Updated: Apr 9
Edible seeds are super healthy! Whether we’re talking about chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc., they’re all sources of essential nutrients and they can be easily hidden in almost any food, so your kids (and husband) will eat them!
In general, they contain significant amounts of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and for hemp seeds in particular, protein.
Even though most seeds share similarities, they do have different benefits and nutritional profiles.
Chia seeds are the fiber champions, and per weight, are one of the best sources of soluble prebiotic fiber. They also contain cancer fighting lignans (a polyphenol subtype) in addition to the previously mentioned omega-3 content. Their shells are soft and easily digestible, so they don't need to be ground. Added benefits, including more cholesterol lowering powers, are seen when they are ground. If you soak them in water, you’ll notice a gel like substance form around them. That’s the soluble prebiotic fiber working its magic.
Flaxseeds have the highest lignan (cancer fighters) content and are also a great source of soluble prebiotic fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Their lignans make them useful in prevention of hormone dependent cancers like breast and prostate cancers. Flaxseeds should be ground or milled to have maximal benefits. Since their shells are solid and tough, they’re less digested and pass right through the digestive system. Don’t worry, they sell them already pre-ground!
Hemp seeds are also a great source of omegas, and although they contain less fiber than chia or flaxseeds, they make up for it in their high protein content. Since they contain all essential amino acids, hemp seeds can be considered a “complete” protein. I add them in everything, from smoothies, to oatmeal and sweet potatoes.
Ground chia and flaxseeds have been demonstrated to increase blood levels of omega-3 and to decrease blood pressure.
I tell my patients to eat 1 tbsp of flaxseeds per day, as well as 2 tbsp of any other combination of seeds, but I personally use chia and hemp with flaxseeds.
Recognizing that plant variety seems to be the main predictor of microbiome variety and health, try eating different combinations of seeds everyday, and try to focus most of your energy on chia, flaxseeds and hempseeds.
Remember that the 3 most important seeds can be roughly categorized as follows:
1- chia for fiber
2-hempseeds for protein
3- flaxseeds for lignans
Sprinkle them on salads, soups, oatmeal or hide them in your smoothies!
Check out my website plantbaseddrjules.com and look for the “How To” section in the menu. There, you’ll find tips and tricks that helped me on my journey towards a plant-predominant diet. Everything there is completely free, no catches! If you're looking for quick, easy and healthy plant-based recipes, check out plantbaseddrjules.com and download my free recipe eBook!
Look for me on the socials, @plantbased_dr_jules on Instagram and go like my Facebook Page, Plant-based Dr. Jules. If you’re looking for some fitness motivation and are curious to see what a plant-based athlete can accomplish, follow me, @maritimeninja, on my fitness account on Instagram or check out my fitness group on Facebook, called Maritime Ninja Warrior. Me and my wife Melissa have recently qualified for the Las Vegas Ninja Warrior World Championships, an obstacle racing course that will be held in July 2022, and you can follow our journey to Vegas on IG! If you’d like to see what a plant-based athlete looks like, then check out our youtube channel here!
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