A little bit of everything

Eat Your Seeds!

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heart in seeds

Happy Easter Sunday! I assume that you all, like me, have enough chocolate now to last until Halloween? I’m pretty sure I’ll be pawning off most of mine to my sister. A busy Easter weekend has also meant little time to prepare this post, and the fact that there is actually sun and warmth outside today means that this post will be, well, lets say economical. =)

But first I have some news: I have a co-op job for the summer! After months of applying to jobs and writing meticulous cover letters I finally received an interview, and five days later I received a job offer! From May to August I will be the full-time Marketing and Communications Assistant for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and I am very, very excited. It’s a good feeling when the things you plan for begin falling into place (I’m also still stretching away and getting closer to being able to do the splits – don’t know where that came from? Check out the crazy goal I made for myself here), especially when they are things that mean a lot to you or that you put a lot of effort into.

But enough about that, and let’s get straight to it. Seeds are such an amazing way to get nutrients, and they’re very versatile foods. I find it easiest and best to just throw them into my smoothies, but you can add them to your regular baking, into your salads, in your morning oatmeal, or on top of yogurt to add flavour and reap all of the important and amazing benefits of these little goodies. Below are some of the best seeds/nutrients that I use and why you should be eating them too.flaxseed

1) Ground Flaxseed

The Key Components:

✓ Omega-3 essential fatty acid (specifically alpha-linolenic acid)

✓ Lignans

✓ Fiber

The Benefits: 

Ground flaxseed (I specify ‘ground’ because you need it ground in order for the nutrients to be available to your body) has been shown to reduce a person’s risk for cancer (specifically breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer) as well as protecting against heart disease, lowering blood pressure, lowering “bad” cholesterol levels, decreasing inflammation, and helping with diabetes by slowing the rise of blood-sugar levels (that’s because of the soluble fiber).

The Recommended Dose: 

Aim for 1-2 tablespoons a day.

2) Chia Seedschia seed

The Key Components:

✓ Fiber

✓ Omega-3 essential fatty acid (specifically alpha-linolenic acid)

✓ Antioxidants

✓ Potassium

✓ Protein

✓ Wide range of traces of other nutrients (such as calcium, manganese and magnesium)

The Benefits:

Because it has similar components to flaxseed, the benefits are also similar, such as balancing blood-sugar levels and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but the big component is the high amount of fiber it contains (5 grams per tablespoon), which is apparently severely lacking in a lot of people’s diets! Chia seeds have also been linked to assisting with weight loss by filling you up and keeping you satisfied longer.

The Recommended Dose:

Again, 1-2 tablespoons per day.

bee pollen

3) Bee Pollen

Ok, this probably sounds really weird, right? But this stuff (which is literally the pollen that’s been collected by bees) is bursting with essential nutrients. And get this, bee pollen has 18 of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins, including the 9 essential amino acids! This is particularly significant for vegetarians who have to give extra dietary importance to making sure they consume enough proteins that contain these amino acids. There is also a very lengthy list of vitamins and minerals it contains, seriously almost from A to Z, so just assume that you can get A LOT of healthy goodness from it.

The Caution:

It can trigger allergic reactions for those who are allergic to pollen (makes sense), and pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding are cautioned not to consume bee pollen (although I couldn’t tell you why).

Where to Find It:

I got mine from a local organic honey business, but check out your health food store for this neat and nutrient-packed food.

The Recommended Dose:

1 tablespoon a day.

Some of these nutrients have been labelled as fads or health crazes, and while claims of cancer-prevention and weight loss are always being reconsidered and altered as more research is done, the nutrients that are there are real, and so many of us don’t get enough of the nutrients we need to be healthy, so these simple seeds are a great start.

These are just the 3 that I currently use on a regular basis, but I’m always trying to discover foods that are healthy and pack a nutritional punch, so if you know of any others (I plan on doing some research on hemp seeds soon) please let me know!

Other than that, just make sure to eat your seeds.

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