“Mom, I want to order some seeds”
“Seeds! Ab kya ugana hai?”
“Ugana nahi mom, khana hai. They are the next big thing! (Ironically!)”
Pumpkin, Chia, Flax, Basil....?!
Growing up, our grandparents would talk about health benefits of seeds. Now, a number of these have been labelled as superfoods and are sold at a premium in health stores. They’ve become so popular, your local kinara store is also stocking them up.
Seeds are the primary building unit of any plant, which makes them intensely rich in nutrients. With the lifestyle we lead, with skipped meals and consumption of a lot of junk food, we miss the essential fiber from our diet.
According to National Institute of Nutrition, an average Indian adult need at least 40g of fiber per 2000 Kcal consumed.
But with so many different types of seeds in the market and online, it’s difficult keeping track of which seed can benefit you in what way.
Follow the list below to know your seeds better with the various benefits, and small hacks to incorporate them in your diet.
Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. It also has vitamin C in moderate amount. The seeds of the vegetable are edible and are a good source of anti-oxidants that help the system get rid of toxins. They are full of fiber and can help in regulating the digestive system!
According to some researchers, pumpkin plant also has an anti-carcinogenic effect and can prevent some types of cancer. Everyday consumption of the seeds (60 mg/kg body weight) is also said to help with reducing the possibility of occurrence of kidney stones.
Being rich in Zinc and Magnesium, they are also known to improve sperm quality. They also qualify as an aphrodisiac and can give your sex life, a boost.
(Psst..! Maybe it’s time they added a bowl of pumpkin seeds with the wedding night staple of milk)
Roasted pumpkin seeds make for great mid day munchies. Instead of namkeen, you can simply roast the seeds with some salt and pepper in the oven or add a bit of salted butter to make them more yum! You can also boil them for five minutes before roasting but that’s not a necessity.
Chia is an amazing source of omega-3 fats, which makes it a necessary addition for vegetarians as omega-3 is mostly found in meats and fish.
These little seeds will make your skin look younger and more radiant with their anti-ageing properties. They are also known to have anti-carcinogenic properties, according to a research on National Center for Biotechnology Information. Being full of anti oxidants, there is absolutely no reason for them to not find a way to your regular diet.
Consumed with yogurt, it can help you lose weight as it keeps you feeling full for a longer duration of time than usual.
They are easy to use. You can just put a couple of teaspoons in your morning bowl of cereal and you are good to go. You can also put them in yogurt or a smoothie. They don’t spoil the taste at all, but make your breakfast pack a health punch.
Basil Seeds (Sabja)
Basil is known for it’s medicinal properties and is a staple ingredient for many home remedies for a range of problems.
Famous for being an accompaniment with some delicious kulfi, the seeds of the plant are full of anti-oxidants and anti-carcinogens. According to some studies, they also help in regulating your cholesterol.
They are a healthy option for diabetic patients as well as it helps in controlling the blood sugar level.
Bad breath can be a huge turn off for people around you. Anti-bacterial properties of basil will prevent in the growth of bacteria in your mouth and in turn, fight bad breath.
Basil seeds help you keep cool from inside and prevents heat stroke and spontaneous nose bleeds or “nakseer”, that happen because of excessive heat.
If you like sweet stuff, you can just put a teaspoon of ‘sabja’ in some chilled water with some Tang/Roohafza and you are good to go. If you like sour and salty, just put some seeds in chilled water, add a pinch of rock salt, squeeze half a lemon and add a slit green chilly.
The first proof of flax seeds being grown dates back to 6000 years ago! That makes flax seeds one of the oldest Superfood around.
They are one of the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids in plant based food. They are also full of anti-oxidants and like Chia, boast of very solid anti-inflammatory properties.
They are very useful if you are on a diet because regular consumption is known to reduce sugar cravings!
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, like the other seeds, they also help in maintaining cardio vascular health. Being high in fiber, they help in getting rid of toxins.
The alpha-linolenic acid found in flax seeds helps in making the skin more supple and your hair shinier. They also help in keeping diabetes Mellitus in check.
They also help in keeping the bad cholesterol level down.
If you have gluten sensitivity, flaxseed is an option for you. You can use them as a binding ingredient in your cooking to replace gluten products.
You can simply put them in your breakfast cereal or smoothie like Chia. They can also be added to baked goods. They won’t spoil the taste but add a lot of nutritional value. You can also roast them a little and add in your salads. They will bring a nice crunch.
(The author holds a Bachelor’s degree in Home science with a specialization in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics and can be reached @priyankapranks)