Happy Thursday! Today, I want to talk about seeds. Yep, seeds. If you have been hanging out in the healthy living blog world long, you have probably come across numerous articles or recipes which include chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds. Over the past few years, these three little seeds have become immensely popular and are often toted as super foods. But what is the big deal about three little seeds, and what is the difference between them? Well, that is precisely what we are going to chat about today. First up, let's talk about probably the trendiest among them, chia seeds.
Why do I love chia seeds? Oh, let me count the ways. These little boogers are amazing! Not only, are the bursting with nutrition (see bullet points below), but they are so easy to use. I love them in my oatmeal, smoothies, muffins, pancakes, cookies, water, and chia pudding. Some of my favorite recipes, like peanut butter pumpkin chia pudding, my favorite protein oatmeal, and almond chia power balls all include these tiny seeds. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty about why these guys are so awesome from a health perspective.
Two Tablespoons of Chia Seeds Contain:
100% more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon
41% of your daily intake of fiber
6 times more calcium than milk
32% of your daily intake of magnesium
6 times more iron than spinach
64% more potassium than a banana
More niacin than corn, rice, or soy
Double the antioxidants found in blueberries
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
Increased energy levels
Better complexion – Thank you antioxidants!
Help increase muscle tone
Boost mental sharpness
Help you sleep better at night
Contain over 9 essential amino acids
Can help prevent diverticulitis
Help curb cravings by supplying your body with necessary vitamins and minerals. Those are some pretty dang impressive stats if you ask me. Since chia seeds don't really have any taste, they are perfect to throw into baked goods, smoothies, or salads for an extra punch of nutrition. I prefer to buy my chia seeds from the bulk food section at either HEB or Central Market. They are cheaper than the pre-packaged variety, and I can get just the right amount.
Flax seeds are pretty awesome themselves, and definitely my favorite seed to cook with. I will often sub 1-2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds for the equal amount of flour in a baked good recipe to add extra fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. I also love to use flax seeds in my 5 Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies, gluten free banana bread, almond flax blueberry muffins, and morning oats. I usually even sneak a tablespoon or two in E's morning breakfast smoothie and he doesn't even know. When I use them in smoothies or baked goods, I usually prefer ground flax seeds over the whole seed.
Two Tablespoons Of Flax Seeds Contain:
132% of your DV of omega-3's
.35mg of manganese or 17.5% of your DV
.23mg or 15% of your DV of vitamin B1
3.82g of fiber or 15.3% of your DV
.04g of tryptophan or 12.5% of your DV
89.88mg of phosphorus or 9%of your DV
17mg of copper or 8.5% of your DV
Benefits of Flax Seeds:
Can help reduce cholesterol, including the LDL(bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.
Fight Diabetes- research has shown that the omega-3 fat and high fiber content of flax seeds may play a role in preventing diabetes.
Protects against cancer
Keeps you regular
Helps reduce inflammation
Can help prevent heart disease
Improves your immune system
Helps fend off the blues
With all those benefits, how can you resist tossing some flax seed in your next smoothie or on top of your salad?
Hemp seeds are relatively new to the healthy eating scene, but they are definitely here to stay. They are one of the most nutritious seeds around, and are even a complete protein. Hemp seeds contain a balance of proteins, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes, while still being low in sugar, starches and fats. These seeds vary from flax seeds and chia seeds, in that they have a pretty unique flavor. To me, they taste nutty and maybe even slightly buttery. I love them on top of my salads or stir frys for an extra dose of protein and healthy fats.
Three Tablespoons Of Hemp Seeds Contain:
7.5 g Omega-6 LA
3,0g Omega-3- ALA
.6g Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
11g of protein
Vitamin B1, B2, B6, D and E
Calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, and phosphorus
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds:
Perfect Balance of Omega 3, 6 and GLA
More digestible protein than meat, eggs, and cheese
Can help increase energy levels and metabolic rate
Lowers blood LDL cholesterol levels
Lower blood pressure
Improves cardiovascular circulation and function
Increases immunity levels
Can reduce symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps
Reduces inflammation which can help with symptoms of arthritis
Improves muscle recovery after exercise
Can help treat dry skin and hair
As you can see, each of these seeds have a pretty lengthy list of nutritious qualities and benefits to your health. I can't say that I have a stand out favorite, but I definitely tend to use chia and flax seeds more often than hemp seeds. Mainly because I seem to always have them on hand and they are easy to incorporate into baked goods. I try to consume at least one serving of these nutritional power houses each day usually in my morning oats, on top of my salad, or tossed in a smoothie.
If you haven't tried one of these gems, I totally encourage you to pick some up next time you are at the store. They are a great way to round out a balanced diet and add an extra nutritious boost to your favorite dishes.
Which is your favorite seed of the three?
How do you like to incorporate it into your diet?
Any recipes to share?
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