Last week we discussed nuts as a balanced snack. This week, our blog is all about the most wonderful little powerhouses of nutrients and energy: Seeds!
This type of complete protein makes chia and hemp seeds is a good substitute in vegan diets together with soy, quinoa, avocado and beans with rice.
Seeds contain a fairly high level of fat which also increases their energy contribution. Hemp and sesame seeds boast the highest fat levels and provide approximately 60Kcal and 5-6g of fat per tablespoon, 30% more than the same amount of cheese.
However, not all seeds contain the same type of fat:
Seeds also present high levels of polyunsaturated fats including:
omega-3, which promote the integrity of cell membranes and whose deficiency increases the incidence of depression and low resistance to stress, and omega-6 that are necessary for growth and development and to maintain a healthy brain function.
Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties and omega-6 pro-inflammatory. In general, modern diets can contain too much omega-6 fat found in meats, processed foods, vegetable oils, nuts and sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds versus omega-3 fats found in oily fish, chia and flax seeds.
Seeds contain minerals such as magnesium, needed for muscle relaxation, and vitamin B1 necessary for energy production and a healthy nervous system.
Chia and sesame seeds contain good levels of calcium and therefore are a good alternative for those who avoid dairy products.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, a potent antioxidant and hemp seeds are rich in folic acid.
IN BREAD AND BAKING: Add a few tablespoons of seeds to your bread dough and muffin or cake batter.
IN CEREALS AND YOGURT: Grind flax seeds first because the outer layer is too hard for us to digest and add to muesli, yogurt or soups.
IN SALADS: Lightly toast some sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds until they start popping and sprinkle on a leaves, tomatoes and beetroot salad. Dress with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and salt and voila, lunch is ready!
IN SOUPS: add toasted pumpkin seeds to roast and spiced pumpkin soup.