are a healthy snack full of essential nutrients. If had in the right quantity, it aids in weight loss too. Here are some of the popular healthy seeds easily available at nearby stores or online.
1. Flax Seeds
If you are a diabetic, then flax seeds can be your good friend. These seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, calcium, potassium, magnesium and other essential nutrients that help in maintaining health while preventing cardiovascular ailments and arthritis as well. Make the most of flax seeds by eating them in the grounded form.
2. Chia Seeds
Vegetarians should stock up on these seeds to get their share of omega-3 fatty acids. Along with the essential fats, chia seeds are a good source of protein, iron, calcium and fibre as well. Chia seeds, unlike flax seeds, do not need to be grounded. They can be added to preparations directly. There are several recipes that not only look better but also taste better with chia seeds, especially desserts. So, next time, when you prepare smoothies or bake cookies, add chia seeds for nutrition.
3. Poppy Seeds
This oilseed is quite infamous, thanks to its source. However, poppy seeds are brimming with nutrition and taste. Include them in your diet for improved health. Poppy seeds contain calcium, iron, protein, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B-6 as well. If consumed on a regular basis, it maintains the bone due to the high content of calcium. It also helps in preventing heart ailments, constipation and sleep disorders. It even assists in the production of red blood cells.
4. Sunflower Seeds
Brimming with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Thiamine, Phosphorous, copper, selenium and other nutrients, sunflower seeds are a good source of fatty acids. They even provide fibre, proteins and amino acids with the body. Although being fat, sunflower seeds are quite healthy. Their consumption helps maintain body weight and keeps cardiovascular diseases away. If you are on a weight-loss diet, sunflower seeds allow your body in balancing hormones. They keep you feeling full for a longer duration.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
While pumpkin seeds are not as tasty as salty snacks that you like to munch on, you would definitely enjoy munching them during your tea breaks. These super seeds contain magnesium, potassium, healthy fats and protein as well. If you happen to get the roasted variety, do not miss them. Make your kids eat them instead of potato chips. My grandma used to clean the seeds after we had relished the pumpkin soup she prepared. She used to sun-dry them on a sheet for a couple of days. Nowadays, you can make use of the oven instead of the sun. Spread them on a baking sheet and coat them with some olive oil and spices. In a matter of 30 minutes and a few stirs in between, the seeds would be ready to relish.
6. Sesame Seeds
If you are looking for seeds that will help you up to your intake of calcium and even reduce cholesterol levels, then sesame seeds are a perfect fit for you. Full of fibre, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium and healthy fats, sesame seeds even help burn fat and boost the absorption of nutrients. Due to high levels of zinc present in sesame seeds, they are known to maintain good hair and skin. The presence of sesamol protects DNA from the damaging effects of radiation.
7. Hemp Seeds
Loved for their content of iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and even protein, hemp seeds are known to help in cases of hypertension. They are rich in Gamma-Linolenic Acid that helps control body temperature and even inflammation. Women suffering from PMS symptoms should consume hemp seeds as they help in maintaining hormonal health. They aid in weight loss too.
Do not underestimate the power of seeds. Birds have them for good reasons and you can relish them too. Just a handful of super seeds are good for preventing several ailments and keeping you in good shape too.