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Seedy Secrets

Health benefits of seeds

Don’t be fooled by their diminutive size—tiny seeds can pack a serious nutritional punch! In order to flourish into full-sized plants, seeds have to carry all the necessary nutrition to sprout and get growing. When we get our hands on them before that happens, we can take advantage of all the benefits packed into each tiny package. Most seeds are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that are important to every diet—and especially vegetarian and vegan diets. Small enough to sneak into just about any meal, it’s time to give seeds a shot!

Flax

These tiny, flat seeds are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and loads of soluble fiber, but you’ll miss out on their benefits unless you grind them before adding to smoothies, oatmeal and casseroles.

Celery

Full of phytonutrients that may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, the strong flavor of these little seeds makes it easy to go overboard. Sprinkle lightly on savory entrées for a touch of celery flavor and a ton of nutrition.

Sunflower

An excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin E, protein and heart-healthy fats. Eat them by the handful, mix into your favorite baked goods, and sprinkle on toast or in stir fry recipes.

Fennel

Highly concentrated in vitamins A, C, and E, plus minerals like copper, iron, calcium, and zinc, these fiber-rich seeds add a sweet, anise flavor to breads, vegetable dishes and tea.

Mustard

Anti-inflammatory selenium and magnesium are the stars of this potent seed, which is delicious toasted and sprinkled on your favorite dish, or ground up and used as a spread in a variety of entrées.

Poppy

Tiny, crunchy and loaded with iron, calcium, protein and fiber. Delicious in any baked good, or sprinkled over your cereal, or mixed in your favorite yogurt.

Chia

Chia is where to go for iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, soluble fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. They absorb water, thickening juices, smoothies and oatmeal while keeping a delightful crunch.

Sesame

Linoleic acid, an Omega-6 fatty acid that may help control cholesterol, is in great supply in sesame. Toasting the seeds brings out a stronger flavor and additional crunch that’s great in salads and stir fry dishes.

Pumpkin

Along with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and protein, these also contain tryptophan, which may have a calming effect. Eat them raw or roasted, in granola bars, as a garnish or just by the handful.

Photography by Katheryn Moran Photography.

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