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Remember when the only seeds you would expect to see on your plate were sesame or poppy? There's a new game in town and seeds are the stars in your kitchen these days. So how do you use them and what do they do? We checked out the top three to get the scoop.
The facts on flax
Flaxseeds are taking a bow for their nutritional advantages and antioxidant properties, and taking on a starring role in many of your favorite foods. Whole flaxseeds are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber and a big help to your digestive system — especially if you are battling constipation. They also contain those powerhouse omega-3 fatty acids and a high amount of phytochemicals called lignans, which may help provide some protection against cancer. They really become a powerhouse when you grind them up because they are easier for your body to digest this way. Add them to breads, muffins, yogurt or a bowl of cereal.
Heard of hemp?
We know, you hear “hemp” and you think marijuana. But while they both come from a variety of the cannabis plant, hemp and hemp seeds contain low levels — if any — of THC and are a nutritional powerhouse. They also have a very powerful anti-inflammatory, called gamma-linolenic acid, and are full of amino acids, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be a great source of protein for raw food enthusiasts and vegans. Hemp seeds are great as a crunchy topping for salads or in baked goods.
Chia — not the pet
Who doesn't think of chia pets when they hear the word chia? Beyond the cute (and silly) terra cotta pots chia seeds are full of important nutrients like zinc, magnesium, calcium and selenium. Many people claim they can help you lose weight, but they offer nutritional benefits beyond simply making you feel full. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber and protein. Use chia seeds either whole or ground up and add them to side dishes like vegetables or rice, on top of cereal and in smoothies or soup for a nutritional boost. They are a whole grain food, easily absorbed by our bodies without further processing and their mild, nutty flavor complements many dishes.
Sold on seeds? Try adding some of these hard-working little guys to your daily diet.