When we think about healthy eating, seeds are an often overlooked.
That’s something I’d like to change, for seeds provide an easy and delicious way of getting both protein and good fats as part of an optimal diet.
The high oil content in sunflowers seeds provides a main source of polyunsaturated oil and lots of Vitamin E. Vitamin E’s importance extends throughout the body; it’s the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory effects, has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, as well as decreases the severity of menopausal hot flashes.
Are high in Zinc, which supports immune function, and is involved in maintaining term pregnancy. It also has Magnesium, which is involved in neuromuscular activity, bone formation, improves lipid profiles, supports insulin secretion and sensitivity. Fiber is another component of seeds and in pumpkin seeds; it contributes to lowering the amount of total cholesterol in the blood to lower heart disease. The Omegas 3 and 6 in pumpkin seeds decrease total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL. And the amino acid tryptophan is also present in pumpkin seeds. It aids in sleep, as the body converts tryptophan into melatonin, known as the body’s “sleep hormone”.
One thing to note is that roasting pumpkin seeds longer than 20 minutes, causes unwanted changes occur in the fat content.
Flax seeds have the highest amount of lignans and are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, and Alpha linolenic acid. They are also high in fiber, decreasing cholesterol, protein, B1 and B6 vitamins, iron, potassium and zinc. All of these attributes contribute to its use in weight loss, antioxidant support, and cholesterol lowering.
Here are some easy recipes that make eating your seeds easy and delicious! Enjoy!
Multi Seed Blend
This is a general mix of seeds that can be used as a nutritional boost in your smoothie, over yogurt or in hot cereal.
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup each: chia, flax and sesame seeds
To turn this into a SAVORY mix:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Take 1 cup of the seeds and cover with 1 tsp. olive oil.
- Seasoning options: cumin, curry powder, fennel seeds, ground coriander, granulated garlic, smoked paprika
- Place of sheet tray covered with parchment paper and bake until you can smell the spices, about 12 minutes.
- Remove and let cool before storing in glass jars. Serve by itself or put over gluten free crackers with goat cheese.
To turn this into a SWEET mix:
- Take the basic mix, place on a sheet pan and add:
- 1 tsp. canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Combine any of these spices: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and freshly grated nutmeg.
- Toss together and roast at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.
HEALTHY CARAMEL SEED BRITTLE
Add the following to 1-cup of Sweet Seed mix (above):
- 1-2 cups combined almonds, walnuts, cashews or macadamia nuts
- ½ cup of dried cranberries, or cherries
- 1 tbsp. each of honey and maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a wide bowl, stir together honey and maple syrup.
- Add nut seed mixture and stir to coat everything.
- Spread the nut seed mixture evenly on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown, watching closely to avoid burning. Baking times might vary depending on your oven.
Once done – the syrup should have bubbled up and set around the nuts, in order to stop the cooking, transfer the nut seed mixture, which is on parchment paper, to a plate to cool.