It seems like every day we hear of a new superfood to try, a new superfood to buy, or a new nutritious ingredient we should be incorporating into our daily routine.
And while research is continually advancing and finding new foods, with new nutritional benefits, sometimes, it seems like there are just too many thing to keep track of.
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, but still interested in trying something new, start with these six powerful nuts and seeds:
Hemp Seeds – Rich in protein, a source of Omega 3 healthy fats, and a source of fiber, these creamy, rich tasting seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. You can turn them into milk or butter, but they are perhaps best simply sprinkled on top of your smoothie bowl, stirred into oatmeal or added onto salads to offer texture and flavor. They are a mix of green, black and cream colored, and you will also regularly see them being sold finely ground, as Hemp Protein Powder.
Flax Seeds – Also commonly known as Linseeds, these seeds have been in grocery stores and health food stores for several years, and in some cases, seem like old news! But don’t discount the amazing benefits of these little seeds. High in fiber, they are great for improving regularity, and are one of the best sources of essential fatty acids for plant-based foodies. IN addition, they are regularly used in place of eggs in vegan baking, due to their ability to bind ingredients together. For optimal nutrition, be sure to eat them ground, and store in the fridge; whole seeds pass through the body largely undigested, failing to offer maximal health benefits like the ground version.
Nigella Seeds – These little black seeds, formally known as Kalonji, and originating from India, are sometimes called black sesame seeds or black cumin seeds. They contain several trace minerals, have protein and fatty acids, and help the body in so many ways: boost immunity, improve skin health, fight acne, help with weight loss and ease joint pain. The next time you see these little seeds in the Indian spice shop, grab a few spoonfuls and sprinkle them on curries, over soup or stirred into rice.
Sesame Seeds – You may be used to seeing sesame seeds simply as a topping on bread or sprinkled on your Japanese dishes, but Sesame seeds are an incredible source of calcium and are not to be sued simply as a garnish. Their bone-boosting mineral content makes them an especially ideal seed to add to your diet if you are diary free. In addition, sesame seeds are the main ingredient of tahini, a nutty, rich butter that tastes delicious on vegetables and makes a great dressing or marinade.
Brazil Nuts – A rather large sized nut, you can’t miss this one when you pass by it on the shelf of the organic food store. In addition to being a good source of protein and healthy fat, the big benefit of this variety of nuts is that they are rich in selenium. Selenium is a mineral that is essential for good brain function and is also a powerful antioxidant. As such Selenium acts in the body to help remove free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer and other harmful diseases.
The next time you go shopping, don’t stick to just almonds and sunflower seeds. Instead, try something new and select one of these nut and seed alternatives!
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition