Wednesday,17 October, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)
Wednesday,17 October, 2018
Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Amazing seeds

Raw seeds aren’t just fun to eat: they’re healthy in a surprising number of ways. In addition to providing heart-healthy fat, fibre, Vitamin E, zinc, protein and other life-enhancing ingredients, they can also help to prevent weight gain. Rich in antioxidants, raw seeds can help to lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and help to prevent some cancers, according to numerous studies. 

Here are some seeds that are great as quick, healthy, low-calorie snacks for adults and kids alike: 


Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds: 

High in protein and low in carbohydrates, sunflower seeds make an ideal snack for those looking to lose weight, as they promote a healthy digestion and increase fibre intake. Sunflower seeds are also rich in the B complex vitamins that are essential for a healthy nervous system, and they are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and Vitamin E. 

They also contain trace minerals, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium and carotene as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids — types of fat that may help to protect the arteries. Just one-quarter of a cup of sunflower seeds has more than 80 essential nutrients, including key amino acids that can help convert sugar to energy. But beware of snack packs: these may contain extra-large portions of sunflower seeds that are high in sodium.

You can also try ground-up sunflower seeds as an alternative to peanut butter, or toss them in dressings, casseroles and salads. 


Sesame seed

Sesame seeds: 

Sesame seeds are a tasty source of protein, minerals and fibre. These rich seeds contain linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that may help control harmful cholesterol. They’re high in magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper. Sesame seeds are also loaded with B-complex vitamins that are good for the eyes, muscles, skin and hair. 

Studies have shown that sesame seeds possess important cholesterol-fighting fibre that can lower blood pressure, as well as protect the liver. They may also help prevent health problems such as premenstrual syndrome. Use a moderate amount of sesame seeds as an accent when you’re cooking, as they’re high in calories and healthy fat. You can add them to salad dressing, or enjoy them in small portions of hummus, a Middle-Eastern dip. 


Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds: 

Flaxseeds, known as linseeds, are a tremendous source of dietary fibre, omega-3 and six other fatty acids needed for most bodily functions. They are also rich in folate and Vitamin B6 and the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and copper. In addition, linseeds contain a type of phytoestrogen that is believed may help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. These tumour-blocking compounds can help protect against breast, colon and prostate cancer. 

Because they are high in soluble fibre, linseeds are also sometimes used to relieve constipation. It’s recommended to start with smaller amounts to avoid abdominal cramping.

Try soaking a tablespoon of linseeds in a glass of water for a few hours and then drinking it. Grind them, or buy them already ground, then add them to yoghurt or sprinkle over morning cereal.


Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds: 

These light and nutty seeds contain iron, a mineral that helps maintain high energy levels. Some studies show that the components of pumpkin seeds may stop the triggering of cancerous behaviour in male prostate cells. Pumpkin seeds are also high in a form of antioxidant known as carotenoids, a plant derivative that enhances immune activity and disease-fighting capacities. They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc that may help support skeletal health. Pumpkin seeds are also high in phytosterols that aid in keeping stable levels of cholesterol and enhanced immune response.


Chia seeds

Chia seeds: 

These seeds are extremely tiny, yet extremely potent. They tend to stick together and fill you up, as they’re packed full of fibre, protein, nutrient oils, iron, minerals, various antioxidants and even calcium and potassium.

Studies show that chia seeds stabilise blood sugar and promote heart health, as well as increase weight loss. These amazing little seeds are an excellent source of high-quality fats, as they are made up of 34 per cent pure omega-3 oils that promote heart and joint health and aid memory. However, eating too many chia seeds can lower blood pressure.

You can chew chia seeds raw and enjoy their nutty flavour, or stir them into a bottle of juice and shake it up. Try to use 100 per cent fruit juice, but enjoy in moderation. You can also add chia seeds to puddings or oatmeal, or use them to top crackers or waffles.

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