Ingredients Matter: Seeds

February 3, 2016

Related Topics: Tips and Advice, Wellness

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Sure, we know seeds as the tiny powerhouses that fuel plant growth but did you know we humans can also benefit immensely from them, too? Essentially nature’s nutrient storage units, they contain everything necessary to create a new plant and are loaded with a variety of important vitamins and minerals, which is why we make a point to include them in virtually all of our products.

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Chia

Not just for growing green fur on a terra cotta pets, these black and white seeds originated in Mexico and have been used by humans as a source of nutrients and energy for thousands of years. They were a favorite of indigenous tribes and many early American settlers because of the energy that very small portions of the seed provide (130 calories per oz!). In the modern era, Chia seeds are praised for the amount of fiber and protein they contain as well as their levels of calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and other important minerals. They’re also fantastic for hydration! These seeds are “hydrophilic”, which means they absorb and retain many times their weight in water. When soaked, they create a gel-like substance, which is good news for athletes trying to stay hydrated during grueling summer workouts. They’re also incredibly versatile. Blend them into smoothies, sprinkle them on your oatmeal, add them to almond milk for a tasty pudding, or use them as substitutes for eggs in baking. With so many ways to try them, you’d be crazy not to include these in your weekly store run!

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Flax

The ancient Egyptians were the first humans to recognize the nutritional value of these golden seeds. Flax seeds have a diverse nutritional portfolio that includes fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous vitamins and minerals including thiamine, copper, and manganese. The ALA (or alpha-linolenic acid) in flax may also reduce intestinal inflammation, which is great news for those suffering from digestive ailments. They’re also high in fiber yet low in carbohydrates, which means you don’t have to sacrifice your low-carb lifestyle to get the benefits of fiber. In fact, a single ounce of flax seeds contain 8 grams of protein and a whopping 6 grams of fiber, which more than 25% of your recommended daily intake (based on a 2000 calorie diet).Like chia, flax is versatile: eat them whole, as a ground powder, or as an oil. They can be also used in cooking as a substitute for eggs, butter, or breadcrumbs. It’s pretty incredible what this seed can do for you so put them to work today!

  

DSCF4750-5Pumpkin

While we love pumpkin spice lattes and decorating our porches with jack-o-lanterns in the fall, there are several reasons to love pumpkins, especially the seeds, all year long. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten either raw or roasted and are loaded with complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. They’re also a great source of zinc, which can help boost immunity during the dreaded cold and flu season. Convenient and easy to prepare, just pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes and you have a crunchy addition to salads, cereal, or even burgers. They also taste fantastic on their own so keep a stash at the office for the days when your workload doesn’t let you run out for a snack.

 

DSCF4774-2 copy-1Sesame

More than just decoration for sushi and hamburger buns, sesame seeds pack quite a nutritional punch. Like many of the other seeds we named earlier, sesame seeds contain high levels of heart healthy fats and acids and also provide several important minerals including copper, manganese, iron, and calcium. Try grinding them with a coffee grinder or mortar and adding them to your favorite baking recipes, toss them in a pan with some broccoli and lemon juice for a delicious side, or spread tahini (paste made from sesame seeds) on your toast or in hummus. Since sesame seed oil is highly resistant to rancidity, it makes for a great substitute for other cooking oils.

 

DSCF4733-3Sunflower

Sunflower seeds at baseball games are almost as American as the sport itself. Sunflower seeds are probably the most well known and commonly eaten seed on this list. Although it originated in North America as a staple of many Native American tribes, the plant was made popular and produced commercially for the first time in Russia during the 1800’s. Now a popular food worldwide, sunflower seeds contain vitamins E and B1, as well as minerals such as magnesium and copper. They’re also the most widely available seeds on the list, popping up virtually everywhere from stadiums to gas stations to natural food stores. Whether you enjoy cracking open the seasoned shells or adding the hulled seeds to salads or cereal, this savory snack is portable and chock full of plant-based protein so you can feel good about munching them wherever your day takes you.

Ingredients matter and no matter how you choose to enjoy them, seeds are a great way to include plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. We love the extra boost of nutrition these little guys pack so we’ve included combinations of some or all of these seeds in our bars. Whether it’s boosting the protein content in our BASE bars, giving Bite an extra crunch, amping the satiety of FUEL, or rounding out the nutritional diversity of Meal, seeds have quickly become a favorite ingredient of ours and, after reading this, we hope you’ll agree! What’s your favorite way to enjoy seeds? Share your recipes or tips in the comments!