Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Seeds - perfect snack, meal booster

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMCathy Risden
Pumpkin seeds
Flax seeds
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In today's fast-paced world, it is often difficult to find healthy, tasty and affordable food, not to mention snacks. But Mother Nature has going us a choice many of us seem to overlook, seeds. They are filing and readily available for your convenience.

Take care of your hunger and get a wealth of nutrients at the same time with the following five seeds that can also be added to your smoothie, shake or cereal for an extra oomph.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, iron and zinc, which helps to prevent prostate cancer. The seeds are also used to strengthen our bones and immune systems.

When choosing your pumpkin seed you should always check for moisture and shrivelled seeds and avoid those.

Always buy raw, as these seeds can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for several months.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds contain the plant compound sesamin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure, and protect the body from liver damage.

Just a quarter cup of sesame seeds contains 35 per cent of the daily-recommended amount of calcium, and 73.5 per cent of the daily-recommended amount of copper, a mineral that has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect against arthritis.

Often sprinkled on your bun they are sold unshelled or shelled, but be aware that shelled seeds contain 60 per cent less calcium than unshelled ones. Unshelled sesame seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, while the shelled variety should be refrigerated or frozen.

Nutty, sweet and buttery, sesame seeds go well with a number of different foods, including poultry, beans, fish and grains.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are snacks that contain vitamin E very high oil content and are one of the main sources of polyunsaturated oil. This helps prevent heart disease, and relieves arthritis and asthma symptoms.

Sunflower seeds are a nutritional grand slam. It contain selenium that activates DNA repair in damaged cells, kills cancer cells, and detoxifies the liver.

The unroasted variety is your best bet and remember to void yellowish seeds - these have most likely turned rancid. Due to their high fat content they are prone to rot quicker than other seeds, so be sure to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chia seeds

This seed contains a blend of protein, carbohydrates, fat and fibre, making it an ideal energy booster. It is also high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which help the body stabilises blood sugar and slow carbohydrate digestion. Additionally, chia seeds are a good source of iron, calcium, and zinc. These tiny seeds have it all.

If kept whole, these little wonders will keep in your pantry for up to five years.

Flax seeds

Nutty, crunchy flax seeds are king of the Omega-3 fatty acid-rich seeds and offer a great alternate to chemically derived Omega-3 supplements. They also supply a healthy dose of dietary fibre, and contain organic compounds that helps to lower cholesterol and strengthen bones.

Seeds will keep for several months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Ground flax seeds are also available, but they have a shorter shelf life than whole seeds and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Reference: Nutribullet pocket Nutritionist

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com